Shubhangi Chaudhari: Senior QA Engineer and awesome woman in tech
Continuing our “Awesome women in tech” series, we spoke to Shubhangi Chaudhari our Senior QA Engineer.
How did you get started in tech?
I’ll admit that it happened completely by chance. I got my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and was looking to do a Master’s degree; my friends were applying for a new course (Master in Computer Application) so I thought I’d give it a go!
I went with them to the entrance exam and found it very interesting, I got great test results and it spurred me on to do more. It was an intense 3-year master’s degree and was my first experience of computer science. After 6 months of learning new programming languages, I was hooked.
Can you tell us exactly what a QA engineer is?
To sum it up simply, I am the test engineer on the website — I test new features from both a technical implementation and user experience standpoint to make sure that it meets the needs of the business.
When a new feature request is made, we work together to outline scenarios based on acceptance criteria that the feature must meet before it’s signed off. Once the feature has been built, I will do my best to break it and if I don’t succeed we will count that as ready to roll out!
What was your path to WorldRemit?
I started my career as a QA tester in Mumbai. I worked for Capgemini, a global technology and outsourcing company for a little over 4 years. Being as established as they are, Capgemini have very established processes and practices. It was a great introduction to what high quality QA testing looked like. By the time I left to come to London I was leading a team of around 20 test engineers.
After leaving Mumbai, I realised that I missed being a hands on Test Engineer and wasn’t keen to step straight back into a leadership role. I was fortunate enough to working for a financial services business, working on Electronic Trade Processing Platform.
It was a fantastic experience and was a breath of fresh air after having worked with the insurance industry for so long. The challenges were greater, but it made every success all the more enjoyable.
When I was approached for a role at WorldRemit, I jumped at the chance. The thought of working for a company undergoing so much change was very appealing.
What do you like most about your role?
I would say that having the opportunity to work with so many different people from all over the business. A lot of tech roles are generally siloed but with QA you get involved with other teams start to finish.
I also enjoy the challenges of wearing many hats. To be a good QA you have to be able to think like an end user, a developer and, not least, a business person. You need to understand the tech stacks that the platform is built upon, how that impacts the viability of business requests and how an end user will actually interact with the feature.
Finally, I would say that one of the best things about being a QA tester for WorldRemit is the immediacy of the feedback that you get. Almost as soon as you’ve finished a release, you will have feedback from everyone involved. It’s great for getting things out of the door quickly.
To be a great QA you need to have some analytical skills of your own. Being able to see things from every point of view is vital — the business, the tech team and the end user. It’s great to be able to do that.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on at WorldRemit?
We’re always working with different tech and on new features, so it’s hard to pick just one but if you twisted my arm I would have to say that my favourite has been Refer-a-Friend.
It’s special to me because it’s the first big project that I was able to see through from inception to completion and now we’re seeing the results rolling in. People might look at it and think that it’s a pretty simple feature, but when you see it broken down on an epic board you would be surprised how many different tasks there are (around 60!).
You have to make sure that it works across platforms, that the app experience is consistent with the website and make sure that the business can cope with the requirements.
What would you like to work on next?
Right now we’re at an interesting stage. We have a legacy website and now we’re moving to building a newly designed website using new stack.
It’s a challenge to support existing website and at the same time progress with new stack implementation in parallel. Robust QA testing is extremely important in the early stages of a new rollout like this. We’re therefore planning a staged rollout.
We’re very close to launching, which is always an exciting time for the whole team. You don’t always get to work on something that’s brand new.
What is your favourite thing about WR?
The thing that stands out for me is the people. The people are always so warm and friendly, which makes working with other people and teams such a pleasure. It’s so relaxed here, but the work always gets done.
For me, WorldRemit is Ismail and Catherine. They inspire me and I have a lot of respect for them. I just love their story!
Since you started are there more women in tech?
I feel like I have been lucky to see many women in tech since I started my career. From Mumbai all the way to WorldRemit I have worked with a lot of women in leadership roles. I find it highly motivating!
Who inspired you when you were making your career choices?
Although I would count myself as a self-motivated person, all I have ever wanted to do is make my parents proud of me. I graduated from my undergrad program as a pretty average student, it wasn’t until my masters that I really got going and really focused on my studies. I think that I needed to prove to myself and my parents that I could do it.
My family is full of doctors and engineers, so I always put pressure on myself to make something of myself even when my family didn’t.
What can the industry do to make it more appealing for women?
I think that introducing coding into education very early on is a great way of getting women involved in tech. Coding gives you the same satisfaction as solving a big puzzle, when all of the pieces come together it feels great and that’s the hook that keeps anyone interested.
Showing young girls what’s possible is the key. To succeed in tech, you have to, of course, have an interest in it. If you’ve never been shown and never experienced it for yourself, then how can you ever know that it’s a career that you might want to pursue?
What do you think is the future of the industry?
Testing is becoming more advanced and testers are under more and more pressure to learn new skills to keep up with the needs of the business. It used to be that a basic understanding of a few key areas would be enough, but we’re at the point where testers need to be at the same level as developers if they want to succeed.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in tech?
It’s never too late, the time for action is now. You can achieve whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it.
What’s your life mantra?
Give 100% and give it your best shot — you will not regret it.