Meet DevMountain’s Software QA Instructional Staff

At QA bootcamp, DevMountain students have the opportunity to learn how to test code through working on real projects that they can add to their portfolios. They also have the opportunity to work closely with a team of QA testers who have real-world experience.

We wanted to make an introduction to our Software QA Instructional Staff since our students become close with them while they’re taking their Software QA Course.

See below to meet the team!

Meet AJ Larson. He’s our Software QA Lead Instructor.

How AJ got into QA

I sort of fell into QA. I’d been working technical support for a cell phone company while going to school for software development. I wanted to get my foot into the door of the industry and I really wanted to get out of the call center. A friend of mine suggested that I try applying for a QA position at a company he used to work for. I gave it a shot, figuring that when I already worked for the company I could transfer over to development pretty easily.

It surprised me how well my tech support and customer service skills transferred over to quality assurance. The interview went really well and a few weeks later I had a job offer! I had even told my new boss that I was planning on going into development after I graduated a year from then, and I still got the offer. The on-the-job training was pretty rough, but I was testing an interesting product and working with fun people.

A year later, after enjoying the QA work more than I’d expected, I was looking around for dev positions when my boss called me into his office. I’d been doing so well in QA, above and beyond his expectations that he offered me a promotion to Lead QA if I would stick around. It was a great offer, and it was really fulfilling that my success was recognized. Add to that the fact that I was having fun, and I stuck with QA! No regrets.

AJ’s experience working in QA and why he loves it

QA is always changing. Every new project, every new platform, every new version, there is always something new to look at. There are days when I’ve been testing the same features over and over that can be a little boring, but those days come few and far between. More often I get to figure out how to break new things, new systems, all the time!

I’ve always loved code, too; that’s why my plan was to initially go into development. Honestly though, I was never the best designer and had a rough time making pretty software. I’m sure I would have improved with practice, but one of the great things about QA is that I get to write code, create tests and test frameworks that get used ALL the time in our testing, and it’s fun! I get the joy of code, without the pressure of perfect designs every time.

That brings me to the biggest reason I love QA. There aren’t many positions in the software industry where the work life balance is so favorable. There were only a handful of weeks in the years working in the industry that I worked more than 40 hours. There were a lot of weeks where I worked most days from home. Some QA positions will require overtime, or not allow for remote work, but most of the other QA analysts and engineers I’ve spoken with agree: QA is a great space to work in where you can leave your work at work and enjoy living your life.

Why AJ loves teaching QA

Teaching was always a dream of mine. I’m actually really close to having all the credits for a history degree; the plan had been I would be a history professor eventually. Life doesn’t always match up to our plans. Still, I grew up watching my dad teaching English at the local high school, and knew that teaching was something I would love.

In QA, I started to love training my new employees, and I knew that on the job training was really lacking in the industry as a whole. When DevMountain approached me about formalizing QA training into a bootcamp format, I leapt at the opportunity. Not only could I teach, but I’d be teaching something I knew and loved!

What AJ does when he’s not testing

I’m a nerd and a geek! I love watching sci-fi movies, and you’ll often find me with my nose in a fantasy novel. I’ve even been known to enjoy DM-ing and playing tabletop RPGs, as well as MMORPGs.

My kids share my love of gaming, and we’ll spend hours playing together, and my wife and I spend many nights streaming things like Brooklyn Nine-Nine or rom-coms. We have a bit of a menagerie at home, too: two cats, a dog, and a tank full of fish. And, we love taking our pup for long walks and out camping.

Okay, now meet Andrew Call. He’s one of our QA mentors.

How Andrew go into QA

I got into QA for the same reason most of you probably are: I wanted a change of pace. I was doing the college thing and got burnt out. Then I received a recommendation for DevMountain from a family member, and here I am!

Andrew’s experience working in QA and why he loves it

QA is awesome for many reasons, but this one sums it up for me: I get to break stuff and tell others to fix it.

Why Andrew loves teaching QA

I love teaching other people how to do this, because whenever you break anything on purpose it puts a smile of your face and I love to see that. Then people getting jobs and having great success is also very uplifting.

What Andrew does when he’s not testing

I’m a nerd through and through and proud of it. I love sci fi and fantasy, reading, watching, listening, and playing with friends. I hope you guys are pumped for QA. I know I am!

So there you go. There’s an introduction to some of the staff that our students work with.

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