Life as … a Quality Assurance Solution Architect – Mante Bos
The majority of our Tobania world (called “the galaxy” according to our Tobians) is populated by our consultants. Each with their own expertise strapped to their backpacks, they head out to our client’s workplace to deliver targeted projects. Perhaps at yours as well? Well, time to get to know them personally! Featured in this edition: Mante Bos, Solution Architect.
What is a Quality Assurance Solution Architect?
A Quality Assurance Solution Architect defines the testing and design vision and assists in implementing the solution that fits within the customer’s needs. A key responsibility of the Solution Architect is to take a leadership role and help the team thrive in implementing the vision and solution, and assist them in refining and adapting the vision themselves.
The responsibilities of aQuality Assurance Solution Architect include:
- improving and setting up the testing process together with our customers (ranging from vision planning, to helping implement technical testing).
- refining the overall software quality (going from ways of working to technical architecture).
- coaching team members or colleagues within the testing department, as well as making evaluations.
- providing a new customer with roadmaps to improve their quality and testing, as well as delivering training sessions.
How did your career path look like, Mante?
I initially started as a Manual Tester, but soon got into test automation. This was totally my thing, so I built my career from there. After I joined Tobania in 2017 as a Test Automation Specialist, I quickly received many opportunities to broaden my skills step by step. First, I became a trainer on test automation and was given the opportunity to work out Proof of Values for new customers. These were then the stepping stones to start coaching and executing test improvement projects at different customers.
What makes working as a Quality Assurance Solution Architect so unique?
There are several reasons. You often work across teams and play many different roles. For instance, you move from management to development teams. Moreover, you are able to enhance the quality of the entire development process and are not limited to the typical testing aspects. Not to mention the great variety of tasks involved, such as working out the vision and approach, maintaining stakeholder communication, implementing frameworks, and setting up tooling and technical tests.
Who inspires you?
No one in particular. I tend to get more inspired by innovative ideas or refreshing ways of presenting complex things in simple words.
What is your go-to productivity trick?
During busy periods, it is helpful to block various time slots in your agenda for specific topics. Besides, in meetings, you can provide a clear purpose or agenda so that people can come prepared. Lastly, if you are stuck on one topic, switch to another for a while and let it rest. After some time, you can reflect on it again with a fresh perspective.
“”A Solution Architect should possess both the technical skills and some creativity to translate challenges into solutions that fit within the customer’s processes.””
How can you stand out as a Test Automation Solution Architect?
First of all, it’s all about getting a thorough understanding of the business and testing challenges rapidly. Secondly, as a Solution Architect, you should also possess the technical skills and some creativity to translate the challenges into solutions that fit within the customer’s processes. The key differentiator lies in being able to present these in a structured and comprehensible way. And last but not least, you are required to show coaching skills in order to get teams on board with the changes and help them implement them to make the solution sustainable.
If you could go back in time. What would you say to yourself at the beginning of your career?
Don’t be afraid of change or trying new things. Get out of your comfort zone! At times you will succeed and at other times you will fail. But one thing is for sure, you will be learning a lot.
What gives you a professional high?
This could be about anything, from the small to the big. It may involve helping a colleague, or finally finding that bug in a testing script to witness the results of the improvements and changes you made together with the team.
Do you have any mentors in your professional life?
Yes, several in fact. First of all, the unit’s Business Manager, Angelique De Clercq, happens to be my coach. We regularly talk about the challenges I am facing and how I can grow any further. But I also get inspired or can always count on the advice of Unit Director Sebastiaan Van Gucht or Lead Solution Architect Freddy Schoeters.
Do you aspire to be a mentor for others?
I hope I am already seen as one. Within Tobania, I am the coach of five colleagues, but I also strive to motivate and guide people on the various projects I am working on.
What skill did you develop over your career that was worth all the effort?
Although I have learned a lot about testing and test automation over the years, those are not the things I am most proud of. The greatest skill I picked up was explaining complicated and technical things in simple words that anyone can comprehend.
““I know what is important to me: having fun, being challenged in my work and collaborating within a great team that I can manage and actively contribute to.””
What does your desired future look like?
I still have a lot to learn in my current position and I am excited to keep growing in this role. In the long term, I honestly don’t know what the future will bring. But I do know what is important to me: having fun, being challenged in my work and collaborating within a great team that I can manage and actively contribute to.
Why should fellow Testers join you at Tobania?
First of all, the atmosphere and culture within Tobania and the testing department is really jovial and open. In fact, everyone talks to everyone and helps each other. You don’t feel like a number, but rather an equal part of the team where you can develop yourself. The open culture in which you can discuss anything is also highly appreciated.
In addition, we coach you in your professional (and personal) growth, at your own pace. And last but not least, Tobania.Testing has many interesting career paths and projects for you! No matter whether you are interested in manual or all kinds of technical testing, or a more coordinating or managerial role, all possibilities are open to you.