Rebecca Williams has over 20 years’ experience working in Test related roles for a number of top-tier organizations, predominantly across Financial Services.
For the past years, she has worked for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Services, heading up the Global Testing Services and now as a Test Engineering Manager.
Rebecca will be part of the judging panel of the European Software Testing Awards 2021.
Can you introduce yourself and your current role?
My name is Rebecca Williams and I work for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).
I was the Head of Global Testing Services, but my current role has changed this year and I am now Test Engineering Manager. We had an IT transformation and we’re moving into a more product-based organization. I’m responsible for all the testing across all the various products. It’s all types of testing – functional and non-functional, product testing and release testing, etc.
What inspired you to get involved in the IT industry?
I guess it was a bit by chance. I did a degree in Modern Languages & Information Systems, so I studied French and German with IT. Then, I left university not really knowing what to do and I ended in IT. So, it was by chance, but this is where I stayed. I worked a lot in financial services and more recently, into insurance.
I started testing right at development, so my first job was office manager for a small software house, and I did some courses and developing junior roles. Then, I went into test automation and kept moving from there. That is what got me into testing and IT.
What made you want to become a judge for the European Software Testing Awards?
I hadn’t really thought about it to be honest. One day, I received an email about it, and I decided to do it. I did it last year and it was really interesting to see how other people are doing things. To know how they are using the tools and the technology in testing. You get the opportunity to look at things differently and get a real insight into what other people are doing.
What are you looking for when judging the entries?
I think some of them just really stand out. Of course, when you’re judging a category, you’re looking into specific points and how they are using the technology. But some of them are really showing a passion in how they apply things. I did the graduate category last year and you could see that some are really going up and above. You can see the passion.
It’s also all about giving concrete examples. Not just having the theoretical aspect but how they apply it, what they get out of it, what is the feedback. So, I am looking for these kinds of concrete examples that show that they really understand their project.
You want to see the success of the project. You want to see the end goal and the value of the project.
What are you looking forward to the most in this year’s awards?
Getting out of the house! Of course, it’s really interesting to see all the entries and see what’s going on but it would be good to experience the networking side of it. Especially after being so isolated.
When you are in the same room as other judges, it’s easier to talk about the entries and have an actual conversation. Last year, everything was online so you had no one else to debate with. There’s no questioning each other, asking why what they did was good or not. It’s definitely missing. It would be really nice to be able to actually discuss things.
How to keep your team motivated despite challenges and hardship?
I have a global team, so I don’t really see all of my team on a day-to-day basis. But we try to keep our team meetings quite upbeat. We always start with swapping stories and how we are getting on.
To keep them motivated, you need to try and match the challenges to the people. It’s about finding what interests them, matching their interest to the task. Finding something that they can really engage with is a challenge but it’s essential. They need to find something to get their teeth stuck into and that they will want to learn about. It’s finding out what they want to do and give them work that matches that, otherwise they’ll get bored and it’s a waste.
What are you the proudest of in your career so far?
I wouldn’t say that there is only one thing. I’ve been working now for 20+ years in all sorts of companies and across the world and there’s nothing that really stands out. I just think I’m prouder of persevering through the tough times. I’ve been made redundant and I’ve moved on from it. I prefer seeing it as a positive than a setback.
It’s about being able to keep going and tackling new challenges with a positive attitude.
What has been your greatest challenge?
There’s been a lot of challenges along the way. Moving with new technology and a new mindset, especially now as testing is changing a lot. To be able to adapt and keep up to date as technology evolves. The challenge for me has been to keep moving with time.
What is the favorite part of your job?
The people. I like mentoring team members, helping them overcome challenges. I like dealing with people. When you can coach someone in your team and see them growing, it’s amazing. I really enjoy the people side and developing relationships.
Finally, do you have any advice for this year’s participants?
Thinking through the submissions and making them relatable. Relating to concrete examples and really thinking about how it was done, what were the benefits, etc. Thinking about a way to see the project concretely. Know what you did to make it successful.
To participate in the Awards, click HERE.