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17 May, 2022

Edge Academy 1 year on interview

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Software testing is often overlooked as an IT career option in favour of software development. However, at Edge we believe new starters within the software testing industry can thrive and rapidly progress up the career ladder. To act as the catalyst for this career kick-start Edge undertakes an intensive in-house two-year testing focused training program called the Edge Academy.

This was set up to combine hands-on experience with classroom-based software testing training at our Regional Technology Centres in the UK. Subjects covered include theory and practice in software testing, test automation tools, Agile, DevOps and Continuous Integration.

The Edge Academy is popular with our new junior starters as it provides a proven career path where each new student is paid through the training and is given a job offer at the end of the course. The Edge Academy has been running since 2013 and typically sees more than 100 of its graduated students at any given time working on client projects under the supervision of experienced software testing professionals.

The course welcomes a diverse candidate intake who are interested in testing as a career, including school leavers with a passion for IT, graduates, graduate-level apprentices and career changers. Our recent intake from 2021 is a testament to this statement of diversity, this interview-based article provides an insight into how some of our Academy Students have found their experience within the Edge Academy to date.

What’s your education/career background?

Laura Walpole – I’m currently in the process of finishing my Bsc (Hons) Cyber Security degree, I’ve also worked as a Clinic Manager (1 year) and Account Manager (3 years).

Rachel Leong - I have an undergraduate degree in Geography and worked various administrative jobs, before completing a post-graduate conversion course in Software Development.

Eilidh Chisholm - I studied cyber security and digital forensics at university prior to joining Edge. I also worked in Recruitment with the NHS.

Ioannis Timiou - I have a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. This is my first job in the IT industry, I was previously serving in the Greek Military between my degrees.

Tejashwini Garagatti – I have a degree in Bachelor of Engineering, and I specialised in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

Why did you decide to go for a career in software testing?

Laura Walpole - I re-evaluated my career path and long-term goals following on from the Covid-19 pandemic once I realised, I was no longer satisfied in my role as an account manager. I had the time to explore my own interests whilst on furlough which led me to build my own gaming PC, take an online course in Python programming, and research a career within the IT sector. After deciding that I wanted to change my career path to align with my own interests I applied to The Open University and began the first year of my Cyber Security degree in 2020. As my long-term career goals are centred around security testing, which is quite a niche field, I thought it was important to first work within a software testing role to allow me to gain the skills and mindset required to progress in a logical manner.

As I’m a self-confessed perfectionist with a keen eye for detail alongside being able to ‘think outside the box’, so when I discovered that I could put these skills to use whilst satisfying my curious nature (I’ve always wanted to learn how things work beneath the surface!) I knew that software testing would be perfect for me.

Rachel Leong - Software testing offers a well-rounded career path. It is interactive, challenging, dynamic, and good progression. Similar to other areas within technology, there are always new things to learn and adapt into.

Eilidh Chisholm - I decided to go for a career in software testing as it was an area that I had not previously thought of as a career but one that sounded really interesting and exciting. 

Ioannis Timiou - Throughout my degree in Computer Science and the various projects I was part of, I noticed that a lack of proper testing was often something that set the project back considerably. This made me interested in going into software testing myself.

Tejashwini Garagatti - I like solving logical puzzles. Testing is a kind of solving a logical puzzle. We will be given software that will go straight to the market if we nod our head that there are no bugs in the software and ready to release. We, the Testers are the protectors at the gateway. We not only find the bugs. We break the system too in terms of stress testing.

I like to take challenges. In many projects, we need to do testing without having specification documents. It’s a big challenge to explore the system and find the bugs. Domain knowledge is also one of the biggest challenges a tester faces. We, the testers do explore the system and struggle to understand and finding bugs and report to fix and deliver a quality product to the market.

I like to be in a team where quality products will be delivered. Customers spend lots of money to buy a product. No customer will be happy if the product doesn’t work as intended. I play a role where I can deliver a quality product which in turn makes the  customer happy.

Tell us about the Edge Academy and your favourite part?

Laura Walpole - My favourite part of the academy was the first week which I spent in Glasgow with my fellow Edge Academy colleagues. Four of us spent the week together training and forged a solid friendship which we have maintained since, and I feel that being able to take part in the first week in person assisted us all in settling into our new roles. With this being my first role in ‘IT’ I was very nervous and did not know what to expect and the introductory week was a wonderful way to help me settle in and meet other members of staff who visited us in the office. The enthusiasm and encouragement from upper management reinforced that I would be supported throughout my career as I develop my skills and enhanced my excitement for my career opportunities.

Rachel Leong - The Edge training academy is essentially a bootcamp-like process, where participants can learn about what is involved in the world of software testing. We learnt skills that we can now apply into our work and projects. Company experts provide concise training and share their experiences within the industry. My favourite part of the Edge Training academy was meeting with the cohort and trainers. It was a supportive environment within the team.

Eilidh Chisholm - The academy was a great place to learn about software testing and get to know other people that had also joined the academy. My favourite part has been learning about automation testing. 

Ioannis Timiou - The Edge academy was a great experience and a great way to learn about the job and have a taste of the skills we would need for it. My favourite part would have to be the 1 to 1 sessions where we could give feedback regarding the modules, as well as the hands on exercises that helped me understand the concepts a lot faster.

Tejashwini Garagatti – The Edge academy helps organisations to develop their own super charged testing resources as cost effective alternative to reliance on the contract market. The Edge Academy participants will then go through a six-week boot camp that blends classroom training with real project experience and personal development.

My most favourite part of the edge training academy one with buddy period where we get to learn lots information to learn with buddy with real time projects and doing classroom exercise.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since joining the academy and how did you handle it?

Laura Walpole - As I find auditory learning a huge challenge, I really struggled with the 5 weeks of training which were held remotely. I had great difficulty in absorbing and retaining the information showcased during each session which was held on Microsoft teams. As I was aware of my preferred learning styles I communicated the difficulties I was experiencing to Duncan as I felt I was not able to showcase my potential at its best to ensure this was understood, and was reassured that although there were certain areas (such as the learning outcomes) which I was falling short on there was no doubt that I possessed the abilities. This reassured me and I have worked hard since to make the most of the training by using OneNote to take notes throughout the training to ensure I am mentally logging the information by relaying it in typed form.

Rachel Leong - The biggest challenge was joining Edge and having to work remotely after week 1. However, being in the office initially for the first week, helped to establish connections. There were weekly catchups with senior management, who are invested in our work well-being, and happy to help where needed.

Eilidh Chisholm - My biggest challenge was working on my first project out of the academy but all members of staff that I talked to about any nervousness that I felt going into the project were more than happy to talk me through any parts of the project that I was unsure of and offer any support that I needed.

Ioannis Timiou - The biggest challenge I have faced until now with Edge is getting started on a project that has been ongoing for a while with a longstanding client and team. The amount of information and number of processes is a lot to take in. Thankfully, the Edge peers in the team are really good with supporting and answering any questions that are bound to come up.

Tejashwini Garagatti - Learning so many new tools/concepts at a quick pace was very challenging for me, but later on it felt easy to me and fun to learn too. I started to learn by browsing many things which are related to the course tools/concepts.

How have you found the work environment and team at Edge?

Laura Walpole - The members of the Edge team who I have interacted with have all been very welcoming and supportive, and the environment is very healthy in comparison to previous experiences. I am very grateful for the focus on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of employees with any difficulties acknowledged and open for discussion – transparency and honesty are encouraged rather than struggling alone so I feel that Edge really does want the best for the team.

Rachel Leong - The team at Edge are approachable. Management are open to listening to feedback and this is taken onboard. 

Eilidh Chisholm - The work environment is great; everyone is extremely approachable and readily available to help in any way that they can

Ioannis Timiou - The work environment within Edge is lovely, and I have yet to meet anyone at Edge I did not get along with or I felt was not supportive. There is very much a sense of teamwork and understanding “there is no silly question”.

Tejashwini Garagatti - It’s a really good, very supportive and healthy environment.

What are you looking forward to in your future at Edge?

Laura Walpole - I am most looking forward to improving my existing skills and knowledge whilst making use of training to expand my skillset. I have learnt so much allready and as I gain more experience, I may find a particular area to specialise in and broaden the skills at my disposal. I can’t wait to see where I am at the end of the academy!

Rachel Leong - I am looking forward to working on exciting and challenging projects with great colleagues. 

Eilidh Chisholm - I am looking forward to learning more about automation testing and getting more projects under my belt. 

Ioannis Timiou - At the moment, I am looking forward to learning more and going on more projects that expose me to different parts of the industry. Eventually, I look forward into trying out something technical like performance testing.

Tejashwini Garagatti – I’m looking forward to working on more projects and learning lots of things and information on advanced tools/concepts.

Feedback

The Academy reports directly to Duncan Small (Principal Consultant/Academy Manager) and he concluded: “The SQA Academy continues to grow from strength to strength and it owes much of its success to the enthusiasm of the candidates. As a trainer, I get as much as from each of the participants as I hope that each of the participants get from the Academy.

We have always made our Academies open and the feedback we get from our candidates helps us apply a continuous improvements approach.

Looking back at past Academies all of our students have had successful careers in testing. In fact, the feedback we have received already on Laura, Rachel, Eilidh, Ioannis and Tejashwini has been very positive and I have absolute confidence that they will enjoy successful careers in testing. It is the candidates that make the Academy the success it is.”

Software testing is often overlooked as an ITcareer option in favour of software
development.However at Edge we believe new starters within thesoftware testing
industry can thriveandrapidly progressup the career ladder. To act as the catalyst
for this career kick-startEdge undertakesan intensive in-house two-yeartesting
focusedtraining program called the Edge Academy.

Thiswas set up to combine hands-on experience withclassroom-based software
testing training at our Regional Technology Centresin the UK. Subjects covered
include theory and practice in software testing, test automation tools, Agile, DevOps
and Continuous Integration.

The Edge Academy is popular with ournew junior starters as it provides a proven
career path where each new student is paid through the training and is given a job
offer at the end of the course. The Edge Academy has been running since 2013 and
typically sees more than 100 of its graduated students at any given time working on
client projects under the supervision of experienced software testing professionals.

The course welcomes a diverse candidate intake who are interested in testing as a
career, including school leavers with a passion forIT, graduates, graduate-level
apprentices and career changers. Our recent intake from2021is a testament to this
statementof diversity, this interview-based articleprovidesaninsight into howsome
of our Academy Students havefound their experience within the Edge Academyto
date.

What’s your education/career background?

Laura WalpoleI’m currently in the process of finishing my Bsc (Hons) Cyber
Security degree, I’ve also worked asaClinic Manager (1 year) and Account
Manager (3 years).

Rachel Leong-I have an undergraduate degree in Geography and worked various
administrative jobs, before completing a post-graduate conversion course in
Software Development.

Eilidh Chisholm-I studied cyber security and digital forensics at university prior to
joining Edge. I also worked in Recruitment with the NHS.

Ioannis Timiou-IhaveaBachelorofEngineeringdegreeinElectricaland
ElectronicEngineering,andaMasterofSciencedegreeinComputerScience.This
ismyfirstjobintheITindustry,IwaspreviouslyservingintheGreekMilitary
betweenmydegrees.

Tejashwini GaragattiI have a degree inBachelor ofEngineering,andI
specialised in Electronics andCommunication Engineering.

Why did you decide to go for a career in software testing?

Laura Walpole-I re-evaluated my career path and long-term goals following on
from the Covid-19 pandemic once I realised, I was no longer satisfied in my role as
an account manager. I had the time to explore my own interests whilst on furlough
which led me to build my own gaming PC, take an online course in Python
programming, and research a career within the IT sector. After deciding that I wanted
to change my career path to align with my own interests I applied to The Open
University and began the first year of my Cyber Security degree in 2020. As my long-
term career goals are centred around security testing, which is quite a niche field, I
thought it was important to first work within a software testing role to allow me to gain
the skills and mindset required to progress in a logical manner.

As I’m a self-confessed perfectionist with a keen eye for detail alongside being able
to ‘think outside the box’, so when Idiscovered that I could put these skills to use
whilst satisfying my curious nature (I’ve always wanted to learn how things work
beneath the surface!) I knew that software testing would be perfect for me.

Rachel Leong-Software testing offers awell-rounded career path. It is interactive,
challenging, dynamic, and good progression. Similar to other areas within
technology, there are always new things to learn and adapt into.
Eilidh Chisholm-I decided to go for a career in software testing as it was an area
that I had not previously thought of as a career but one that sounded really
interesting and exciting.

Ioannis Timiou-ThroughoutmydegreeinComputerScienceandthevarious
projectsIwaspartof,Inoticedthatalackofpropertestingwasoftensomethingthat
settheprojectbackconsiderably.Thismademeinterestedingoingintosoftware
testingmyself.

Tejashwini Garagatti-Ilike solving logical puzzles. Testing is a kind of solving a
logical puzzle. We will be given software that will go straight to the market if we nod
our head that there are no bugs in the software and ready to release. We, the
Testers are the protectors at the gateway. We not only find the bugs. We break the
system too in terms of stress testing.

I like to take challenges. In many projects, we need to do testing without having
specification documents. It’s a big challenge to explore the system and find thebugs.
Domain knowledge is also one of the biggest challenges a tester faces. We, the
testers do explore the system and struggle to understand and finding bugs and
report to fix and deliver a quality product to the market.

I like to be in a team where quality products will be delivered. Customers spend lots
of money to buy a product. No customer will be happy if the product doesn’t work as
intended. I play a role where I can deliver a quality product whichin turnmakes the
customer happy.

Tell us about the Edge Academy and yourfavouritepart?

Laura Walpole-My favourite part of the academy was the first week which I spent
in Glasgow with my fellow Edge Academy colleagues. Four of us spent the week
together training and forged a solid friendship which we have maintained since, and I
feel that being able to take part in the first week in person assisted us all in settling
into our new roles. With this being my first role in ‘IT’ I was very nervous and did not
know what to expect and the introductory week was a wonderful way to help me
settle in and meet other members of staff who visited us in the office. The
enthusiasm and encouragement fromupper managementreinforced that I would be
supported throughout my career as I develop my skills and enhanced my excitement
for my career opportunities.

Rachel Leong-TheEdge training academy is essentially a bootcamp-like process,
where participants can learn about what is involved in the world of software testing.
We learnt skills that we can now apply into our work and projects. Company experts
provide concise trainingand share their experiences within the industry.My favourite
part of the Edge Training academy was meeting with the cohort and trainers. It was a
supportive environment within the team.

Eilidh Chisholm-The academy was a great place to learn aboutsoftware testing
and get to know other people that had also joined the academy. My favourite part
has been learning about automation testing.
Ioannis Timiou-TheEdgeacademywasagreatexperienceandagreatwayto
learnaboutthejobandhaveatasteoftheskillswewouldneedforit.Myfavourite
partwouldhavetobethe1to1sessionswherewecouldgivefeedbackregarding
themodules,aswellasthehandsonexercisesthathelpedmeunderstandthe
conceptsalotfaster.

TejashwiniGaragattiTheEdge academy helps organisations to develop their
own super charged testing resources as cost effective alternative to reliance on the
contract market. The Edge Academy participants will then go through a six-week
boot camp that blends classroom training with real project experience and personal
development.

My mostfavouritepart of the edge training academy one with buddy period where
we get to learn lots information to learn with buddy with real time projects and doing
classroom exercise.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since joining the academy
and how did you face it?

Laura Walpole-As I find auditory learning a huge challenge, I really struggled with
the 5 weeks of training which were held remotely. I had great difficulty in absorbing
and retaining the information showcased during each session which was held on
Microsoft teams. As I was aware of my preferred learning styles I communicated the
difficulties I was experiencing to Duncan as I felt I was not able to showcasemy
potential at its best to ensure this was understood, and was reassured that although
there were certain areas (such as the learning outcomes) which I was falling short on
there was no doubt that I possessed the abilities. This reassured me and I have
worked hard since to make the most of the training by using OneNote to take notes
throughout the training to ensure I am mentally logging the information by relaying it
in typed form.

Rachel Leong-The biggest challenge was joining Edge and having to work
remotely after week 1.However,being in the office initially for the first week, helped
to establish connections. There were weeklycatchupswith senior management, who
are invested in our work well-being, and happy to help where needed.

Eilidh Chisholm-My biggest challenge was working on my first project out of the
academy but all members of staff that I talked to about any nervousness that I felt
going into the project were more than happy to talk me through any parts of the
project that I was unsure of and offer any support that I needed.

Ioannis Timiou-ThebiggestchallengeIhavefaceduntilnowwithEdgeisgetting
startedonaprojectthathasbeenongoingforawhilewithalongstandingclientand
team.Theamountofinformationandnumberofprocessesisalottotakein.
Thankfully,theEdgepeersintheteamarereallygoodwithsupportingand
answeringanyquestionsthatareboundtocomeup.

Tejashwini Garagatti-Learningso manynew tools/conceptsat a quick pacewas
very challenging for me, butlater onitfelt easy to me and fun tolearn too.I started
to learn by browsing many things which are related tothe course tools/concepts.
How have you found the work environmentandteam at Edge?
Laura Walpole-The members of the Edge team who I have interacted with have all
been very welcoming and supportive, and the environment is very healthy in
comparison to previous experiences. I amvery grateful for the focus on supporting
the mental health and wellbeing of employees with any difficulties acknowledged and
open for discussiontransparency and honesty are encouraged rather than
struggling alone so I feel that Edge really does want the best for the team.

Rachel Leong-The team at Edge are approachable. Management are open to
listening to feedback and this is taken onboard.

Eilidh Chisholm-The work environment is great; everyone is extremely
approachable and readilyavailable to help in any way that they can

Ioannis Timiou-TheworkenvironmentwithinEdgeislovely,andIhaveyettomeet
anyoneatEdgeIdidnotgetalongwithorIfeltwasnotsupportive.Thereisverymuch
asenseofteamworkandunderstanding“thereisnosillyquestion”.

Tejashwini Garagatti-It’sareally good,very supportive and healthy environment.

What are you looking forward to in your future at Edge?

Laura Walpole-I am most looking forward to improving my existing skills and
knowledge whilst making use of training to expand my skillset. I have learnt so much
allready and as I gain more experience, I may find a particular area to specialise in
and broaden the skillsat my disposal. I can’t wait to see where I am at the end of the
academy!

Rachel Leong-Iamlookingforwardtoworkingonexcitingandchallengingprojects
withgreatcolleagues.

Eilidh Chisholm-I am looking forward to learning more aboutautomation testing
and getting more projects under my belt.

Ioannis Timiou-Atthemoment,Iamlookingforwardtolearningmoreandgoingon
moreprojectsthatexposemetodifferentpartsoftheindustry.Eventually,Ilook
forwardintotryingoutsomethingtechnicallikeperformancetesting.

Tejashwini GaragattiI’mlooking forward to workingon more projects and
learninglots of things and information on advanced tools/concepts.

Feedback

The Academy reportsdirectly to Duncan Small (Principal Consultant/Academy
Manager) and he concluded: “The SQA Academy continues to grow from strength to
strength and it owesmuch ofits success to the enthusiasm of the candidates. As a
trainer, I get as much as from each ofthe participants as I hope that each of the
participants get from the Academy.
We have always made our Academies open and the feedback we get from our
candidates helpsus apply acontinuous improvementsapproach.

Looking backat past Academiesall of ourstudentshave had successful careers in
testing. In fact, the feedback we have received already on Laura, Rachel, Eilidh,
Ioannis and Tejashwini has been very positive and I have absolute confidence that
they will enjoy successful careers in testing. It is the candidates that make the
Academy the success it is.”

 

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