Ask the Graduate: Software Test Engineer

RO Central Team - Monday, March 29, 2021
Posted 17 days ago


April 2021

A day in the life of Kay, a Software Test Engineer

My name is Kay and I’m a Software Test Engineer. A Software Test Engineer is the person in the software development team who tests out the code and functionality that the developers have written, to verify that everything works the way it should (and not the way it shouldn’t!) before it is signed off. We make sure that what has been created meets the needs of the end user, that it works and also feed any improvements back to the developers.

I’ve been doing my job for just over a year now – I was working in an admin role for a bank before this, but I got the opportunity to spend a year working in the IT department and there I met some Software Testers. Through chatting to them, I realised I really wanted to be a tester too, so I went back to university to study an MSc in Computer Science followed by another MSc in Computer Security, then applied to Scott Logic’s Graduate program.

It’s 9am and I’m working from home because of the pandemic, so I commute to the spare bedroom to start my day. The first thing I do is look at my calendar to see what my day looks like in terms of meetings – then I check my emails and look at any notes I made yesterday about things I needed to do today.

Because we’re currently all working from home, I log into the company’s message app, say good morning to the testing team and we discuss our priorities for the day. I look through our team’s online task-management board and I read through the work the developers are currently doing, and if there is anything I’m unfamiliar with, I do a little research, so I understand it better.

I love constantly learning new things, so for me, software testing is the ideal role because I’m constantly learning about new technology, and everything I test is slightly different to the last thing, it means that my work never becomes too routine.
A colleague in the online chat says he is having a problem with something and I know the solution, so I tell him how to fix it, I’m pleased that even though I’m fairly new to the job, I can already help my team members.
Short meetings called ‘stand-ups’ are part of a development team’s daily life, so because of the current lockdown, we meet via a video calling app, to discuss what we did the day before, what we plan to do today, and anything which blocks our work. It also gives everyone a chance to have a chat and a laugh when somebody’s dog or cat decides to join in the meeting.


I’m currently mentoring the newest testing graduate recruit, so next, I have a short online meeting with her to find out how she’s been doing with her remote training, ask her if there’s anything she needs and just have a little chat.
After my meetings, I make myself a coffee and have a quick chat to one of the people I live with, then head back to my desk to find out what’s next.
One of the developers has finished working on a piece of code and it’s ready to test, so I read the original brief for that piece of work, write down some possible testing scenarios, then I have a call with the developer, and he talks me through what he’s done and tells me anything I need to look out for while I test. I ask him any questions I have and the call ends, but I know I can send him a quick message or make another call any time I need to ask anything further.

Before I know it, its lunchtime! When we were all in the office, several of us would walk to local shops to buy lunch together, then head back to the office kitchen to eat and play table football or games on the PlayStation – I really miss lunchtimes in the office. Now, lunch is a tin of soup in my kitchen then a walk around the block for some fresh air.

In the afternoon, I continue the morning’s testing - I need to set up various processes I have never used before in order to finish, so I check with the more experienced tester on the team, and he quickly calls me and shares his screen so I can see what I need to do. Then I work through the list of scenarios I drew up earlier as well as checking that it meets all the agreed needs.

I finish testing the work – I run my findings past the developer, and I update the task board to say that testing has been signed off.

It’s getting quite late in the day now, but I have just under an hour left, so I pick up another newly completed piece of work which needs to be tested – I can’t get it finished today but I can get a head-start, so I have a quick chat to the developer who completed it.

It’s Friday today so before I finish work for the week, I send a message to my team wishing them a good weekend, before I power down and close the lid on my laptop until Monday.

I hope that gives you a good insight into what a typical day for a Software Test Engineer looks like! If you have any questions about my role, studies or anything else to do with working as a Software Test Engineer, please do get in touch by asking a question below.