1. What made you choose a career in Test?
I like the responsibility and pressure of being test. Test is like the defender and goal-keeper in the soccer game. When striker or mid-fielder make mistake, defender and goal-keeper will still have chance to save the team; but if defender or goal-keeper makes mistake, the team will lose points. It will be a huge pressure on test when test signoff is required for RTW/RTM. Although people don’t realize the value of defender and goal-keeper in most time, although striker and mid-fielder are under the spotlight and are the heroes in the most time, defender and goal-keeper still need to keep concentrated and do good job. Plus, every time when people find server bugs after release, everyone’s first question is always “why we didn’t find it” (actually, by "we", they mean “testers”). Testers must stay away from feeling frustrated and unprotected. Test also needs to do above and beyond to win people’s respect. PM could say “it’s done” once the functional specification is signed off; development could say “it’s done” once requirements are all implemented. But test could never say “I have found all the bugs”. Theoretically test would never know whether I had done enough testing. But in real practice, test has to make a call on whether the product is good to go. All those require testers great maturity, self-confidence and professionalism. It’s super challenging and I love something challenging.
2. How has Microsoft supported your career development?
Microsoft has huge amount of internal opportunities and operates all over the world. So I can try out different jobs and gain feeling with different cultures without changing employer. It’s particularly important to people who haven’t found his/her real interest. In my first three years in Microsoft, I have tried quite a few different roles: product support engineer, community specialist, training specialist, developer, testing, technical consultant, etc. After that, I found my real interest: test. Then I spend another three years on growing vertically in the testing discipline. It’s quite a luxury. I don’t think there are many companies in the world can offer such kind of opportunities to its employees and be so patient in waiting its talent to figure out the best fit. Plus, some of the experience and skill set that I have gained in the first three years are helping me now, for example, the presentation skill that I learned when I was training specialist and technical consultant; the customer-focus mindset and the skills of setting right expectation to customer and partners, etc.