Workhuman’s Ben Klassen talks about his experience as a software tester, how things have changed and what he enjoys most about his role.
At Workhuman, Ben Klassen’s role as a software tester is to make the existing technology stack within the company more testable and observable.
It aims to improve the speed and reliability of existing automated test harnesses and to apply modern testing tools and techniques.
“These allow our manual testers to perform better tool-assisted exploratory testing and reduce tedious work,” he said.
“It’s a long-term, multi-pronged approach that works in collaboration with our technology teams. “
“Asking questions to shed light on forgotten corners is a basic skill of testers”
– BEN KLASSEN
If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day at work?
I think I can say on behalf of everyone at Workhuman that no two days are the same. I am extremely grateful to have such autonomy in my role in such a fast-paced environment.
I can work within my team to organize practice testing sessions and help other testers plan their work, or build cross-functional relationships by explaining what modern testing looks like, dispelling myths, and presenting new ideas.
What types of projects are you working on?
My main project is with the team that is building the latest generation of our social recognition platform. It is a user-friendly web tool that allows our clients’ employees to recognize themselves publicly and to attach a tangible price to this public message.
I love working on our social recognition product because we are creating a better future for the workplace and beyond. Our technology benefits the lives of over 5 million users worldwide by keeping them connected and feeling appreciated at work. Being involved in the development of this platform is extremely rewarding.
What skills do you use on a daily basis?
I am a geek at heart. Querying APIs and transforming data with modern Linux tools is part of my job.
Negotiation is another vitally important skill. One of our core values at Workhuman is “respect for all” and I believe it is essential to give others a voice so that diverse voices are heard. Asking questions to shed light on forgotten corners is a basic skill of the tester.
What’s the hardest part of your workday?
Working virtually currently poses its own difficulties. It can be difficult to manage time during the day for focused work and not be distracted by Slack messages or zoom calls, while making sure you maintain that connectivity with other team members and parties. stakeholders.
Nonverbal cues are also harder to capture on video, which means we need to be proactive in asking for feedback and making sure our message gets across.
Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the workday?
Our WHFit Interest Group has kept us all active for the past 15 months, so I highly recommend you take a walk and get some fresh air. Besides promoting physical health, it gives you some space to overcome some mental knots and makes you think more creatively.
Sometimes in my team we make informal calls as we walk and it definitely helps us stay connected while taking care of ourselves and our health. Other tips I would have would be to set aside hours in your calendar for in-depth work, quit Slack and Outlook, and step away from the computer and jot down diagrams with pen and paper.
How has your role changed as this industry has grown and evolved?
I have been involved in software testing since 1996, so I saw a lot of developments during that time. In the 1990s, there was very little automated testing. The extreme programming revolution around 2000 brought development testing to the fore in the form of unit testing.
We testers, as a professional class, took a long time to adapt and made some terrible choices as we learned to use automated tools to fill in the gaps left by unit testing.
Despite advances in tooling, there has not been a corresponding degree of improvement in the synthesis or sophistication of testing thinking. It’s better than before, but there is still a gap between how testing is perceived by non-testers, such as developers and managers, and how it is actually performed on a daily basis.
Today testers have the opportunity to improve the way we explain the performative and qualitative aspects of the work we do.
The purpose of automated testing is not to build robust test harnesses (this is a necessary requirement, but not sufficient), it is to quickly determine if there are any issues in the system that will cause it to fail, in a subtle or spectacular way.
What do you like most about the job?
What I appreciate most about this job is the extraordinarily open, collaborative and supportive interaction I have on a daily basis with my peers and teammates. I can be sure that everyone I interact with at Workhuman has a common goal of growing our business and making the workplace more human.
Of course, there are some long-standing challenges to be resolved, which are exciting and complex. As we evolve we update our tech stack, so making inroads into them to make them more understandable, transparent, and testable can seem like a real victory.
We practice radical openness. Workhuman has teams of people, some of whom started yesterday and some of whom have been here for a decade or since our inception.
There is an exceptional level of institutional knowledge available, coupled with an appetite for taking calculated risks to make the radical changes needed to adapt our architecture to support the volume of growth that is occurring.
A young developer, when encountering a door in front, may be inclined to sweep it, but at Workhuman there are wiser heads that can explain exactly why that door is there. It’s a tremendous superpower to have these perspectives available simultaneously, and I think we’re doing a great job of synthesizing to meet our goals of creating value for the business while protecting our existing investments.