Loading (custom)...

In Tandem: Inspiring Narratives from Two Women Shaping QA Excellence

12 Mar 2024


This article is part of a series called "Stories of Women in Software Testing All around the World", launched on the 8th of March in a post with snippets from every interview. In the week from the 11th to the 15th, we will launch the complete interviews of all the women. Follow our page and don't miss any update.


The interview was done by Brightest to Natalia Yakhina, Engineering Manager, Data QA at Quantori.

Can you share the story of how you started your career in QA software and what motivated you to pursue this field?


I started my career back in 2015 when not many people were even talking about IT, let alone testing. I was in my third year at university, majoring in Computer Science. Of course, to get into the courses, I had to pass one exam on testing and programming fundamentals, another exam on English language proficiency, and undergo an oral interview. I cleared all of these, got an internship after the courses, then graduated with honors and received 6 job offers from the top IT companies in the city, so I could choose. Since then, I've been continuously working in this field, honing my skills, and helping others.


Have you faced any unique challenges or struggles as a woman in the QA software industry?


I've been fortunate and have never faced direct gender discrimination myself. I've always been able to earn respect within the team, even as the only woman, thanks to my professionalism and integrity.

At most, I've encountered tactless questions during interviews or from superiors like, "Are you married?", "Do you have children?", and my favorite: "Why do you need so much money, doesn't your husband work?" Additionally, I run a blog and interact with colleagues from around the world who share stories of discrimination they've faced. And I want to say it loud: WE NEED TO STOP THIS.


Looking ahead, what changes or advancements do you anticipate in the QA software industry?


Firstly, I expect the quality of software to improve. Despite the unprecedented spread of technology, the quality of many software products leaves much to be desired. In this regard, I see two solutions: first, increasing awareness among companies of the need to hire personnel to ensure quality (many overlook this, either to save money or due to the belief that testing is pointless). Testing and quality assurance are highly valuable, even though they can be challenging to quantify. The second solution is to enhance the competence of already hired QA professionals. I work towards this goal personally, through my blog and within the company by implementing educational programs. Furthermore, it would be great if everyone took individual responsibility for improving their skills.

Secondly, like everyone else, I expect manual labor automation to continue to rise. However, I don't like the idea of blind automation of everything and applying AI to everything, even where it's not applicable. There needs to be a balance and reasonable approaches in everything. I believe that new approaches and standards will be developed in the near future. Of course, for new colleagues, this means a higher entry threshold into the profession.

Thirdly, I see a trend towards more in-depth and niche testing, especially with the emergence of new types of tools. For example, I am currently specializing in testing data and ETL processes; someone knows how to test IoT (I don't); testing Web and Mobile apps has long ceased to be a unified concept and has become more fragmented than it used to be. What does this mean? It means that now, for professional growth in QA, you will need to choose not only the company or domain area but also the specialization in which you are interested in developing.


How can the industry evolve to better support the growth and success of women professionals?


As I mentioned earlier, the industry is evolving into a more technical and specialized direction, whether we want it or not. Therefore, increasing the accessibility of education is one aspect. Another is improving the synchronization between labor market demand and educational offerings. Of course, networking and promoting professionalism are also crucial. As for women's initiatives specifically, it's good that they exist because I see a high demand for them. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of purely women's communities and forums because it seems like discrimination but in the opposite direction. Why can't a man attend an interesting "women's" event and also learn something useful? Overall, I believe that education, events, forums, and so on should be accessible to everyone. That's it.


Do you suggest or participate in any networks,association or initiatives that can be useful for the local QA community?


I run my own blog and a small community called QA CAREER, aimed at enhancing colleagues' competence and motivation. It just so happens that a large portion of my audience are women, with whom we engage in extensive communication. But not only. Join us! Some time ago, I was part of various popular communities like WIT, but now I have a lot of work and can hardly keep up with additional activities and networking. However, I am sure that such initiatives are powerful career boosters, especially if you are just starting out.




The interview was done by Brightest to Mariagrazia Brunetti, Founder & Managing Director at TXT Quence .

Can you share the story of how you started your career in QA software and what motivated you to pursue this field?


I started my career in SW Engineering Methods and Tools in the Avionic field. So I dealt with highly structured Standards for the whole SW Life Cycle, and these standards particularly enphasized SW QA, due to safety issues.

In the following years I worked in Finance and Telco Markets where Quality was an issue as well but where the SW QA was less mature that in Avionics. So I started concentrating mainly on SW Quality and Test Automation and in 2014 I started a new adventure founding my own Company.


Reflecting on your experience, could you highlight a project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of?


I am particularly proud of my entrepreneurial experience. I previously worked in the telecommunications sector which was going through a period of strong contraction. I decided to start my project with Quence and offer the market innovative Test Automation solutions that were not present in Italy. This allowed me to enter markets, such as Finance and Banking, where I had not worked previously and find new customers.


What are some ways in which the participation of women in QA software can enhance the usability of software products for a wider range of users?


The female approach is very different from the male one even in testing activities: attention to detail, greater sensitivity and a transversal approach are characteristics that help enhancing the usability of software products.


Looking ahead, what changes or advancements do you anticipate in the QA software industry?


The advent of generative artificial intelligence will change the world of development and testing tremendously, and we do not yet know completely how.

The approach to testing and QA will be changed although in any case. A.i. Sw will also have to be tested . At the moment there are many expectations about AI based testing but there is nothing mature yet.


How can the industry evolve to better support the growth and success of women professionals?


In the IT industry, the presence of women is still very low. This is a cultural problem both of companies that still have predominantly male management, but also due to the scarcity of women pursuing studies and careers in IT.

There is a need to change a model that leads girls, starting from elementary school, to be oriented to educational paths away from the IT world. At the same time, the industry should provide opportunities for women with technical backgrounds to grow to management level.