This time, I want to focus mostly on the technical aspect. I will, however, touch on how we work and what the mindset of every single Base team member is because these things actually have a big impact on how fast you grow.
This is the second part of a two-part blog post describing my first 100 days at Base Lab. If you have not read the first part, you can find it here.
Let me clarify a few things before I begin. First of all, this time, I used a different scoring system than the one used for the “state of mind” chart discussed in the previous post. I evaluated each day in terms of how much I learned. If there was no new knowledge, the score was 0. If I learned a little, it was 1 or 2, and if I gained a lot of new information or skills, it was 5 points. Then I presented it in a “tech skills and the product knowledge” chart.
Product knowledge is basically how deep my understanding of how our application works goes: from backend, frontend, mobile, DB schemas, architecture and big data to those little details that only one person in the company knows about. I’m sure you know what I am talking about, as each company has those.
Tech skills are the stuff I have learned about technologies that I need to know to do my job at Base. And believe me, I had a lot to catch up on. Below you will find a short list of technologies I had used before I came to Base and those that I needed to learn.
|Area||Used before||At Base|
|Test framework||Coded UI Tests||Selenium|
|Mobile test framework||n/a (never done that before)||Appium|
|DB||MS SQL||MySQL, ElasticSearch|
|IDE||Visual Studio||Sublime Text/IntelliJ|
|Servers||Windows Server||Ubuntu Linux|
That’s a lot, right?
Fortunately, at Base, it’s obvious that good QA is made of attitude, passion, and certain personality traits. Technology is a tool that can be mastered in a reasonable time.
Let’s have a look at the chart now, there are three significant points on the chart that I want to pay more attention to – day 18, day 58 and day 75:
The first word that comes to my mind is GROWTH. Wow, that really is a constant progress, with almost no stops or slowdowns. Amazing stuff.
I will not discuss the product knowledge part in depth. As you can see, it is almost a straight ascending line. Basically, I have learned something new every day. Every single day. I want to focus more on tech skills and at the same time discuss how we work.
1. Day 18, keywords: impact on end user, new tier of enterprise software
From the moment I knew I was going to work at Base, I started to learn Ruby by myself and I watched everything that was related to Ruby on Pluralsight. Yet, true learning comes with practice. Now, I have some practice with Ruby since almost all automation code is written in Ruby, but there is still a long way to go. I like this journey. It is challenging, but having smart and helpful people around makes it a lot easier.
I’ve already mentioned that I’ve always wanted to test mobile devices. They are the future of our world and there is no other way.
Day 18 was important because around this time I had my first encounters with Android and iOS applications that we develop. I learned stuff I had always dreamed of and all I wanted was more. There is an old saying that goes: “to know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge”. At that time I found out what I hadn’t known and I liked the way it made me feel.
All customer facing parts of our applications, web or mobile, are built to make our end-users happy and productive. This is what tops the list of our priorities. We all know typical enterprise software. The phrase alone leaves a bad taste in my mouth. We try to make our application better. Much better.
2. Day 58: keywords: impact and independence
One of the lessons I have learned recently is that my computer’s operating system is also one of my tools and tools are essential for a tester. It took me 54 days to finally abandon good old Windows and switch to Linux. Note to self: before you order a laptop, ask around to see what everyone else is using. Funny thing that no one forced me to pick anything. The degree of independence of each of us is unparalleled. The only thing that matters when you work at Base is your impact on the organization and our current projects. If you can do your job, it does not matter which tools you use. There is no corporate default.
Around this time I switched to Linux and made significant headway learning how Appium works and how to write automated tests for mobile devices. Another item crossed off my “to do” list.
3. Day 75, keywords: effectiveness, challenge, new technologies
It is like with the stock exchange, stuff cannot go up all the time. After learning a ton of new technical elements of my craft this is the time to do just what must be done. The key is effectiveness. The goal is to apply technical skills, do the job in the best possible way and do it fast to be ready to face new challenges and continue self-development.
As you can see, the line goes up, then it stops for a few days just to continue its ascending trend later on. This whole process is super challenging. Working in IT means that one must never stop learning. This is a very difficult concept to grasp for non-IT people. New technologies emerge all the time. What I really like about Base is that we use all the powerful new technologies (stuff like Docker or React), that the world keeps talking about. If there is something new, something big that companies have a hard time implementing, we most likely have already used it in production for quite some time. Isn’t it awesome?
What I find very important is that in order to learn and develop a professional career in IT you need to be surrounded by supportive individuals and constantly take up tasks that challenge you. This is what Base is all about. We challenge each other to be better and build better software each day.
All in all, this is how I see my first 100 days at Base. There is still a long way ahead of me but so far this journey has been truly worthwhile and I believe it will continue to be so. The goal of this blogpost was to share, not to convince you to come work for us and become a part of our team. Yet, if you feel that Base might be THE place for you, you know what to do.