Test This Out – Software Quality Assurance Careers at Impinj

October 29, 2014 Joey McFarland


This post is part of our series, Day in the Life, in which a different employee gives a taste of what it’s like working at Impinj. David Snook shares what life is like as an Impinj Software Test Engineer.

Describe a typical day in the life as a Software Test Engineer at Impinj:

After a surprisingly quick commute into the Center of the Known Universe (Fremont), my day starts with a quick plan for what I expect to do in the next eight working hours, or 16 pomodoros, for those who count that way. It is easy to pick what to do, as my work has already been prioritized and estimated in our last weekly team Scrum planning session. I start on the next item in my personal backlog, which could be a set of high-level tests using Cucumber or SpecFlow, a set of low-level tests using RSpec, or maybe even a task for refactoring a product component. By the time 10am rolls around, I have a good chunk done and I head off for our daily team Stand-up status meeting. We actually stand up in these meetings, which helps to keep them short. After giving an update on my status and anything that might be blocking me, I am generally back at my desk in 10 minutes or less, and back to the coding that I love.

By the time the noon hour comes around, I have another good chunk done and it is time for a break. I head across the quad’s plaza for a workout at the local gym, then a quick shower and back to the office to eat my lovely sack lunch. I usually think of a few ideas while I am working out, so I either try them out right away or (depending on the scale of the idea) make a note in my online work journal.

The rest of the day is spent doing even more of what I love – coding. I do have a few meetings, but looking at my calendar confirms my general impression – just an hour of meetings per day, on average, plus the blip of a 10-minute status meeting.

At the end of the day I head out promptly at five to meet my vanpool (paid for by the company). I love the convenience and the hard stop at the end of the day helps enforce a good work-life balance.

What do you like most about your role?

I love the technical challenge and the room to grow to meet it. In the six months that I have been with the company, I have already learned two new languages and numerous tools. I also really appreciate the flexibility of the SQA role here, as I get to contribute in many ways outside of the typical tester bounds. And the coding, don’t forget all the time I get to spend coding!

What do you like least?

In a smaller company like Impinj, you get the opportunity to wear a few more hats, which I love. The problem is that time is limited, so I have to carefully manage what extra duties I take on so that I protect the core of my responsibilities. This sometimes means having to say no, and I pretty much suck at that.

What is your favorite project you have worked on at Impinj?

My favorite project so far has been refactoring and polishing a shared product component for logging. I had found some good bugs in it using both high and low-level BDD (Behavior-Driven Development) tests, and the team asked me to go ahead and fix the bugs and write new tests for any new behavior. I ended up with 100% code coverage for both functional and unit tests, so we now joke that 200% is the new code coverage standard here at Impinj. Besides being a lot of fun (I love coding, remember?) I think that this project is a good example of how the software test role is so much more flexible than it was for me at other companies.

Why might another Software Test Engineer want to work at Impinj?

If you want to contribute more than you ever thought you could to a deeply technical and booming business, coding your heart out in the context of a smart, fun culture – you should test out a software quality assurance career at Impinj.

If you are interested in joining the Impinj team, please take a look at our openings at: www.impinj.com/careers.

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