Sourcery Academy for Testers: Vaidas Mačiulis

Meet Lead Test Engineer Vaidas Mačiulis.

Image: Vaidas Mačiulis, Lead Test Engineer

Healthy pessimism is essential in our profession.

- Vaidas Mačiulis

A test engineer with the US programming services company Devbridge for the last six years, Vaidas Mačiulis, does not hide that ten years ago, he didn't think too much about choosing a profession. At the time, he, like many, chose what was promising.

Today, Vaidas is rapidly climbing the career ladder and sharing insights. He already knows what qualities a good tester should have and what to focus on when choosing the direction of testing.

What made you become a tester?

I became a tester completely by accident. I started looking for a job while still studying Computer Physics at Vilnius University. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about testing. I was just looking for a job and wanted "something in the IT field" as it seemed promising. I found an advertisement for a tester with little experience, so I tried my luck at applying. It was only during the job interview that I realized what I really needed to do. Although perhaps I didn't show my wares as a potentially great future tester, I was selected and started working. I then started learning about testing in the workplace, from colleagues and, searching through the internet.

Actually, it took some time to come to grips with testing. The most helpful thing was that I had been "good" with computers before. My career path started rather enjoyably, albeit perhaps somewhat unevenly. In five years, I managed to make significant improvements and eventually joined the Devbridge team.

Why did you decide to change jobs?

The previous company ran out of challenges. I was already keen to move on. I saw an advertisement for Devbridge, sent my resume, and got the job. I started as a regular tester, later became a senior, and a few years later, I was promoted to lead test engineer. Of course, I had to put a lot of effort into getting there. It was also due to constantly working hard and taking on new challenges, one after another. I learned to want to skill up and constantly keep myself out of the comfort zone. As Devbridge is a design company, I had to work on many projects and get acquainted with various industries. I have worked on case investigation software used by attorneys, an airline flight reservation system, software used by one of the largest US e-shops, and on-car services.

You have been working at Devbridge for six years now. Who trained you to be a competent specialist and constantly motivated you to improve?

I feel like I grew a lot more at Devbridge in one year than I did in five at the other company. The team and projects around me have created a very conducive learning environment. I had great mentors from whom I was able to learn. They encouraged me to strive for only the best and take jobs not because they were easy but because they were very difficult.

What's the most interesting thing that's happened? What would you highlight the most during your time working here?

It's hard to single out one event because there has been a lot of them. I was in an ad where I had to do a slam dunk. I've traveled several times to colleagues and clients in Chicago. I gave a speech to a large audience and learned to manage my fear of public speaking. We managed to win several Hackathons with the team and later organize one ourselves. Also, I developed and released an open-source testing tool, "Test-Juggler," and took part in the Sourcery Tester Academy.

You contribute to the education of young testers and give lectures. Why did you decide to get involved in this activity?

The Sourcery Academy creates great value. That is especially true for students who gain the necessary experience and knowledge and learn how to focus on professional work in a modern company. And in terms of value, it also benefits our company, as we contribute to the growth of young professionals and help prepare them for the labor market. We can invite the best graduates, who best meet our expectations in terms of culture and competency, to join our company team. I think it's important to introduce students to the best practices, thereby showing them the high standards of Devbridge, and at the same time, helping them in their career in the IT market.

Do you still manage to set the bar high for yourself? What promotes improvement at work?

I believe so. I'm presently working on a large document preparation project, which one of the most prominent US electric car manufacturers uses. I learn something new in each project and expand my knowledge, which is useful for the next job. One of the most interesting things about Devbridge, and testing in general, is automation. I try not only to broaden my knowledge and share information in this area but also to make sure that this practice is used as often and effectively as possible in projects. In many projects, I had to take care of the test automation process and consult colleagues. One could say that I am a kind of automation evangelist. To this, I would add one internal project, "Test-Juggler, "an automated test writing tool that my colleagues and I developed for internal use. We also released it as an open-source product that now everyone can use.

Do you still have to hear new funny myths about the tester profession?

There's something that doesn't ever really change. There's a joke that testers are supposedly the enemies of programmers. We actually get along pretty well unless we're playing table soccer. We always work together in a friendly manner to achieve common goals. There are also fears that artificial intelligence will replace testers. In fact, it's not quite a myth, but we'll see what the future holds. One of the better jokes about the tester who went to a bar goes something like this, "A tester ordered 1 non-alcoholic beer at the bar. Ordered 0 beers. Ordered 999999 beers. Ordered 1 beer."

Those who didn't get the joke are probably not testers. But perhaps they can become one?

What are the most relevant and necessary characteristics of this profession?

Have a good sense of humor, curiosity, a very strong desire to learn, and a healthy pessimism. And if you're completely serious, then I don't doubt that testing can be learned, and it doesn't matter at all what you've completed or how old you are. The most important thing is the desire to improve.

Sourcery for Testers is a free, once-a-year, two-month summer academy for beginners looking to develop their software testing competencies. A group of 40 participants from Kaunas and Vilnius will participate in this year's online course. During the online lectures and individual and group tasks, academy participants will acquire the basics of testing, learn the peculiarities of forming the Agile testing team, the basics of test automation, and review functional and non-functional testing. Students will work on real projects, attend lectures and improve their skills. They will be accompanied by company professionals: mentors and lecturers. Anyone wishing to try out the technologies used for testing at Devbridge and take the opportunity to consult with a group of top-level tester lecturers and mentors is invited to register by May 17 (inclusive) this year.

More information about the Sourcery for Testers Academy can be found here.

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