I joined Nominet as Head of Quality Assurance (QA) in September 2020 following a pandemic-induced redundancy. The ‘Head of’ role is one I’ve done for about a decade now, but doing it for a business like Nominet is an exciting new challenge. We’re running critical national infrastructure – this is as technical as it gets and I love that. Technology was always my first passion and it’s great to be working for a company at the cutting-edge of innovation, in a way that really matters. We’re creating cyber security tools that are helping to protect our nation’s Government and working to continually upgrade our infrastructure to ensure we are as resilient, reliable and secure as we can possible be in this fast-changing sector.
I was always fascinated by computers when I was growing up and knew I wanted to work in technology. After leaving school, I took up an apprenticeship in web design before getting my first job on an IT help desk. When an opening came up in QA at the same company, I was intrigued – I’d done some testing and always had an interest in quality, so I applied and got the job. There was a lot to learn and with no one to mentor me, I’m largely self-taught; I did online courses, certifications and read lots of books, gradually understanding more about a holistic approach to quality. Not having anyone to help me back then has since inspired me to become a mentor myself and I still touch base with people I’ve supported for years. It’s been so satisfying to watch them grow and know I’ve helped them along the way.
The role of QA is to test systems and find ways to make them better, delivering the best quality solutions possible to the end user. In some ways, we are trying to break something – so a customer doesn’t – and find the best way to put it back together. Like so much of our lives, new digital tools have really transformed QA over my career and the industry has moved from manual testing to incorporating new technologies, like automation and machine learning, into the process. It’s been amazing to see these changes happen and learn new approaches over the years – I’m one of those people who always wants to learn more and find ways to do my job better.
Nominet has proven to be a fantastic place for QA as the business is so open to change and excited about finding ways to make processes better. The leadership is trusting me to make it happen and I’ve been setting out a new strategy to really optimise the QA we do here, part of which is hiring some enthusiastic fresh talent to help deliver quality across the many, many projects that are in development at Nominet. The new positions are varied, from manual QA engineers to automation leads, and while of course I’m looking for experience, I’m always keen to meet people with passion, who are lively and proactive. The right attitude goes a long way as I know myself how much you can learn on the job, if you’re willing.
It was a little unusual to join Nominet remotely and I’ve still never been to the office or met any of my colleagues in real life, but the company has been fantastic and the on-boarding process was amazing considering the restrictions. I’ve found the staff at Nominet so welcoming and generous with their time. There are lots of knowledgeable people working here who are happy to support and collaborate because I sense that everyone really believes in what Nominet does. Even better has been realising how much the company cares about its staff. I’ve really appreciated all the thoughtful touches and efforts they’ve made to try and alleviate some of the stress and isolation of the lockdown. The small things make a really big difference – I well know that from years in QA! It’s a great place to be.
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