Meet QA engineer Ellen Adams, who's on the front lines of delivery projects for some of Brightspot's most recognized customers. A history major in college who made the switch to an engineering role, Ellen's career path benefits from a skillset that brings in analysis, attention to detail, problem solving and a dedication to making sure every requirement is working as expected.
How long have you worked for Brightspot? What brought you here?
I started at Brightspot part-time in July 2019 as a digital content publisher before transitioning to a full-time role as a QA in 2021. I had a friend who worked at Brightspot at the time who recommended it to me and gave me the reference.
Can you tell me about the current project you are working on and your role on the team?
For the last few months, I have been the lead QA for AP News app project. This project is the first app that I’ve been involved in, so that was a bit challenging in learning new things and getting up to speed with how to test an app, but it’s a very fun and interesting project to work on.
What do you think is the most rewarding part and the most challenging part of your role as a QA engineer?
I think the most rewarding part about being a QA engineer is seeing everything come together and individual things that you’ve tested fit into the new site that you’re working on. As a QA, sometimes you're the last person to check off on a site, so it’s cool to see the final product all come together. The most challenging thing would be that sometimes when you’re testing, fixing one issue can bring up another issue or cause something else to break. It sometimes requires a lot of patience and attention to detail to go through and make sure that you didn’t miss anything when you were testing.
In your time at Brightspot, you’ve worked on lots of really interesting projects. Does one stand out as your favorite?
A couple of years ago, I worked on the NPR Grove migration project. We were migrating hundreds of NPR member sites to Brightspot—so it was a huge project, needless to say. It was the largest project I had been on at the time and I got to be a part of dozens of launch calls for the NPR member sites, so it was really cool to see them be able to launch their site.
Do you have any piece of advice for college students or those who are starting their careers in QA?
I think my biggest piece of advice would be that you don’t necessarily have to have the traditional background or career path in computer science or engineering to succeed in QA. I was a history major in college and didn’t really expect to end up in QA. However, when I started at Brightspot part-time, I got to do some of that type of work and ended up really enjoying it. So, I would just say there are a lot of transferable skills from other fields, and if you’re dedicated and hardworking you can get the skills you need and take online courses and become a QA engineer without necessarily having a engineering background.
Last summer, you traveled to Berlin with a team of Brightspot volunteers for the 2023 Special Olympics World Games. What was your biggest takeaway from that experience?
Traveling to Berlin was one of the coolest and most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I think my biggest takeaway from the whole event was how important inclusivity is and being able to give all of those athletes the opportunity to compete. It was so meaningful to see them achieve their dream and get to meet new people. It's important that everyone can have opportunities like that. My brother has Down Syndrome and competes in the Special Olympics at a local level and I know he takes so much pride in it and he gets a lot out of it, so it’s important for everyone to be able to compete in events like this.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
My favorite part about working at Brightspot is definitely their dedication to its mission work and giving back. I have participated in many of the other volunteer events, such as holiday decorating Boulder Crest and working in the warehouse at the Arlington Food Assistance Center. It's cool to have those opportunities and it’s a big part of the culture of Brightspot. Everyone’s really excited about the mission opportunities, and I really like that.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
I’m pretty crafty, so I'm really into art. Lately I’ve been into printmaking, and I really like to cross stitch and embroidery. I also really like to read, so if I’m not in the office, I’m often reading a book.
What was the last book you read? What did you think of it?
The last book I read was Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe, who is one of my favorite authors, and it was really good. I think I’ve read every book he’s written, but I enjoyed that one a lot. I would definitely recommend it.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If I could travel anywhere in the world right now, it would definitely be Australia. Because it's so far away, I would love to go for a few months and see everything, so I think that’s where I would go.