Technical education and creativity in QA Engineering: Career story of Stepan Shykerynets, Senior MQA Engineer

Career story of
Senior MQA Engineer
Stepan Shykerynets

Behind every successful development, there is always a team where each expert has a unique career path, a story of self-determination, and a passion for the dynamic rhythm of the IT sphere. In this article, Stepan Shykerynets, our Senior MQA Engineer, will introduce you to the world of QA engineering, which requires unconventional thinking and a combination of technical education and soft skills in equal measure. He will also share the memorable moments from his career at Avenga that have shaped him into the professional he is today. Enjoy reading!

Stepan, tell us about your career path to becoming a Senior QA Engineer and how you chose this profession.

My education began at the Ivano-Frankivsk Physical-Technical Lyceum. As I focused on exact sciences, particularly mathematics and physics, it was logical that I chose a technical specialty at the university: Information Security. 

During my student years, I interned at several IT companies as a System Administrator. I saw that people could create useful and valuable digital products while earning a decent living and working interestingly in a cool team. At that moment, I had a choice: either to remain a System Administrator or to try QA Engineering. I chose testing because it allowed me to combine technical, analytical, and soft skills.

What do you think about technical education for QA specialists? Is it mandatory? 

I believe that a technical background is necessary for working in the QA area. Of course, you can start your career without it, but if you don’t have it when looking for your first job, you will definitely have to catch up in the future. It isn’t effortless to grow as a professional without a technical background because you need knowledge of SQL, API, Networks, and programming basics for the job.

In your opinion, testing is about established processes and clear standards, or there is room for creativity.

I believe that testing is a creative process that allows you to work flexibly and adapt clear processes and standards to daily activities. For example, during the testing process, QA specialists can use creative approaches to identify unusual use cases of the software product or check edge cases not covered by standard test cases.

Stepan, you have a long career path at Avenga. Could you share any memorable experiences or milestones in your 9-year journey?

After gaining several years of experience at my first IT company, I successfully passed an interview at Malkos (now Avenga). The first thing I remember is the interview: long, hard, but so well-structured! Honestly, my technical skills and knowledge of administration and computer networks pulled me through then. It is the first vivid memory associated with Avenga.

Still, over the years of collaboration, I have accumulated many significant moments: coordinating the first subordinate and the first QA team on the project, conducting my first interview as an interviewer, and the first technical evaluation for QA department specialists. It was very pleasant that I was trusted with this, and I tried to do my best. Looking back, I see how each task shaped me and determined my next professional development step.

Tell us about the responsibilities of a Senior MQA Engineer at Avenga. Which of them drives you the most? 

In our team, a Senior QA Engineer is responsible for test activities across testing phases and project stages and continuously assesses the appropriate testing efforts. Also, performs reviews and audits of testing and project processes, documentation, and other attributes to establish or improve the proper level of quality.

Currently, I have the opportunity to engage in the following activities: pre-sale, planning QA activities on various projects, coordinating QA teams, conducting interviews, and supporting the QA department development and growth at Avenga. I can’t single out one activity. I like that as my experience and skills expand, I face a variety of responsibilities.

Learn about TOP skills for QA engineers in 2024!

In this video, Stepan talks about the knowledge and skills that will make you competitive in the IT market and help your professional development.

Many of us know about traditional “fighting” between QA and Software Engineers regarding approaches to product quality. How do you handle such disagreements?

In my opinion, there is no conflict between QA and Developers. For me, everyone working on the project is always a friend. Everyone is interested in creating a valuable product for users or clients. The colleagues I have worked with have always tried to create the highest-quality product possible. Of course, sometimes you have to make concessions to release faster, which is necessary for overall success. However, this should be a conscious action after discussion and risk analysis.

You have several hobbies, including hiking and rock climbing. Stepan, do these hobbies influence your approaches to work?

Yes, for example, one of my hobbies is hiking. I have repeatedly participated in Gorgany Race competitions because I like challenging trials where you can go beyond the usual and comfortable conditions. These skills directly affect my ability to solve complex cases and be more effective at work. 

Overall, my first serious hikes began as soon as I started working. For the first few years, I mainly went on one-day solo hikes, where I could only rely on myself. However, I enjoyed multi-day hikes without sleep the most, where the success of the hikes entirely depends on you and your moral and physical readiness. For a first hike, you only need good shoes to take your first step. After all, as you know, a way of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Hiking has taught me not to be afraid to start doing something on my own because, after difficult trials, it will be pleasant and exciting to see the results.

Please share with us advice you would give yourself at the beginning of your career.

Of course, I recommend learning English and being persistent in work and study. Also, it’s worth taking on difficult tasks, even if they need to be clarified and require time to research. I am convinced that in every task, even the most boring, you always need to see something new and use it for your development.

And our traditional question: Why Avenga? 

I got an interesting job and the opportunity to realize myself as a specialist here at Avenga. Thanks to the support of the team and managers, I was able to participate in challenging and meaningful projects that allowed me to apply my knowledge in practice and gain valuable experience. So, I always feel motivated and inspired to work in this environment.

Stepan, thank you for this interview! We believe our conversation reminded all readers that every challenge provides growth opportunities. 

May your career story inspire other IT specialists to find their passions, develop their strengths, and never shy away from tackling challenging tasks. The path to success may not always be easy, but with determination and a desire to learn, you can significantly impact your professional field.

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