Readdle Professionals: Alexandra Protserova, from Customer Support to QA Support Engineer

At Readdle, we believe in perpetual professional growth and uncovering one’s true potential. That’s why we invest in fostering a culture of flexibility, where our objective is to foster talented professionals within the company. In the Readdle Professional Growth series, we’re talking with team members at Readdle who were successfully switched to other fields or promoted to higher positions.  

Read about Alexandra Protserova, who switched from the Customer Support position to her next step — СS QA Engineer. 

How did you join Readdle? Any interesting facts to share?

From early childhood, I was very interested in technology and it was very easy for me to work with it. Back in the days of button mobile phones, when I was 10 years old, I knew absolutely all their features. At the age of 13, I reflashed (installed new software) my first tablet from Chinese firmware. And although I was good at all sorts of technical things, I never thought about it as a career. 

For a very long time, before I came to Readdle, I didn't even have an idea of what I wanted out of life. I was graduating in International Relations and assumed that I wanted to work in a travel agency, and even managed it for some time, but it wasn’t exactly my thing.

The fourth year of University approached its ending and there it was — a big question of who I wanted to be. After half a year of searching, I interviewed at Readdle for the position of Customer Support and was thrilled to start the role. 

However, I had no prior experience in Customer Support, and I was almost the youngest in the company. So I set myself a goal to do everything I could to prove myself and my onboarding went pretty smoothly. I was happy with how I managed things and other team members appreciated my hard work. 

Can you tell us about your transition from CS specialist to QA Support Engineer? What prompted you to make this career change?

In Customer Support, I really liked checking the user cases to the smallest details. I wanted to find out absolutely all the little things that could help with investigating the issues. I really enjoyed checking the problem on different devices, and operating systems. Even if it was not my required task as a Customer Support, I always wanted to know more.

After a year of being a Support Specialist, I began to think about where I could grow further and I had thoughts about QA. But before voicing my desires to someone, I wanted to take some classes to be prepared to become a QA. I was choosing between different specializations, and QA Customer Support made sense to me because I knew quite a lot about this position. I worked closely with QA Customer Support and I had time to observe. 

At one of the performance reviews that are conducted every three to six months, my manager told me about the vacancy and asked whether I wanted to be a candidate for this role.

Everything was turning out better than I expected. I managed to pass the test task for the CS QA Engineer position and two years after I'd been hired by Readdle, I began my first day in the new role.

Did you face any challenges during your transition? Any lessons learned?

The transition was pretty smooth. I already knew all the applications that I needed to work with and was aware of current user issues, including Helpspot and Jira. My onboarding took only two months, which went by very quickly. 

I feel that I fit in perfectly, and although there are some things I did not know or do not know until now, I’m happy there is always someone I can talk to and ask for help.

Initially, it was a little difficult for me to report issues, because I had no such experience before. The most difficult thing was to write a short title that would describe the problem in detail. Sometimes it's tricky, especially in some super-unique customer issues.

It also took a lot of effort for me to deal with Xcode. At first, I was afraid to click anywhere thinking I might break the entire application (which isn’t true, of course!). Sometimes I had some issues with Xcode, and there were moments when I was already freaking out because nothing seemed to work. 

I wanted everything to be perfect on the first try but it doesn’t always work out that way. But even if it took more time, I still made everything work and learned how to deal with things. The main lesson is to be patient. 

What do you find most fulfilling about your work?

In general terms, QA Customer Support's task is to help the Customer Support team with complex user issues. And I just adore the entire Support Team. It gives me great pleasure to be helpful to them and the fact that my work is really appreciated and I bring benefits not only to users but also to the Support team.

I also like to take on something new. When a new iOS/macOS comes out, I would install it as early as possible to see how it works. It’s interesting to check the new functionality, how it was implemented, and the user’s feedback about it.

Do you think your previous role has contributed to your current one? In what way?

Definitely, yes. Quite a lot of things that I work with now I learned while working in Customer Support. I think that if I didn't work as a Support Specialist, I wouldn't have even gazed towards QA. I realized that I like exploring how things work while being there. 

Readdle is encouraging about such transitions. That's why I got the opportunity to become a QA engineer in the first place, what happens next is in my hands. 

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their journey in QA?

  • Working in QA is not always easy. You won’t get everything on the first try so be patient and prepare to work hard if that’s what you really want. 
  • There is a lot of info to take in and to learn, so it is extremely important to have the habit of writing everything down (starting with new information and ending with some small tasks that you need to do during the day). I have saved all my notebooks so I can always return to revise. 
  • The last and the most important one is English. This is especially true for non-native speakers. You have to really put some work into it. Yes, you can use a translator — it’s not forbidden, however, if you aim to work at an international company it’s crucial to be proficient because all communication is conducted in English.  

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