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Thomas De Backer on his evolution to Test Manager

Bob Cobben, Senior Business Recruiter at Devoteam, interviewed Test Manager Thomas De Backer discussing his career path, current project and the advantages of working at Devoteam.

In 2015, Thomas De Backer graduated from KU Leuven with a master’s in industrial engineering, with a specialisation in IT. A couple of months later, he started his career at Devoteam as a Validation & Integration Engineer and began with his first project at Telenet, called ‘Dawn’.

Thomas’ career at Devoteam

Thomas quickly realised that he was a good problem-solver and wanted to continue his career in ‘Testing’. His next project was ‘EOS’ at Liberty Global, an international player in Digital TV, and revolved around setting up an entirely new set-top box. Starting off as Manual Tester/Automation Engineer, Thomas learned a lot in a short period of time and was able to transition to a position as Test Analyst. This gave him the opportunity to be closely involved with new features, working together with the product owners and developers and getting new insights through an E2E point-of-view.

After about six months, the opportunity of becoming an Integrator or Test Coordinator presented itself. This meant working on a more technical or more management level. An Integrator follows up on the technical side of a feature, determining its testability and ‘happy flow’. A Test Coordinator leads a team of six people, working closely together on new features, and is the ‘right hand’ of the Test Manager. Thomas chose the latter.

In August 2019, Thomas got his first job as Test Manager and is responsible for a team carrying out regression tests and for a team working on new features. He finds it fascinating to work on a commercial solution that is “intense and widespread”. “Today, our most recent solution is used by 350.000 families in five different countries and will have a total expansion of 2 million boxes in the near future”, comments Thomas.

He describes the function of a Validation Engineer as the best possible way to learn the E2E story and its complexity, and to develop a broader view, which is the start to a position with more responsibility and impact. He emphasises the importance of talking to colleagues and asking questions in order to really understand the technical side of things.

Thomas’ vision on Devoteam

Just like most employees within Devoteam, Thomas participated in the ‘Insights’ workshop, revolving around increasing your soft skills. He comments on the workshop: “You often have very different personalities within one team, each with a specific way to handle things. Therefore, it’s important to recognise those differences and approach them in an appropriate fashion. Devoteam devotes a lot of time and attention to this, which increases the involvement and commitment of the employees to the projects”.

Thomas is proud of how far he has already come: “I quickly got the ambition to become Test Manager and getting my ISTQB certificate and I’m almost there. I’ve managed to positively contribute to the evolution of my career path and I’m happy with what I’ve achieved in the past three years”.  He mentions that he’s a lot further than he initially anticipated and recognises the chances he was given to develop his skills. “I’m able to work on a big project that both matches my interests and challenges me. I live in Gent, so I do travel a lot on a daily basis, but I enjoy my car rides thanks to the lovely car I received from Devoteam”.

When being asked what he finds most interesting about working at Devoteam, Thomas answers: “In my opinion, there are seven advantages:

  1. Working with many different people who have a lot of experience and often take the time to explain or discuss things
  2. The two-way communication with the team coaches, I especially appreciate this
  3. The chance to quickly gain concrete knowledge and evolve yourself
  4. Being able to participate in projects with a large target audience
  5. The structured, qualitative and customer-oriented approach of Devoteam
  6. The interesting ‘eco-system’ with contacts to many ‘peer’ companies
  7. The stimulation of entrepreneurship and taking initiative

Thomas concludes the interview with a final comment describing the function of ‘Test & Validation Engineer’ as “a truly rewarding and challenging choice of career path”.

We are looking for passionate IT professionals to join our team: