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How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted QA engineers?

When the global pandemic hit and people started to quarantine, most organizations have gone remote, and no one really knows when employees will be able to be back in their offices. While some organizations’ employees have already been working remotely, many have struggled to adopt this new working style. For IT engineers, however, it is nothing new. They have been able to work from home once a week at least before the pandemic even started. I’d like to discuss the advantages of working fully remote as well as its disadvantages in this article. I also would like to address the problems that we may face while working from home as software QA engineers and the solutions for those.

One evident benefit to working from home is that it would help increase productivity. I am thankful that I no longer need to commute to work. As a resident of Istanbul, I used to spend three hours getting to work and coming back home before the pandemic, but now I can spare that time for myself, and it increases my motivation for work. Another advantage of WFH would be flexibility. Working on a flexible schedule allows us to have more control over our time schedule and boost our morale. As long as the work gets done, there is no need to set a time window of 9 to 5.

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks of remote work such as collaboration and too many meetings. Working from home might lead to ineffective communication and the overall collaboration efficiency will decrease. Some information can only be expressed clearly in face‐to‐face communications. In a video conference, you can only hear the voice, but you cannot really see other people’s facial expressions. The other disadvantage of WFH is having many long meetings. The reason for having longer meetings is that there is no meeting room restriction. When we were at our offices we needed to find and book a conference room and we had to finish on time. Because somebody else had the room. Internet connection is another factor in having longer meetings since one of the meeting participants loses their connection, we all need to wait for that person to reconnect and continue to the meeting.

When it comes to problems that the thousands of companies in the testing industry face, both small and big companies’ employees did not have the right equipment at home or they did not have access to high-speed internet. The companies were not prepared for this kind of scenario. Some companies are now distributing laptops to workers’ homes, but this is taking time. Besides, quality assurance teams coordinate with other team members every step of the way, and that was definitely easier to do when everybody was working at the same office. If you had a question or just wanted to discuss anything, you could easily arrange it in a matter of seconds. Because of the pandemic, now this needs to be done virtually via Zoom meetings or Microsoft Teams. That might cause different challenges such as there will be a poor internet connection or not everybody being able to understand everything that is being discussed during the meeting. However, this is something that we all have to learn to manage to keep ourselves safe and get the work done.

About a decade ago, testing was mostly manual. But in the last two years, automated testing, continuous testing, and security testing continue to grow. Before the pandemic, a lot of mobile testers were relying on physical devices; however, they’re now realizing they need access to a device remotely. I met with Momentum Suite at Mobven during the pandemic, and it has definitely helped me to automate test cases without using any physical device. Momentum Suite simply allowed me to access real devices on the cloud with a browser. It is great not only for mobile testing but also for WEB and API testing. In my opinion, Momentum Suite is an extremely useful tool order to automate test cases, record test steps and create test reports.

Even though there are some struggles remote workers may face, I believe working from home is a great adventure. We just need to find out how to best do the same work tasks at home. If this continues functioning the way it does, many companies would even start considering moving their QA team to a permanent ‘work from home’ basis which will also bring significant savings in office expenses in the long run.

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