A company’s fortunes typically hinge on the quality of its products, and the main driver in ensuring the integrity of those products is the QA specialist.
This formula may seem obvious; however, companies have historically viewed the role of QA specialists in product development as trivial, resulting in limited responsibilities and opportunities for advancement, notes Aare Nurm, Senior QA Specialist/Competence Lead at Nortal. It’s a mindset the industry can no longer afford, he says.
“QA is not something that everybody can just do. It’s a profession, and you need to have a suitable mindset, skills and competencies to be good at it,” Nurm says.
For this reason, Nortal treats the QA specialist as a career position worthy of investment, giving employees increased clout and supporting their efforts to improve and grow.
At Nortal, QA specialists have freedom to decide how testing is carried out and wander into the unknown to learn something new.
Just as with developers and analysts, Nurm explains, QA people at Nortal advance through the ranks of junior, specialist, senior and lead. And they can play a prominent role in product delivery, interacting directly with the customers, acting as domain experts, taking project management responsibilities or fulfilling the role of Scrum master.
Along with the possibility of becoming important members of the delivery teams, QA specialists at Nortal have the chance to work on large-scale projects that are not only rewarding but offer unrivaled opportunities to acquire new skills. Many of these are cross-border projects such as those Nortal has ongoing in the U.S. and Middle East. These projects offer specialists the chance to sharpen their teamworking abilities on an international level, acting as liaisons between project managers, clients, developers and analysts.
Some specialists work on public-sector projects that boost the economies and healthcare systems of entire countries. Others have helped develop private-sector solutions that are used by hundreds of thousands of customers. “When Nortal’s QA specialists talk about shaping the future, they’re not exaggerating,” Nurm says.
Nortal is large enough to offer these interesting challenges, as well as opportunities to work on different kinds of projects, for those who want to change their working domain. At the same time, the company doesn’t have the strict hierarchies or narrowly defined roles that often come with organizations of this size.
“That means QA specialists have freedom to decide how testing is carried out and wander into the unknown to learn something new,” says Nurm. “This kind of exploration is something we fully encourage.”
The QA specialists at Nortal form a close-knit tribe that thrives on knowledge pooling and mutual support. When they’re not participating in frequent external events like hackathons or Nordic Testing Days, they’re sharing tips and tricks of the trade with one another at internal Lightning Talks or chatting at one of the informal testers’ lunches held every three weeks.
Nortal deliberately built a communal setup for QAs, rather than the traditional top-to-bottom hierarchy, in order to keep the ideas flowing, Nurm adds. “We expect our QAs to show initiative in finding new ways to test, or anything else that could be useful for the other QAs, and we expect them to share this knowledge.”
For their part, senior specialists contribute to the development of the Nortal QA community through, for example, tutoring juniors, sharing their experience as domain experts and organizing events.
“It means there’s always someone you can go to if you’re stuck or just want to bounce ideas around, whether you’re setting up your project test strategy or have questions on how to carry out a performance test,” says Nurm.
“No matter what level you are in your career here, you’re always, always going to be learning something new. You only need curiosity and initiative to move forward.”
If you’re interested in joining Nortal’s crew of QA specialists, check out our careers page.
With more than a decade of experience in the QA field, Nortal’s Aare Nurm has worked in the full spectrum of domains and business areas. Whether you want to discuss building up a new project from scratch or improving the testing processes in an ongoing project, don’t hesitate to contact him.