International Women’s Day is March 8 – a day to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination, and take action to drive gender parity. This week, we’re putting a spotlight on just a few of the women inside Ubisoft Winnipeg and the work they do.
QA Programmer Poliana Vieira tells us about when QA actually starts, and what happens when she finds bugs in her spare time!
So tell me – what does a QA programmer do?
A QA programmer is a part of QA where the main focus is to bring automation and program things that will help with the QA process! It helps us have better quality and a better process of testing for the game or the system we are working with.
You mentioned automation – when some people think of QA, they think of people in there looking for bugs. Where does automation come in?
The main idea is to get important flows of usage of the game and try to automate them. A real person can always go much deeper than automation, but it helps us on repetitive tasks, and times when we have changes we need to have immediate feedback on.
When we have a project that is getting bigger and bigger, there’s a lot of validation we need to do. It’s common that once the project is growing, we focus a little more on the new things that we need for the project. Automation is really helpful to the quality of the game in general because changes can affect things that were stable for a long time, and if no one is going back and testing that, we’d have a problem!
You’re programmers, but also part of QA. Do you think of yourself as a programmer first or a member of QA first?
A member of our QA for sure. It’s important support to the quality of the project – when we’re talking about games I think it’s crucial.
Have you ever played a game and come across something and thought “I would have caught that”?
YES! [laughs] Yes, I have. When I’m playing for fun, sometimes I can see situations where the player is stuck and as QA I just go “Oh my god, the BUG!”
Is it hard to turn off that part of your work brain and enjoy it, or are you always looking for bugs?
No, I’m not always looking for bugs, I can enjoy the game a little more. I think that for game testers, it’s a little harder because they play much more! I try not to have it in mind. The ones where a player can’t progress bother me the most.
When does the QA process actually start?
People have seen that if we start early the results are much better. So starting at the conception of the project, it’s important to think about strategies, to think about risks, to think early about what can be done to improve the game quality and things that maybe will cause problems. So QA process is essential from the beginning of the project. I think the industry as a whole sees how important it is – that it’s something to think about now, not something to save till the end – and definitely not less important than any other aspects of our project!
What’s the best part of your job?
Seeing the game I’m working on growing – seeing how people are caring even more about quality, and taking decisions to make it even better. Being able to introduce new tests, getting great feedback – I’m really happy seeing the game growing and participating in this process.