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Interview with Roeland, test engineer with many years of experience

At the end of this year, you will have worked at Passwerk for ten years. How do you look back on this period?

There were different periods. In the beginning, I still had to get used to things, but people valued my efforts. I also experienced the transition from the so-called 'V-model development', a linear software development method, to the 'agile-model development', a more convenient method.

This is your eighth year as a consultant at RSVZ. What are some of the assignments you have done for them?

I have worked there almost exclusively as a software test engineer. In the beginning, it was about developing screens, with controls via the database. Later, more technical tasks were added, like creating and sending XMLs.

What added value do you think you have brought to RSVZ?

As soon as I was able to test, I started providing quality feedback. This gave programmers time to make corrections, which I could then test again. When I think back on the projects, I mostly remember the innovation of the software for career uniformity and equalisations (of studies and military service).

Which completed tasks do your colleagues compliment you on?

Sometimes I get compliments about the quality of the completed tests. That is part of the teamwork. In those ten years, I have found many bugs long before the business was able to find them.

During those ten years at Passwerk you probably have learned a lot about technology. Do you have any examples?

The most important thing I’ve learned is teamwork, I think. It sounds difficult and complex, but by adapting to the project and the others, you quickly start thinking along the same lines. I learned how to work with the test database to create, read, update and, when necessary, delete data. I also learned to work with the business program and the test program. Because of the amount of working from home as well as personal reasons, I found it necessary to alter my PC; I did this myself and now have a dual boot for Windows 10 and Linux.

What do you think of the COVID period?

For me, COVID meant almost always working from home. Initially I did this on one screen, but because of the many program windows that were open at the same time, I connected a second screen. At first, I had some problems understanding the French in telephone quality during meetings, but now video calls via internet have become the standard. I used to be able to simply go and ask a colleague for advice, but now I have to do that via internet or on the phone. This is why it is so important to synchronise things really well. Because I was working from home, I didn’t eat lunch at the company cafeteria and often cooked lunch myself instead; it reminds me of the film ‘The Martian’.

Because of COVID, I had very little contact with others, especially during peak periods. When I went outside, I sometimes felt like I was on another planet because a lot of people weren’t following the safety measures. This adds another dimension to problems with social interactions. I lived like my hamster: solitary, equipped with a supply of food and sometimes going for a walk or a run. In the beginning, I wanted to learn as much as possible about COVID, but there was so much repetition on the news. After a lot of research on the internet, I learned that the virus is just one of many viruses that can be transmitted from bats to humans. I still hate incorrect information; it must be mainly about the advantages and disadvantages of the vaccination.

With your autism, what do you find to be the greatest challenge in your assignments?

The greatest challenge for me still is being able to communicate at a sufficiently high level. I try to determine the best way to communicate from the feedback I get. I now know some handy technical tricks, especially when it comes to composing data.

Is the coaching from Passwerk helpful? And if so, why do you find it so important?

The coaching from Passwerk allows me to talk about situations. The main advantage is that I don’t have to wait until the biweekly meeting to contact a coach. A conversation is seldom about ‘alert signals’ but more typically about what I could do to better handle certain situations. If the client asks me to adapt my way of working, it often isn’t too hard for me to do that and adhere to it.

In which areas would you still like to learn new things?

I already have a full workload with testing and the preparation of tests: reading analytical documents, creating test scenarios, preparing data, consulting screens, using databases and creating XMLs. Although I have some experience in building websites, I would love to be able to test using automated tools, even though I’ve already had some training in this. Via Passwerk I've been training in the dynamic process from a request to an analysis. But it’s still a big mystery to me, just like making sense of ‘.NET’.

Do you keep in contact with other Passwerk consultants at RSVZ or at other companies?

Those contacts are mainly limited to business. We also work in different departments.

Can we count on your continued collaboration with Passwerk for the next ten years or even longer?

Of course. I couldn’t imagine a better job.

Roeland, test engineer


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