Q&A with Elsa Perez, Test Manager

As Test Manager, Elsa is responsible for working “with the development and integration team to help with testing/QA to ensure quality and user requirements are met with the software we deliver.” 

How long have you worked in the IT industry? 

I’ve always worked in the IT industry after my university graduation three decades ago. 

How did you get started in IT or what drew you into IT?  

Being a Computer Science graduate, it’s only natural that I looked for a job that is IT related. For six months I started as a Data Encoder, which requires certain speed and accuracy (without looking at the keyboard) in entering a bunch of numbers for JV accounting. From there, my IT career has progressed into different roles including a short stint in process improvement (Six Sigma).  

Although I’ve worked in various industries, I’ve always been part of their IT team and the majority, if not all of their computer systems are maintained and supported by the IT people. As an IT consultant, I’m lucky to have been involved in projects in telecommunications, banking, energy, education, agriculture, etc and have learned a lot from each. The opportunities are really endless.

I think being in IT has given me an unique opportunity and there’s never been a dull moment for me. I love the excitement of learning new stuff (business or tech stack stuff) and the feeling of accomplishment when the team delivers something that the customer is happy about. The best part is I get to work with and learn from talented people.

How many roles have you had at Fronde? 

We don’t have many testers in Fronde so I often have to roll up my sleeves and join the fun. I’ve done various hands-on roles in the software testing space - Test Lead, Senior TA, and TA/Automation Tester.  I’ve been involved with various projects in MPI, MOE, FarmIQ, NZCER,TEC, GTL, Stuff Limited, EPL and currently in the Flux Federation project.

What do you remember from your first few days at Fronde?

I remember walking into our old office in Queen’s Wharf where almost all the teams were having their standup meetings, complete with boards/walls with sticky notes of ‘To Do’, ‘In Progress’, and ‘Done’ columns.  I also remember the kitchen area where we had a ping pong table and where my youngest daughter used to wait for me and enjoy talking to some of the team.

What do you enjoy about working at Fronde?  

Working nine years and counting with Fronde is proof that so far, I like working here. I like the diversity of projects, the good culture, I like that we follow agile principles and have work-life balance in the workplace. I guess continuous learning in the workplace has contributed a lot, too.  At my age, this is a very difficult thing to sustain and being tapped to work on new projects gives me that motivation to continue learning.

What attracted you initially, and what makes you stay?

I wanted to learn and work in a company that adopts new emerging technologies but my workload and schedule did not provide me with that opportunity, that’s why I resigned from my previous job and planned to do full-time study for my postgraduate studies. However, as I have discovered after a few weeks, it’s not easy to work on your papers without access to a company for some references, so I decided to apply for work while I continued my studies. At the time, Fronde was known in IT circles as an early adopter of cloud technologies and it was what attracted me initially to join Fronde in 2013.

I’m originally from the Philippines and migrated to NZ in 2008.  I was hired directly by EDS NZ from the Philippines as a Test Specialist. I also worked with HP NZ and Telecom New Zealand as Test Manager before joining Fronde NZ in 2013.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given over your career? 

Avoid becoming irrelevant.

What technologies have had the greatest impact on your life, both personally and professionally?

When I compare the technologies when I was starting to what we have now, I think it has really evolved a lot. Some examples: we used to store and read manuals/books for instructions, now we can do it online. We used to borrow VCD/DVD for watching movies online, we now have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Channel, etc. Mobile phones allow you to access your mails, attend video meetings, take photos/videos, share these memories and stay connected with your families and friends even when they are in a different part of the world.

Do you have any predictions for the industry?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)  technology (one that can learn on its own) is still evolving and may be the next big thing for the coming years.

Have you experienced major life events during your time at Fronde?  

I had a major operation in 2017 and was off from work for 4.5 months.  Fronde management was very supportive of me and made me feel welcome when I came back to work after my recovery.

Who inspires you? Why?

I think people with integrity are the best.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself outside of work?

I love travelling with my family, visiting new places, tasting foods, taking loads of photos and watching movies (cinema and at home). With friends, I love weekend gatherings,sharing life’s ups and downs and relaxing. I love visiting shops, grocery stores, malls, and even online shopping. As a new hobby, I started collecting indoor and outdoor plants. I also love to collect bonsai trees but this may wait a bit until I know how to properly take care of them.