From iOS Tester to Junior iOS Developer in 2 Years
At Showmax, anything is possible, and we are not talking about the Showmax product only. In the engineering team we believe the sky’s the limit. Together, we build the best product we can. And when you are talented and driven, you can push your ideas all the way to production. Or, you can find a buddy and go an extra mile to level-up in your career, like Alina Sedach did.
Alina, you joined our team back in April 2020 as a QA tester. When did you start this journey and where?
In Minsk, I worked for EPAM Systems that had a great junior program offering a two-month-long internship packed with webinars and practical tasks including detailed feedback. After just two months, I joined an insurance project in Philadelphia where I worked as a tester in a team of four, all communication was in English, and we had daily standups – everything was 100% like real-life development. At that time, I had a mentor who helped me refine my testing process, deal with bugs, write test plans, and improve my communication skills for things like accepting and giving feedback, or dealing with conflicts. Altogether it was a great starting position, a great launch of my career.
When did you realize manual testing was not enough for you?
Later on, I worked for two years at Adastra and I was assigned to a project in China. I was there thirteen times. That was a great life experience, but the project was more about a mix of testing, test management and communication with customers than real full time testing. I realized that I am curious about the technical side of testing and I wanted to learn more about it, gain some more experience mainly with automated testing. Another thing I learnt at that time was that I wanted to focus on mobile app testing and test automation. For that reason, I picked up the opportunity to work at Velvon.
“I am a perfectionist – if I do something, then I do it 100%. I choose well what to focus on, while considering the time I need to spend on it. Time is the most valuable asset we have.”
Velvon brought you to Showmax in the end. What was the story behind the transition?
The Showmax Android team leader knew Velvon’s manager and wrote to him offering help for those who would need to find a new job after Velvon was closed. Showmax didn’t have a position in the Android team for me but there was a free spot in the iOS team. So one other colleague and I started at Showmax. I joined the iOS team.
What was the beginning like?
We were two testers in the iOS team at the beginning and cooperated closely. We had daily status meetings to align on what we will test and how. We wrote test plans, test cases, planned regression tests, and we regularly swapped roles in managing the test plans’ creation before releases.
I heard that you were there when the automation revolution took place at Showmax. What was the situation and what enabled the decision?
I think I partially enabled it. Laughter. They promised me at the job interview that I will do automated tests at Showmax. Nobody had done it yet but they would make it happen. So at almost every 1:1 meeting with the team leader, I asked about when it would be possible. In the end the team did the math and we realized that it’s impossible to execute 150 tests on 8 devices before every release. Suddenly, the urge to start with automated tests was there. One of the developers experienced with automated tests wrote the architecture and the few first tests and he handed it over to us.
Was it that simple? Have you learnt how to continue?
Tomáš, the colleague who wrote the tests, of course prepared a few presentations or courses for me and my co-tester. But it was tough, obviously. It almost took me one whole day to write the first test and I am not exaggerating! I was determined to learn and improve. Our first tests were written in Ruby, so I took courses in Ruby on Udemy. And I wanted to continue.
Did you get a chance to improve and learn more?
In fact, I got the chance very quickly. The automated tests used specific IDs to refer to a particular element and the IDs were added to the code by developers. More IDs meant easier work for testers but more work for developers. So I offered to help with that. “I could learn how to do it and do it for you,” I said. And they took my offer seriously and told me: “Why not but you need to learn Swift.” It was my turn again and I of course said: “Yes absolutely, teach me!” Laughter.
Who was the teacher?
None other than the iOS team leader himself! He prepared courses for me and the other tester and we started to learn the very basics together with the necessary context. We learnt about data types, collections, and the rules of working with memory. He told us how the functions are written through letting us write the functions on our own. Michal, the team leader, is a great teacher indeed!
And here we are, you are learning automated tests, then Swift as well. When did the team see your full potential and decide to make you a junior developer?
I would say a year ago. It was a year after I had joined the Showmax team. I developed pretty fast. The team set conditions on which I would be ready for the role, they had it defined precisely, and I moved slowly forward. They were giving me junior tasks so that I could practice. And I learnt from Udemy courses in Swift, and read books. Frankly speaking, it consumed a lot if not all of my free time because I was still a tester learning all this on top of my regular daily work.
It must be a great satisfaction and even greater relief to finally be a junior developer! What do you plan to do next?
I must say I enjoy the fact that I finally have a bit more time to myself. For me, it’s all about programming and sports, and you need to have time for sports! I play beach volleyball with the Prague Beach Team and a few weeks back we played at the Czech Republic tournament championship among clubs. I still read a book or take an iPad with me when commuting to training, but I am under less time pressure. I really enjoy that! I don’t really have a next step in mind, I still need to learn a lot in programming. The team still gives me harder and harder tasks to guide me and I am discovering how to write elegant code. So the elegant code could be the next milestone for me. Tomáš, the author of the automated tests architecture, is a great buddy to me and I am devoted to continuing learning. I will keep up with sports and programming apps for at least a few next years! Promise :)