Meet The Team - Steven George - Software QA Manager
I'm Steven George, but most people know me as Stevie. I've been at Neurovalens almost 6 years, it feels like no time since I joined yet so much has changed and so much has been achieved. I'm the Software QA Manager at Neurovalens and my role in the company is to use various ways and means to make our iOS and Android apps look, perform and work as well as they possibly can given the resources we have available. This is mainly done through creative, critical and problem-solving thinking with a phone in my hand or writing code to run tests on multiple phones at the same time to check all the things you would ideally like to check but you don't have enough time, brains, hands or enthusiasm to do.
My path certainly wasn't the most well-trodden into IT and I would encourage others to take a shorter route! Having left school with no ICT or computer related subjects at GCSE or A Level, I graduated with a 2:1 Bsc honours degree in Physiotherapy from Ulster University with no intention of adding to the 1000 clinical hours I was required to do as student. I went on to work in PR & HR for Coca-Cola, and while working from home on my own venture I heard about "The Software Testers Academy", a conversion course InvestNI were running for non-IT grads. My application was successful, I had a good aptitude for it, and I surprised myself that I enjoyed it. After a couple of years working as a manual tester and gaining a reputation as a tester you both loved and hated looking at your code due to the high number of bugs found I wanted to test myself further and look into automation testing. Working with iOS and Android apps at the time, Appium, an open source (free) mobile automation software seemed to be the place to start. One problem, I couldn't read or write code, and this was going to require A LOT of code. I set about teaching and learning myself. It was a steep learning curve, thankfully the intoxicating mix of naivety and success along the way shielded me from the worst of it or I don't think I would ever have started. Looking back I'm glad I did!
What attracted you to join the Neurovalens team?
From the moment my eyes were opened to the world of IT I knew I wanted to work for a start-up. I wanted the responsibility and the excitement that a deliver or bust role could bring. My plan was to get enough experience to be a desirable employee and to be able to give a good account of myself if and when I got through the door. When the Neurovalens role came up I didn't know if I was far enough along with either part, but I knew I had to apply. The exciting and potentially ground breaking technology they were developing was something I wanted to be a part of from the ground up. I hoped my IT experience to date and my science and healthcare background would be enough to convince them. It was and I haven't looked back and hopefully company hasn't either...you haven't though...right?!
What motivates you in your work?
As an iterative, "you're too hard on yourself", start with perfection and attempt to reverse engineer it thinker you are never going to be short of motivation to work in IT, and particularly not in a start-up. I think if you attempt to make what is already there better with what you do today you'll likely go far, experience a lot and look back satisfied with where you have got to and where you've been.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?
"Sportsball" as some of my IT colleagues have referred to it over the years. I play a lot of golf, 5-a-side and watch plenty of football, NFL and rugby. I like to spend time with friends and family and sometimes much to my delight that involves a bit of recreational farming!