Stuart Tech
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Stuart Tech

🔬 Under The QA Testing Microscope

Lluís Casals gives us a tour of what it’s like to work on Stuart’s QA team.

A view from Mt Tibidabo

Me in a nutshell: I listen to music all day long, love riding my bicycle, testing software, and being the best father I possibly can for my daughter.

Every Sunday morning I take my mountain bike up to the Serra de Collserola mountain range and take a long ride. Being out in the mountains really helps me to unwind and decompress after a busy week.

From a professional point of view, I’ve been a QA engineer since 2006 and I’m insanely passionate about software testing! 😁

What’s daily life like on the QA team?

A good morning starts with a good breakfast! In the kitchen at Stuart we kick off the day with something tasty from the office fridge over a chat with the rest of the team.

After a solid breakfast, we say “Al lío!” (“Let’s get started!”) and dive into testing software.

We usually begin by catching up with the previous testing tasks and figuring out where to target our tests next. To help us, we maintain carefully-structured task boards on JIRA so we can easily track our progress.

The QA kanban board.

Daily tasks usually consist of running manual tests against our staging systems, or coding automated tests to add to the regular test suites that gatekeep our build processes.

On the automation side, it’s great to be able to work with the Android test suite in Kotlin and Java using Espresso. For iOS testing we use XCTest written in Swift; API request tests using RestAssured with Java; and front-end tests with Selenium using Java.

It can be tricky to know what to test (and how!) with all our new features — our approach needs to work in all our environments, configurations, apps, etc.

What interesting challenges has the team been solving recently?

Challenges are many!

Lately we’ve been:

  • Maintaining tests or adding new ones to new features;
  • Optimising CI pipelines;
  • Rewriting the Android tests in a new coding language (Kotlin);
  • Redesigning mobile tests;
  • Reviewing testing strategies for the CI;
  • Testing asynchronous behaviour;
  • and so many others…

But the most important challenge is one that arises from the team itself. Dealing with the sheer number of requirements from all the different teams in the Stuart engineering department is a mammoth task!

It can be tricky to know what to test (and how!) with all our new features — our approach needs to work in all our environments, configurations, apps, etc.

We currently have five squads, each dedicated to a different goal. Every member of the QA team fields tickets from one or more of these squads. The big positive about this approach is that each QA engineer’s next testing task could be from any of the squads. This means we each get knowledge of testing all the different projects and aspects of Stuart’s technical estate.

You could call this “Full Stack Stuart QA” 🥞

What’s it like working at Stuart?

Well, it’s great, what else I can say! I’ve only been working here for a few months, but I think I’m right in saying the working environment is awesome!

The first thing that comes to my mind is how relaxed it is. No shouting, rushing, or stressing to kill the tickets in JIRA. No flames on the test automation framework 🔥🚒

At Stuart, we value individuals and interactions over processes and tools — for me, that is a must-have in order to run a happy workplace.

Whisky tasting at the mini-conference.

I’ve already had a lot of great times and experiences here. The engineering mini-conference was great fun, and the whole-company retreat by the beach at Castelldefels was the perfect way to get to know everybody better.

Out for a team dinner in Barcelona.

And of course I love that I can always have a good laugh with everyone during lunch in the kitchen or out on the balcony 😄🍜

Like what you see? We’re hiring! 🚀 Check out our open engineering positions.

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Sean Handley

Sean Handley

Señor Developer specialising in open-source languages, particularly Ruby & Elixir. seanhandley.com

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