Beata Pachnicka Zwierzak Biblioteka Hero 4280X3287
interview 3 min. read

From libraries to QA

Friday 17th February 2023
The trend for freely changing jobs and even careers shows no signs of fading away. In fact, it’s thriving. When it comes to decisions about switching paths, one of the most magnetic sectors is IT. Indeed, more than a few MakoLabbers are people at the outset of their career in the field.

One of them is tester Beata Pachnicka-Zwierzak. She talked to Insights about whether it’s worth leaving a job that has brought you satisfaction for a long time and putting all your eggs in one basket. In addition, she passed on some useful thoughts about how to prepare yourself for making changes like that in your life.

What did she have to say? Read on to find out!
How long have you been at MakoLab?
At high school, I decided to put myself to the test by choosing a maths-oriented direction. Even so, my mind definitely doesn’t stem from STEM! I feel like I’m a hundred per cent humanities by nature, so I don’t consider my experiment with my secondary-level education to have been a success.

When I first came to MakoLab, I was involved in search engine optimisation, although my job also included work on content. Later on, the emphasis actually shifted to that, so then all I did was write. So you see, there’s no escaping destiny.
And how are you finding it here? Have you settled in completely?
Organisationally speaking, I feel really great. I’ve found my feet. I know where, what and who to ask! When it comes to learning, though, well that’s an infinite process.
You are so right! While we’re on the subject of learning, it’s not long since you made quite a major shift in careers. What impelled you to change and what did you do before?
I don’t think anything unusual happened. I was hit by professional burnout. I had a feeling that I simply had to do something with myself because I was suffocating. I’d been working in the Łódź University of Technology library for well over a decade. In front of a computer full of databases, as well. But there came a moment when I felt like I’d run into a brick wall and that I wanted to change something. Hot on the heels of that came a question. What could I do with myself after all those years in one place? That was no easy challenge…

Step by tiny step, I started testing out various waters, looking for inspiration on the Internet and talking to people. Someone who’d known me for a fairly long time by then said to me that I have characteristics that are valued in IT; analytical thinking, patience, meticulousness and the thing that grabbed me the most, I think… a forensic eye for details that are out of kilter. And it’s true that, even when everything’s set up, when everything’s looking good, I’ll still there worrying away at what might not work. I’d always thought of that as a weakness, but here, it’s turned out to be a strength!

Mind you, I wasn’t giving any though at all to testing back then. Four years ago, when I started thinking about a change, I didn’t have the foggiest idea that the profession of tester even existed. Once I heard about IT, I began to get interested in programming. I did various courses and brushed up my English. And so I followed the thread until it lead me to a course for testers run by a company. That’s where I discovered that it’s actually a profession and what it entails. I did the course and passed the exam… and then it turned out that, at the outset, I’d failed to note a particular detail. The course was connected with a recruitment drive! The company offered me a job… and that was a ten out of ten for me, because I went from zero to acquiring the basics of testing. I did an International Software Testing Qualifications certificate, received all the tools that testers use and not only landed among some really excellent people, but also received an immense amount of knowledge from them.
On average, how many texts flow from your fingertips a month?
In the beginning, everything was tough. The first shock was the language used in IT. People were speaking in what appeared to be Polish, but I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about! A single sentence could be packed with words that I either didn’t know or, even worse, knew, but they were being used to mean something completely different. I wound up in some really funny situations. Someone said something about ‘back-end’ and my mind leapt to ‘backhand’ and there I was, wondering why we’d suddenly started talking about tennis! Or ‘console’, a word that, until then, I’d always associated purely with Xbox and PlayStation! There were times when I really needed to maintain some detachment about myself. Not to mention hanging on firmly to my sense of humour… and counting on other people doing the same! The exposure helped and, slowly, things started to come together in a more comprehensible ‘slang’.

Another thing that I found very hard was that a lot of the knowledge came all at once, at the start. Because it wasn’t just the testing itself. It was also the tools for the job, the way of working, overcoming technical challenges and asking for help each time. Getting over the fact that it’s continually necessary to turn to other people for their know-how.
How would you rate your first year at MakoLab as a tester?
Over the year, I’ve strengthened my skills and gained more confidence in myself as a tester. I’ve also taken my first steps in automatisation; that’s my greatest success, because not so long ago it seemed to be completely beyond my reach… and even my dreams.

I’m incredibly impressed by the solicitous care in the monitoring that surrounds the testers here. Thanks to that, I can acquire new skills at my own pace.
Beata Pachnicka Zwierzak Biblioteka LI 1200X675
What would your advice be to people who are thinking of changing paths?
Be patient, for sure. It took me a year from the moment I first started thinking about it. When you’re making a drastic change like that, you need to be prepared to leave your comfort zone… or, more to the point, to blow it up. You have to let yourself do that without too much pondering over everything, without over-analysing. For me, it was a bit like shutting my eyes and leaping off a precipice, hoping that some kind of safety net, some kind of mattress would turn up at the bottom. I had to just go for it, without a detailed analysis, because if I’d really started thinking over every last detail, I don’t think anything would ever have come of it.

It’s also worth checking out whether what you’re thinking of doing fires you up. With testing, there are various platforms where you can have a go. If you enjoy it and lose all sense of time while you’re doing it, then it’s definitely your thing!
We’re really delighted that Beata’s decision to switch paths turned out to be a good one and that she landed safely after she leapt! And we’re even happier about the fact that she can count on the support and understanding of our QA team. Right now, we wish her success in becoming an expert in automated testing. 😊

To all of you out there who are thinking about a change of job or career, could there really be anywhere better to start that on our Careers page and list of openings?! 😉
translation by Caryl Swift
Kamila Braszak
Kamila Braszak
Employer Branding Specialist

MakoLife, Employees, MakoLab Team, People, Hobby