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“Choose wisely and be outright - and you will surely succeed”, - Interview with QA Lead at DataArt

We discussed with Ellina Azadova - QA Lead at DataArt - whether it is easy to become a QA specialist, what it takes, and are there any opportunities outside the big cities.

What has attracted you to your job? Have you been interested in IT since childhood?

Yes, I have been interested in IT since I was a child. I craved to have a computer, and my first one was a “Spectrum” type when I was in second grade. I decided to enroll in the Informatics university program when I was in tenth grade. The Internet attracted me a lot, as well as an opportunity to acquire information being at home since I used to like reading and visiting libraries.

 

Were your parents supportive of this aspiration?

Not really. They are quite “old-school”, and would not believe in modern technology.

 

Have they changed their mind now? Or, maybe, they are still skeptical?

Surely, they have changed their opinion now, when they saw my accomplishments. 

 

Quite a lot of people believe that QA is an easy job and many people start their way in IT with this job. Is it true?

No, I do not think so. The job is relatively entry-level (for instance, it is more difficult to become a programmer). However, it does not mean that it is easy to become a QA specialist. Besides, the market is growing now, and both competition and requirements are getting higher. Theory basis is not sufficient nowadays, you also need to understand how to apply it, as well as have additional technical skills that allow you to get an in-depth understanding of the product and better discharge your duties. And, of course, soft skills matter - you need them to facilitate communication with colleagues, learning, etc.

 

What soft skills are the most useful for a QA specialist? Is it possible to develop them and is it difficult?

As far as I am concerned, soft skills are more challenging to acquire than technical ones. It is possible, but it requires more practice and effort. Among the important soft skills for QA engineers, I would name communication with team and clients, the ability to bear responsibility for the product’s quality, being curious, thorough and attentive.

 

Many people think that getting a good degree and a well-paid IT job is only possible in big cities. Not everyone can move to another city, thus young people tend to stay in their hometowns, not being aware of the opportunities they have. What we, as a society, can do to combat these stereotypes and prove that work can be found not only in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Lviv?

A job in IT is flexible and allows you to work almost everywhere if there is an Internet connection. IT companies exist not only in big cities, and they continue to open new branches, especially if there are potential professionals. Also, the remote job can be offered. Besides, there are online or local courses, in case the university education is not enough to commence a career. For instance, I live in Kherson and there is a good opportunity to work and earn a decent salary in hometown.

 

IT courses’ ads are still full of sexist stereotypes, speculating about IT being only suitable for men, while women can only enjoy jobs in design. Have you ever experienced discrimination or prejudice in your career?

Unfortunately, yes, I have. Luckily, it was years ago, when I was looking for my very first job in IT. Then I heard: 'You are a girl, why would you need IT?' I continue to face some stereotypes nowadays, though far less frequently.

 

Is government striving sufficient to encourage girls to work in IT and other technical areas? Considering the importance of IT for Ukraine, it surely should have been a crucial sphere for Ukraine.

I have not experienced any special support for women.

 

Do you find it necessary? Or the government’s interference will only make things worse?

I believe that no special encouragement will be needed if the state provides IT with more support.

 

What does #STEMGirls mean to you?

I heard about #STEMGirls for the first time about a week ago and liked the initiative. It lets us show that our girls are strong and capable of achieving their goals and motivating others.

 

ِAnd the last question. What would you like to advise those girls who are only considering an IT career?

Since IT offers a variety of jobs, you can pick something that is truly yours. You should only consider the specificity of the job. So, choose wisely and be outright - and you will surely succeed.