April 18, 2019
With over 25 years’ experience, Kevin Smith began his career in professional services, doing pre-sales consulting work and then made a shift to Quality Assurance....
With over 25 years’ experience, Kevin Smith began his career in professional services, doing pre-sales consulting work and then made a shift to Quality Assurance. Currently he’s helping a major finance organization leverage its big data In addition to his day job, Kevin is also a runner, with over 29 marathons completed in the last four years.
How long have you been a runner?
I started running eight years ago as a way to live a healthier lifestyle. I run approximately 1,200 miles per year. I’ve run marathons in Germany, Paris, and will be running the London Marathon this April.
I love running in the mornings because it gives me some time alone to get my daily thoughts in order and to think through complex problems without any distractions. I have come up with some of my best presentation ideas while on a run. It’s a great way to kickstart my day.
How is running marathons and running tests similar?
Marathon training and QA testing both require planning, managing against metrics, and a lot of determination.
How did you find your way to Qualitest?
I worked for Autotrader.com for many years, running their QA team of about 40 people. I oversaw all the consumer-facing applications and later moved into the enterprise data services team working with Hadoop. I was then part of a team that helped build the data lake for all of Cox Automotive.
It was at Autotrader that I first worked with Orasi, (now Qualitest). I was their customer. That is where I had my first taste of the company I would eventually join.
Later, at my next company, I led the QA testing and worked with Orasi again. We did the testing for all the applications that we developed in-house — applications for the account managers, recruiters and sales teams.
What was your experience working with them on the client side?
I noticed how they treated their employees and liked what I saw. It just looked like a really cool company to work for.
When did you join Qualitest?
In July of 2018; to sum it up, I went from being a customer to becoming an employee.
How did you feel about Orasi being acquired by Qualitest?
To be honest, everything I liked about Orasi, are still the same things I see in Qualitest. With staffing companies, you’re just a resource, but that’s not how it is with Qualitest. Usually, the people at the top level, only come to you when they have a specific question, and that’s the only time you ever see them. But our senior management team always goes out of their way to make sure you feel like part of the family.
What are you working on now?
I support a major US insurance provider out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am paired with their senior QA manager. I lead of a fantastic team of more than 25 people.
Can you tell us about the work you are doing regarding their data?
In essence, what we are doing is migrating data from all their legacy systems and creating a HADOOP data lake. The developer team is moving those files from specific source locations to the data warehouse. We need to test if the data is correct, accurate and that’s is available when they expect it to be available.
There’s a type of transformation that happens to the data as it moves from point A to Point B. Once the data gets up to a certain level, which we call the consumption level, then business logic is applied to that data and that’s what allows us to use that data as either financial data or actuarial data.
What do you think of companies looking to leverage their big data?
A lot of companies are trying to use big data, but many are struggling to figure out how to migrate their data from legacy systems to less structured systems so that they can make better use of it. You’ve got all those pieces coming together. So, I think the future is going to involve figuring out what other data types are out there and just building on top of that. Also, how to gain better insight into the future by leveraging the data.
And regarding QA, what changes do you see in the road ahead?
A lot of organizations are moving towards SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) roles. I believe there will always be a need for functional testing. There’s going to be a stronger need for technical QA testing, where you utilize development skills. I also believe that having artificial intelligence or A.I. type of automation is going to be a big trend as well. At Qualitest we’ve already started to move in that direction.
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