(This is an aggregate of real conversations, with real people in the firmware team – just under a made-up persona for reasons of shyness).
“We get to be the very first to test any new feature that is to be released on a product. We make sure it is going to deliver what the company thinks it should – which is also what our customers want. I get to have the very first ‘taste’ of it and help shape what it will finally become.”
The firmware test team is a diverse bunch of around 15 players. We range in age from 21 to well over 60, with a strong 30% female representation and nationalities ranging from Indian, to Chinese, Sri Lankan and a couple of Kiwis as well. Amongst this diversity is real unity as a team and a passion for what we do.
There are multiple layers of software that sit on our Outdoor Payment Terminal (OPT) products. Firmware is the first layer followed by middleware, applications and cloud. As a firmware tester we get to touch the product at its lowest level and in doing our job to its highest level, we are able to give those who work on the layers above absolute confidence in the product and what they’re doing.
“I came from a Cloud test environment but now I am testing new functionality in hardcore embedded firmware – and loving it. In the test team we are on an endless learning curve – developing the very latest in payment products – and we take real pride in what we do.”
We work largely in Java and get involved with a range of testing across SocketTAL, Native Interface testing and certification for PCI. What we do is absolutely critical to getting the OPT certified so it can execute financial transactions, delving into cryptography, Secret Keys and Public Keys. While some of our team are deployed on manual testing, most of what we do is automated using tools such as PUTTY, WireShark, N-Map and MIST.
Before lunch and learn
One of the great initiatives we have as a team is joining with all the other Invenco testers once a month for a “before lunch and learn” session. This is an hour-long coming together to learn about a specialist topic so we can all expand our horizons and learn new things that we can then deploy. We take it in turns to lead the session – with everyone choosing a topic of interest and investing the time to learn enough about it to lead the group. We all look forward to these sessions – it is something unique and quite special.
“I get to work with the other great minds we have at Invenco on a daily basis. Everyone from solutions architects through to cryptographic experts are here to empower us in what we do. As testers we feel really connected to the heart of the business and it means we can do a better job.”
One of the most surprising things was the flexible approach to technical positions. We have had students working for us part-time that have graduated to full-time workers; something unheard of in many other companies. A number of our team are new New Zealanders with Invenco providing a lot of help in support in getting Visas, Work Permits and Residency. Living and working on Auckland’s North Shore also helps us to maintain more of a work-life balance as many of us have a very manageable 10 to 20 minute commute to work.