Thinking outside the box

Andrew Burnip, Automation Test Analyst
I joined the NHSBSA’s Technology Test team 6 months ago as an Automation Test Analyst following on from a career at British Airways. There, I worked to help shape a global test strategy for their reservation system before moving onto a developer role to help build the system. After 18 years of working for British Airways, I decided I fancied a change and came across the NHSBSA. I met with Neil Dodds who showed me around and introduced me to something utterly alien to me; Automation Testing.

Testers have to think outside of the box, if the sale starts on the 10th what happens on the 9th? Will it work on the 11th? Should it? It’s our job to think of every possible scenario which is a time consuming but essential process. Automation Testing means that this can be done automatically and testers write code using Java and Selenium to achieve this.

Learning about the two coding systems was quite an intense process and I needed to spend a couple of months doing research, as well being practical and writing real code that navigates the web.

Since joining, I’ve been given lots of opportunities to develop my skills and gain a deeper understanding of automation, including participating in a bespoke course at Opencast and delivering presentations and written frameworks other testers will use. I work alongside a supportive team of other testers who respect my contributions and feel intrinsic to the success of the team in the short space of 6 months.

The NHSBSA provides the opportunities to develop new skills and create a meaningful career with genuine progression. Self-development is essential to the role and time is made available to allow that, you’re supported every step of the way which maximises your potential. If that resonates with you, then I wouldn’t hesitate in joining us.

Neil Dodds, Lead QA and Automation Tester
Hi, I’m Neil and I am the lead Quality Assurance and Automation Tester in Technology Applications. I’ve been with the NHSBSA for almost 17 years, 7 of those working in the Test team. My role to begin with was essentially to co-ordinate User Acceptance Testing (UAT), making sure that the software worked for the user and supported day to day user and business scenarios.

As the department changed and moved with the times, I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to work alongside one of our newly appointed Automation Test Leads. This allowed me the opportunity to start carrying out automation testing for a new system and to learn the whole process behind this.

I don’t come from an IT background and have never done any programming so when I was told I would be using Cucumber and Java I did wonder if I was being moved to catering! However through coaching I got to understand enough to be able to support a project in its automated testing.

I have helped to shape the Test Community of Practice (CoP) and actively sought to keep this community going and meeting regularly. I’ve had the chance to work closely with Chris Lockie (Lead QA and Automation Tester for Digital) and became actively involved in the Recruitment process with the aim of bringing in more resources in to the Test area.

Following this, an opportunity arose to join the team to become the Lead QA and Automation Tester where I continue to work closely with Chris and use transferable skills from being a manual tester and developer. We pride ourselves in having an established set of standards which are followed by the Testing area to ensure there is always a collaborative and consistent message from the Test community.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, make sure to keep an eye on our current vacancies here.