Why it’s Possible to Love Shoes and IT!

Hey, my name is Cat, I’m 23 (nearly 24) and I work in the IT team as a Test Analyst, in a ‘micro-team’ of 2 testers (myself, and my Test Manager). Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘Wow that sounds boring, just another IT geek doing stuff we don’t understand’. Well, I’m going to tell you why that’s not true!

So what do I do? Well, I basically ‘test’ the website and system to make sure it works properly, so whenever our developers add something new, or fix something that was broken, I make sure it is fixed or works in the correct way before it goes onto the Live website. Sounds easy? Well, it does, but it’s actually quite involved as you can’t just say ‘Yep, it works’ you have to make sure it doesn’t break anything else, make sure it works across different systems and Internet browsers and make sure it doesn’t do anything funny on the underside of things (such as in the database). I am the first point of contact if a customer finds an error on the website. Obviously we try to minimise this but we are only human and may have missed it or, it could be one we know about that the ‘Devs’ haven’t been able to fix yet – but you can always let us know just in case! I also help with databases and am starting to learn SQL (a language to use on databases), but that’s another story!

Most people think of IT as something geeky, something you need a complicated degree in using ‘Java’, and where the people enjoy playing World of Warcraft and hanging out in Games Workshop for fun. THIS IS A LIE! I don’t have a degree, I hated college, and I have a serious addiction to high heeled shoes and designer handbags (Radley is my preference!).

So I went out to work in retail, then got my job here at Virgin Wines back in October 2009 working as a Customer Service representative. I really enjoyed it (I even met my Fiance here!) and as time went on, I worked hard and was given more responsibility. Then, back in early 2011, I was asked if I’d like to help IT with testing the new website ready for it’s revamp in July 2011. I jumped at the chance to learn something new and found I loved it, even more so than working in Customer Service. I started doing it more and more, until I was doing more testing than Customer Services work. This continued for over a year, until, in July 2012, I was promoted and became a full time IT tester!

I started learning more until I was given the opportunity to attend a Software Testing course. So with most things in IT I was thrown in at the deep-end and started a double testing course in January this year, combining the ISEB Foundation and Intermediate course in Software Testing into one.

I was so nervous at spending a week on my own in London, but even though I was really enjoying the job and felt I was quite good at it, I felt a bit of a fraud, like someone was going to say to me ‘just kidding! You’re not really good enough to be in IT’. The course itself was really intense, including the 2 exams at the end of the week. I was 100% convinced I had failed and was a nervous wreck until this past Saturday, the 2nd February, when I came home to find a big, A4 ‘Do not bend’ envelope in the post…. I ripped it open… and ‘Dear Miss Landin, Congratulations on passing the Foundation’ and another one, ‘Dear Miss Landin, Congratulations on passing the Intermediate’ I had done it! I’d passed! I was a qualified Test Analyst!

So that’s my story. IT is actually pretty cool, you only have to see our stash of secret santa gifts to know that is the case! None of the team (as far as I’m aware) play World of Warcraft and it is actually, really fun to work with them!

Catherine Landin, Test Analyst


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