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Community Spotlight Presents Rajesh Mathur

  • 26/07/2013
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The Community Spotlight is a feature on the EuroSTAR Blog which brings to focus those who matter in software testing industry in Europe – you, the members of the EuroSTAR Community!

We want to give you the chance to get to know more about your peers throughout Europe and share your own experiences, career highlights and some fun facts with the testing community by taking our Community Spotlight interview.

This Community Spotlight features Rajesh Mathur, Rajesh is a speaker at the 2013 EuroSTAR Conference, he will be giving a Track Session on ‘Testing in a Challenging Environment’. Rajesh is currently living in Hong Kong working for Cathay Pacific Airways.

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1.Name

Rajesh Mathur (I am also known as “Ra” for it represents Egyptian Sun God ‘Amun-Ra”)

2.Where are you from?

Originally from India, but I currently live in Hong Kong. I am an Australian Permanent Resident and have lived in USA and UK as well. Couple weeks ago Michael Bolton asked me if I were a fugitive running around from one country to another.

3.Where do you work?

I work at Hong Kong’s flagship airline Cathay Pacific Airways. I love the culture here, not just Cathay Pacific, but Hong Kong in all. It is the international hub for Asia and gives me plenty of opportunities to fly around the world. At the same time, my work throws challenging yet interesting assignments at me for managing testing for highly technical aircraft engineering projects, or flight operations project; or somewhat simpler Cargo related projects. So far, it has been an interesting journey.

 

4. Can you tell us how you got involved in testing?

It is in fact a funny story. It was mid-90s when I started working with a small software shop as software developer/ designer. I also used to do web designing in my free time and was trying to make an extra buck. I barely used to complete my development work, but I was good at designing, reviewing other’s code and finding issues in them. We did not have testers that time and developers used to do unit tests as well as peer review. My then supervisor recognized my talent of finding problems in others’ work and asked me if I wanted to do some testing. I hardly had any idea of what testing was, except then a chapter that I studied in Computer Science Text Book. Luckily I was able to borrow ‘The Art of Software Testing’ from someone for a short period of time and read it quickly. Sadly I could not afford to buy this book then. However, Myers influenced my career choice and I became a full time testers.

5. How many times have you been to EuroSTAR?

This is my first time to EuroSTAR after a long wait of many years. Precisely since 2007. If I remember correctly I met Michael Bolton first time in 2006 and since then I have been following his website and blog. His work also influenced my interest for testing. He presented at EuroSTAR 2007 and I wanted to be there, but during those days either I did not have money or did not have time to attend many conferences. For some reason Europe has always been a little out of my reach even when I was living in England. The dream has come true this time, though.

6. What’s your favourite hobby?

I have more than one hobby indeed. I like reading, singing or fixing old electronic gadgets or my son’s broken toys while listening to music. But I’d say that reading and listening to music give me more pleasure than other activities.

7. What would you have been if you weren’t involved in testing?

Ha Ha, this is a bit difficult question. I think if I were not a tester, I would have continued my poor coding work. No, hang on; the poor code could have got me fired. So, I think I would have been a teacher if I were not here. During my college days I also worked as a part-time radio-jockey. So I would have become a full time RJ or a voice-over artist.

8. Have you any advice to give to a young tester or someone just starting their testing career?

Educate yourself. Education brings empowerment. Follow blogs of established testers. Do not try to gain knowledge from websites which do not provide authentic advice. Do not assume while testing; testers are supposed to question, not assume. Read lot of books because they help make the foundation stronger. Testing is a cognitive process, hence work on strengthening critical thinking ability. Network with other testers, attend conferences or local testing groups. If there are none, create your own group. Learn the craft of testing.

9. If you could do a project with one other tester/developer/programmer who would it be?

Another difficult question! There are so many people who I would like to work with or have already worked with, so couldn’t say who it would be. In actual fact this is pretty much context-driven. Depends largely on when, where, what type of project, in which position I am working, whether I am a fellow testers or a usual manager affecting their morale (obviously positively). The answer is, depends!

10. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you like to have with you?

I would like to have few books so that I can read them in peace; a survival guide so that I can survive until I get rescued and something to connect me to the world so that I can call for help. A strong knife would be an added advantage.

11. What is your favourite motivational quote?

“A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” Not my favorite one, but I like the optimism in this quote.

12. What has been your biggest software testing challenge so far?

There have been few. There was one almost a decade ago when I dealt with the most political people whose sole interest was to ship the product, no matter what shape the product was in. I still remember when I was asked whether the product can be shown to an electronics giant in the Netherlands. I strongly recommended against it because that product had more bugs than an ant hill has. The suggestion was ignored and the product was presented to the client. And in the middle of the presentation a critical bug appeared with a message,”General Exception Error…”. Rest of the story is obvious. But this assignment helped me strengthen my soft skills, confidence, bug reporting (because others always tried to refute the bugs), exploratory testing skills (because they gave me plenty of opportunities to find newer bugs in the same code).
I believe that testers job is much more than just testing. We face more challenges in dealing with people, processes, politics and adjusting to organizational culture.

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