Welcome to the next feature of our Leaders in Tech editorial series. Speaking to leaders in the industry to capture their stories, career highs and lows, their trials and successes, their current company and their role, most recent projects, advice to others, and the individuals who they most look up to in the industry.
Today, we talked to Ron Quinto, Software QA Engineer at McNichols Co to find out more about why he joined the tech industry, what his role entails, what are the challenges he faces, and his advice to aspiring engineers and testers.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
My current job is Software QA Engineer at McNichols where I use the provided business requirements to write and run manual test cases on all software components used by McNichols to serve its customers on a daily basis. I also provide Level 1 Support for all software components used by McNichols to serve its customers on a daily basis.
What was your journey like?
I started testing computer software after graduating from San Francisco State University in California in May 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. I started working as a manual Software Tester with Compaq Software in San Bruno, California in November 1995.
I now test using both manual and automated software techniques. I have built multiple software QA departments from scratch, and I have been a QA supervisor and manager multiple times.
What drew you to the tech industry?
I was attracted to the tech industry because when I graduated from college in 1995, I was not excited about my job prospects in electrical engineering. I chose the tech industry because I was excited about the opportunities that the impending tech boom in Silicon Valley presented to me. This was before the IPO’s of multiple tech giants such as Netscape and Amazon and Google.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
I look to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Elon Musk for inspiration.
What are your current goals?
My current goals are to learn Python, Kali Linux, and Penetration Testing, so that I can test software using manual, automated, and white hat hacking techniques, to test software as quickly, as efficiently, and as securely as possible.
What are you the proudest of in your career so far?
I am proudest that I have always been able to lead multiple teams in testing multiple releases of software that were always released ahead of schedule, and which had a few software defects as possible.
What is the favourite part of your job?
The favourite part of my job is when I first get to run exploratory testing techniques on software, to see how it responds to user interaction. This way, I get to see its speed and method of response.
What has been your greatest challenge from working so far?
My greatest challenge from working has been to translate business and engineering requirements into testing requirements, and then to convert those testing requirements into both manual and automated testing cases.
What’s the most important risk you took in your career?
The most important risk that I have taken in my career is to turn my back on Electrical Engineering and to start a new career in Software Quality Assurance. At the time that I did this, I was not sure for how long I could make money testing computer software.
What have you learned from your experience so far?
I have learned that computer software development and quality assurance technology constantly change, so that I myself also have to adapt and evolve, in order to keep up and stay abreast of current and future technology.
Do you have a memorable story or an anecdote from your experience you’d like to tell?
When my team and I at Compaq Software were testing the software that was pre-installed on Compaq Presario scheduled to ship to Germany and the Netherlands in the summer of 1996, we made critical language translation mistakes. We failed to ask any of our supervisors the difference between the words ‘Dutch’ and ‘Deutsch’.
So, we mistakenly tested and released the Dutch software to Germany, and we mistakenly tested and released the Deutsch software to Holland. Within 24 hours, our management team called us into work as soon as possible to fix these problems.
Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring engineers and testers who want to grow in the tech industry?
Yes, I have the following pieces of advice:
- Keep yourself up to date with current and emerging techniques in both software development and testing, so that you can prepare to do both.
- Build a network, using LinkedIn and other social media and websites, to connect with your peers, and with people who you might want to work with and for in the future. This way, you can learn from each other, and you can form and develop professional relationships with each other.
- Be patient and be diplomatic in all your dealings, so that people will value you for your character, integrity, and intelligence.