Interview with Erkki

3 minute read


Twitter: @eantonkov



Where are you in your testing journey?

A long way from home, with plenty more to go! :)

I started as a scripted tester in early 2015, with an ISTQB foundation testing qualification hot out of the printer, thinking I was hot shit. Then at my first client site, I realised this was the equivalent of having passed the driving theory multiple question test and driven around the parking lot a few times, and then being dropped onto the M25 at rush hour. The expectation wildly differed from reality!

Since then, I’ve learnt a lot by being in different workplace settings (waterfally, trying to be agile big corporations; small startups; and now a big startup!), going to meetups and conferences, and in general, just getting involved!

Can’t wait until the pandemic winds down, so I can see all the lovely quality and testing sphere peeps again - I think that’s one of the best parts about the journey in this field :)

The best bug you have ever found?

There is a London food chain where I used to get free lunches because the rewards system was badly implemented. When one registered with a GMail address with an alias (e.g., something went wrong in their system’s backend, which meant that reward points would always be added, never deducted. This also meant that when I used the reward points to get something, the points would also increase, eventually leading me to be able to get quite a lot of bits for free.

I reported this to a few of the managers across a few different sites, but nothing happened (including me not getting a bug bounty), so I continued for a bit. Eventually they closed down the buggy rewards system, but when doing so, they sent me voucher codes to make up for the rewards points I built up. I think I got about 15 free meals worth of vouchers. I decided to leave them be, I think they learnt their lesson!

Advice you would give to Testers?

It can be difficult as a tester/quality person in software, depending on the environment. Quite often one may be pigeonholed into doing certain things and being told that that is the way to do it. Don’t listen to that - it’s all dependent on what the context is.

I personally focus on the people side, as in the end, it’s people building the systems and thus having happy, healthy, productive, communicative people is the way to build good systems.

I’m lucky to be in a role where I don’t do much testing on software per se (if I do, I pair with the software engineers to help coach them on how to do it), but influence it more by facilitating communication, catalysing relationships (between everyone, from user to product reps etc.), bringing up risks, refining communication styles etc. I see myself as being in a support role for the product engineering team, which suits me perfectly - the polyfill to fill in the gaps of the team (with a deeper specialism in testing and quality theory).

Testing and quality is about so much more than scripted testing, find the way you can influence quality that suits you! :)

Also, if you want to level up in testing quick, make sure you get involved with the community! Go to meetups and conferences, join Slack workspaces, read a lot and chat a lot! I wouldn’t be where I am without getting involved. It’s worth the travel time, trust me. I used to travel ~2h one way to get to London for meetups and they opened up a lot of choices.

Very happy to help people who want to get started - please get in touch :)

What does winning mean to you?

Cheesy, but it holds for me: seeing people smile and be happy. This means the users who use our products and interact with us, the team members when they are solving difficult problems, the managers who see they’ve got a good thing going with the team etc.