Quality Assurance Recruitment Tips From Laura Boland

What is your background? Were you a coder or developer?

My background was in accounting and finance. I had no prior experience in IT or tech.

How did you end up working for Software Placements?

I didn’t want to stay in funds forever, so I had already been thinking about a new career. A friend of mine knew one of the directors and had informed me that Software Placements were looking to hire someone. I then did my research into what Recruitment was about and what it would take to be successful. I felt that it could have been something that my personality would be suited to, so I took the plunge and began my career in Recruitment. Thankfully it has paid off – with a lot down to perseverance.

Which area do you cover and what tips would you give to people looking to get started in the areas you are recruiting for?

My area of specialisation is QA (quality assurance) and automation testing.

For new graduates, I would say pick an area that you have a strength in. Whatever company you choose to work in, make sure it is within the technologies that you have a preference for – C#, Java, Ruby, etc. For example, if you have a preference with Automation Testing within QA then make sure the company you start with have an Automation team so you will get the suitable type of experience and training within this vertical. Whatever you do don’t rush into a position. It is important to do your research before accepting a position – technologies, the size of the team, progression, growth, etc.

What advice would you give for preparing for interviews and doing well in them?

It might seem obvious but do your research. See what the company does, and make sure you identify the relevant skill sets for the company that will be interviewing you. It’s important to come across as enthusiastic. The feedback I have received about candidates who are technically very strong was that they didn’t show enthusiasm. This can come across that you are not motivated. Therefore your technical ability can bring you only so far but you also need to have the likeability factor!

With CVs, look at dates and times. Make sure they all make sense and don’t leave things out. Accurate time frames are important. So too is spelling, grammar, and an easy to read layout.

What languages will continue to be in demand?

This will depend on the company. I believe it is very important to have automation experience and a strong development base. There is a massive drive on Software Developers in Test (SDET’s) at the minute. This would be candidates who cannot only write scripts in a language but can also develop automation frameworks. This has become increasingly more popular with the recent trend in companies shifting from the Agile approach to the Lean approach. Basically, clients now want their candidates who can develop right through to testing stage.

Java, C# and Python are probably the main Automation code in demand at the minute. Experience with testing tools such as Selenium is important as well. Experience with mobile testing tools, especially for apps and Android are also in high demand. Ruby is becoming a lot more prevalent for start-up companies so there has been a big surge in this also.

How hard is it to find good candidates?

It is quite hard. Automation is a relatively new concept for companies in Dublin (approx. 5 years), therefore there are not many Irish candidates who have extensive experience in this. As a result, we have to look overseas, often in EU, where Automation has been used for longer and there is more IT candidate available.

How much scope is there for remote working?

All good candidates are open to remote work, but not all clients are. Remote working is still quite a new concept here in Ireland. Maybe only 10% of companies are open to it, so it is not widely accepted. Established companies are not keen on this and this is still a challenge.

Most of the newer start-ups that have allowed for remote work have continued to use it. This shows that it has been successful for these companies who have adapted it.

Looking at current trends what type of jobs do you think will be in demand in the future?

Developers who can test and automate will be in high demand. Also those with mobile and API testing skills.

Will Ireland continue to be a place with lots of IT jobs?

I believe so. The combination of a low corporate tax and a highly skilled workforce will always attract companies to start up here.

In relation to attracting candidates to Ireland, there are pros and cons.

Geographically speaking Ireland is based in a great location that links us right in the middle between the US and Europe. We are an English speaking country as well, which is a big plus that appeals to companies and candidates alike.

The downside can be the cost of living – the price of rents have gotten pretty ridiculous.

Also, another con for candidates working here can be the weather.

What do you enjoy about working for Software Placements?

It’s quite a relaxed environment. We work hard and play hard. As it is a small boutique agency there is somewhat of a family feel in here. Though recruitment is sometimes very tough the people in here support you and are very encouraging.

What do you do for fun – something tech related or completely untech related?

Since joining Software Placements, I have been attending the Dublin Beta Start-Up event, which we sponsor. I found this really interesting as it was quite motivating seeing new ideas being pitched and seeing the new trends being pitched from some of the sharpest brains in the industry.

Some companies that originally pitched at this event have gone on to great success, e.g. CurrencyFair, Newswhip and Soundwave (recently purchased by Spotify). I find this to be particularly inspiring.

Anything to add?

Yes, there seems to be a steady increase in the number of females in IT. There is definitely a higher percentage of females working in IT in other areas of the EU but I think Ireland is catching up. I would encourage more young girls to go into this area as it is a career where there is always a high demand with competitive salaries.

Attending CoderJo workshops in your local area from a young age can be a real help in finding out if IT is for you. A free service well worth availing of.


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