As a crowdtesting company, we wouldn't make it anywhere without the incredible people that make up our crowd. Today I'd like you all to meet, Estevao. Based out of Brazil, Estevao became a tester years ago, and through his high-quality work, he earned a position as a Team Leader. In his own words, Team Leaders are "a bridge that connects the company's three pillars." He details how he works with and balances the expectations of those three pillars, our customers, our testers, and the team at test IO in this interview conducted by Evgeniya and me.
Evgeniya: You're a Team Leader who started as a tester. Can you tell us a little about your career journey? How did you go from being a tester to a Team Leader? How did you learn about test IO’s platform in general?
Estevao: I was a tester for about six or seven months, and I was looking for ways to earn more money or even to move to a different country. Actually, I was planning to do a course in Australia. But then I saw an opportunity for a Team Leader position on the test IO website. I was maybe two weeks away from going to Australia, when Anjo, the community manager at the time, sent me an email saying that there was a spot for a Team Leader if I was still interested.
What made me fall in love with test IO was the community when I was a tester. I was testing for multiple companies, but I always felt like I was disposable – like they could fire me and hire 10,000 testers the next day. test IO always made me feel like I was part of the company. When I got that email from Anjo, I was so happy that I said, “Well, Australia can wait for a couple of years because this is where I want to be now.” In two weeks, I was trained by Markus, and—since I already had some experience as a tester—it was easy for me to adapt to being a Team Leader.
Evgeniya: That's a crazy story. You put off going to Australia to be with test IO. Since you became a Team Leader, did your life change in any way? And if so, how?
Estevao: Absolutely. My background is in mechanical engineering. I graduated in 2015, and I struggled to get a job related to engineering in Brazil. So, I decided to try to find a way to earn money online. Then, I learned more about UI testing, which ultimately led me to test IO. The money I earn at test IO is better than many jobs available here. Thanks to my job, I was able to find my own apartment, and I'm even engaged now. Now, my life is like a dream. I know it's a cliché but working for test IO changed my life.
Evgeniya: That’s great. As a Team Leader, do you sometimes participate in tests as a tester, or do you focus solely on your managerial responsibilities?
Estevao: At first, I used to test a little bit, but now I feel a bit conflicted. I can't test for my own test. How am I going to submit bugs to myself? I'm the one going to approve them, and that doesn't make sense. Plus, I always feel like I might be taking a tester's opportunity to work and find some bugs. I think it's more suitable for them to test rather than me.
Evgeniya: Have you ever been near the end of a test when you've noticed a bug on the website or in the app that nobody has reported? When this happens, do you report the bug yourself?
Estevao: Most of the time, our testers do find the bugs. I've submitted maybe two or three bugs at the end of the test because I thought it was a critical bug, and no one had submitted it, but our testers are usually pretty good at finding the bugs. I feel confident leaving the tests to them.
Evgeniya: When you're picking up tests, I know that you're not afraid or nervous about taking the tests with special requirements and with high-demand customers. How do you maintain good relationships with customers? What is your approach towards working with your customers?
Estevao: A test is a test, and it needs to run. If I don't take it, maybe it will take a lot of time for another Team Leader to take it and cause some delays. I always think the customer needs the test to run. If I'm available at the time a customer needs a test performed, I am going to take that test. I've seen some pretty crazy tests or tasks, and it's exciting that it's challenging. Sometimes they ask us to set up a charlie proxy, or maybe we have to use two or three different devices to perform a test or use a VPN. Regardless, I'm always eager to learn. I've learned a lot since I became a Team Leader because I didn't have any particular background in this area. Everything I know now is from taking the test, running different setups, and talking to CSMs, other Team Leaders, and testers.
Evgeniya: What is your favorite part about your job as a Team Leader?
Estevao: There are two aspects of the job I particularly enjoy. I can't say which one is my favorite, but the first one is being in contact with people all around the world. The second one is the flexibility that the job gives me. I have two parents, both of whom are elderly, and they sometimes need to be taken to the hospital. I know that I can plan my schedule to help them, which is a privilege not offered by most office jobs.
Evgeniya: Do you sometimes find it challenging to balance between what testers need and customers' requirements? You have both perspectives because you used to be a tester, but you also must keep the customer happy. Is it sometimes challenging for you to keep both sides satisfied?
Estevao: Yes. Sometimes, it breaks my heart that I have to reject all the bugs submitted by a tester because some customers are strict on reviewing their bugs. I know how frustrating it can be for a tester to work hard for maybe two or three hours and leave empty-handed. Perhaps I will make an exception for a tester or approve a bug that I'm kind of how can I say it? Basically, I know that the customer might reject it, but I approve it so the tester has some money, so they can keep themselves excited to submit bugs and so they don't hate me like a Team Leader. I want to avoid a tester seeing Estevao is the Team Leader and deciding to leave the test because of it. It's very hard sometimes, but I always try to put myself in their shoes. And I always learn a little bit from other Team Leaders and also talking to Marcus and Stefan. So I would say this is the most challenging part of being a Team Leader.
Evgeniya: How do you find the cooperation between Team Leaders and testers on our platform?
Estevao: Well, I try to use my mindset as a tester when reviewing bugs. This is probably the most important thing, especially for Team Leaders that have been testers.
Michael: How do you decide what makes a bug relevant to a customer?
Estevao: If I've taken more tests from a customer, and I already know what they find relevant or not, it's a much easier test. For example, even though some customers have low bugs and visual bugs enabled from their tests, they usually reject them as not relevant. But if it's a new customer that I've never worked with, I will use my best judgment. For example, suppose I see a feature as very important, and the tester performs steps that a typical user will do. In that case, since it's not something like turning off the internet connection, closing the browser, then opening it again, I will consider it relevant. It's basically using common sense. If I think the bug could occur for many users, then I know that the customer will be interested in it. If the bug does not correspond to a step that many customers could take, then I reject it or downgrade it to low. That is how I usually approach the test.
Michael: Awesome. From your perspective, what is the role of a Team Leader?
Estevao: Well, I would say that the Team Leader is the bridge that connects testers, the sales team, and customers. It's a big responsibility because we need to please both testers and customers. The role of a Team Leader is like a bridge that connects the company's three pillars.
Michael: What was your biggest challenge when you first transitioned? How is being a Team Leader different than testing, and how did you adapt?
Estevao: When I'm a tester, I'm the one judged by a Team Leader. When I became a Team Leader, it was interesting to find myself in the role of rejecting and approving bugs. With that in mind, I try my best to be fair to everyone. However, there is no way to please everyone. Sometimes I see that a tester is frustrated because their bugs were rejected, and I feel bad about it, but it's the only way we all get better.
Michael: You said that you did not have any specific software experience before going into this role? What were some of the things you had to learn when you started testing or became a Team Leader?
Estevao: Well, the first thing is: what is a bug? It's a fundamental question that everyone who wants to work in testing has to answer. The first thing is finding out what is a bug, then how to classify them according to our rules— specifically, what’s a low bug, a content bug, and a visual bug. Then I would say, getting more familiar with tools like proxy VPN. Some apps have some particular features that I've never tested before, and sometimes I have to do a Google search to know what the app is about and what the feature is.
Michael: You said some customers have interesting special requirements. Are there any test cycles that stand out to you as the most interesting or the most challenging?
Estevao: There was this one customer. It was a wallet for cryptocurrencies. I had heard about Bitcoin for a long time, but I'd never seen how a wallet works. It was a big challenge for me to understand all the encryption that went into the essential feature: conversions. It was an interesting and challenging test for me.
Michael: In a situation like that, when you feel like you don't understand the app itself, how do you judge testers' bugs?
Estevao: In that case, I used the app a lot. A Team Leader is usually invited two hours before the test starts. I take that time to use the app as much as possible. To best get to know every feature, I read the directions very carefully. Then I do some Google searches if something is still unclear. Even though I do prepare myself, the testers shed some light on how something works, and it helps me to evaluate bugs after that.
Michael: Do you feel like there is a lot of back and forth between Team Leaders and testers when the test is happening?
Estevao: Yes, especially at the start of the test, there are usually some questions. When a bug gets rejected, there are usually two or three messages from the tester trying to explain what happened. But I try not to get involved too much because I've been a tester. I know that sometimes no matter what the reasoning is or the Team Leader's arguments, there is no way to explain it to the tester. I remember one particular bug that I rejected. The tester argued, I quoted a bit of our Academy and pasted the link in my comments. He refused to read it. Then I did it again. He refused to read it. At that point, there's just nothing else I can do. Sometimes, things get a bit tricky, but most of the time I think testers and Team Leaders get along well.
Michael: Is there any advice you would give to testers, especially new ones who are just dealing with the process and have recently dealt with rejection? What should they focus on when they're testing to increase their bug acceptance rate?
Estevao: It's essential to first read the test instructions. For example, many tests have low bugs enabled, but the customer writes that low bugs are out of scope in the test instructions. Many low bugs are submitted in those tests, but I have to reject them to better serve the customer. Another thing is getting familiar with bug severities. Read the Academy. I think it's time well spent. Spend two hours or so reading everything. In the end, it will help a lot. I guarantee it will improve the bug acceptance rate, and it will make it easier to understand how our platform works. We also have a lot of material on the YouTube channel, and Evgeniya runs many in-person workshops. I was invited to one a couple of months ago. There's a lot of material that testers can use to get familiar with our community and with our platform.
Evgeniya: Do you have any advice for testers who have been on our platform for a long time, and now would like to be a Team Leader?
Estevao: I would say to focus more on quality than quantity. Some testers copy a lot of bugs and are not very active in finding new bugs, or they submit the same type of bug, every other test. Instead, they should focus on quality, writing professional reports, high-quality screencasts, and good and clear language. Testers who take the time to do that will inevitably be asked to become a Team Leader. When we see a tester that focuses on quality, the difference in their reports is night and day from the rest.
Evgeniya: For the people who are considering a career in manual testing, what advice would you give? Would you recommend this job? And if so, why or why not?
Estevao: Well, especially in the times we live in now, being a tester is a fantastic opportunity. Even my mother is studying English to become a tester, so I really believe there is a lot of opportunity in this area, especially at test IO. You can not only become a Team Leader; I've seen some testers get jobs in the Berlin office. It's a way to earn extra money, and it's a fun. Personally, it's always nice to learn new things. For example, I am now studying programming. It all started because I became a tester and then a Team Leader. I always thought that I was going to be an engineer. Today I see that my true passion is IT. Becoming a tester and working quality assurance shifted the trajectory of my career completely.
I'm so glad to be part of this company. I was in a tough situation when I first started working as a tester. test IO was the best route I could have gone because it changed my life in a way that I never dreamed of. I always tell testers and people interested in this area to give it a go. You never know what's going to happen, but in the end, you may find a new passion.
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