Team Stories: Simon Tabram, Senior Test Engineer

Team Stories: Simon Tabram, Senior Test Engineer


18 May 2023 - 6 min read

Team Stories: Simon Tabram, Senior Test Engineer

What was your background before joining Audacia?

I began my career in software testing immediately after leaving sixth form, when I joined a start-up company in Cambridge. Since then I have worked at a number of organisations in industries including healthcare and digital marketing. 

On the lookout for a new opportunity, a current Audacia employee who I had worked with previously recommended that I enquired with Audacia. I got in touch and was really happy to get a quick response requesting me for an interview. After rounds of interviewing, I got offered a job shortly after. 

This all came at a busy time for me, as I was also welcoming the birth of my second child.  

However, Audacia was very understanding of my situation and supported me in starting my new position. 

I was kindly invited to attend a QA catch-up meeting a week before I started. I also joined the team for a meal afterwards, which was a nice way to get to know everyone and learn more about the company culture.

What projects have you worked on?

Since joining Audacia, I have had the opportunity to work on several interesting projects. Previously my experience had been working with companies who just focused on one product, where it had been a case of testing one piece of software and then releasing functionality for that software. At Audacia it's a bit more fast paced and the types of projects you work on vary across industries and organisations. 

I've found this to be a nice change, as it stops things getting stale. Being able to take on new challenges regularly is a great experience as you really get to build on what you've done before. You naturally reflect on your experiences from past projects and think about how you can improve upon something in the future.

The first project I worked on was with a facilities services company, testing a system to manage booking requests. This project provided a good introduction to the company's work culture and I learned a lot about test automation and how we write tests, while also building on my skill set in manual testing. 

Prior to joining Audacia, I had no experience with test automation, but through the support of senior colleagues, I have been able to learn API automation and UI automation testing.

Currently, I am working on a project with a nationwide holiday park operator. This project is different from other Audacia projects because the client only requires our QA resources. Myself and two other software testers have been using our experience working with various types of testing to expand testing guidelines and reporting. We have also been handling all of the in-house testing for the project teams. During this project, we have had the opportunity to study and implement Playwright, a testing automation tool.

What new technologies have you used? 

Before joining Audacia, my testing experience was mainly manual testing using test plans on Azure DevOps and similar technologies. I had only used automation tools such as Postman to fire off API requests. However, my time at Audacia has exposed me to several new technologies, which has allowed me to expand my skill set.

For instance, I have been using the API framework in Visual Studio to conduct API tests, as well as the Cypress framework for UI testing and Playwright for automation testing. Additionally, I have used JMeter for performance and load testing and OWASP ZAP for security testing. Even though these were all new tools to me, I was able to quickly and effectively pick them up with only a few training sessions.

What opportunities for progression have you had? 

I have had great opportunities for progression at Audacia. In past companies, I would hear about promotion opportunities, but they often did not come to fruition, or the process of setting goals and following up on them was not robust. 

However, at Audacia, we have a structured appraisal round and regular meetings with our career managers. This process is not only helpful for personal growth but also beneficial for new employees who can rely on their career manager as a mentor and point of contact for any questions they may have. The human interaction during these meetings is essential as it allows us to discuss where we can progress and identify our strengths and areas that might require improvement.

Complementing this are the competencies Audcia has outlined for each role. This framework provides a clear path to work towards, and I use any feedback that I receive from appraisals and career manager meetings to set achievable goals.

How have you found the culture at Audacia?

I have found the culture at Audacia to be very positive and different from other companies I've worked for. The key word that comes to mind is transparency. There is no overwhelming sense of a hierarchical structure between senior management, managers and project managers. We have month-end meetings and post updates on Team channels about changes in software, new hires and other general updates.

Plus everyone I’ve worked with on projects has been great. There's a friendliness and helpfulness among colleagues that makes it easy to ask questions and get help when needed. Everyone is willing to lend a hand, even if you haven't worked together before.

As a software tester, I’ve found the culture among software testers to also be quite different from my previous experiences in the best way possible. Previously, I had always been the only QA on a project at other companies I worked for.

However, at Audacia there’s always great opportunities to learn from others and share my own experiences and knowledge. The Testing Teams channel is a valuable resource, allowing us to ask questions, bounce ideas off each other, and learn from different perspectives.

In our regular QA catch-ups we can see demos of other systems and projects and stay up-to-date on the progress of ongoing work. Given the current popularity of remote work, I think it's especially important to have these opportunities to build relationships with colleagues and feel connected to the team.

What is the favourite part of your role? 

My favourite part of my role is definitely the people. It's great to come into work and be surrounded by individuals who genuinely care about me and what I'm doing. Whether it's asking about my day, my family, or how I'm feeling, it makes for a much more positive work environment. 

It's rewarding to have colleagues who are interested in my work and the projects I'm working on, and who provide feedback and support when needed. 

As a parent, I also just wanted to emphasise how beneficial it is having flexible start and end times that accommodate childcare responsibilities. I am grateful for the understanding and professional support that Audacia shows for parents like myself. 

Audacia is a leading software development company based in the UK, with headquarters in Leeds. Find out more about what it's like to work here and our current open vacancies on our careers site.

Audacia Careers

Ebook Available

How to maximise the performance of your existing systems

Free download