Software Test Engineer, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
28 Apr 2022
Continuing our series spotlighting the roles and lives of our employees, Sophie Kenyon, an automation tester based in our Leeds office, tells us about her typical working day
I’ve always liked fixing things. At school I did a lot of engineering based subjects – things like maths, physics and electronics. I loved it but out of school I didn’t really have the qualifications to go straight into it and so my first job was in the coffee trade – I worked as a barista for four years.
But then one day, a couple of years ago, I turned around and decided to go into IT, and so I joined a company that offered a 12 week training course with a two year contract. After the training, I was loaned out to other companies as a junior before finally joining BAE Systems about 10 months ago.
Now, I find myself as an automation tester working out of our office in Leeds. I predominately focus on back-end systems, such as APIs – Application Programming Interfaces – which are the pieces of software that enable two applications to talk to each other.
It’s my role to test requests and responses, making sure that data stays accurate as they ricochet back and forth. In my job, you tend to find problems and hand them back but I like to take it further and find the root cause of the issue and before identifying the solution as that just saves so much time.
I work from home most of the time but Tuesdays are my usual day in the office. It’s nice to have human contact. In Leeds, we have different days assigned to different projects and so it’s nice to come in and see the people I actually work with.
Every morning, shortly after logging on, whether at home or in the office, I have a stand up meeting or call with my immediate colleagues. There’s about seven or eight of us working in this part of our current project and it’s a chance to get updated on everyone’s progress since the day before, and set our plan for the day.
Most of my interaction at work is internal but I’m travelling to our client site in London and I do that once a month. I normally have lunch at some point between 12pm and 2pm. The afternoon continues much like the morning, and I normally call it a day about 5.30pm.
When I talk to people about life at BAE Systems, I tell them that every day is different. Even when working on the same project, we get given different requirements and different issues to solve. This is challenging but it is very engaging and the people are really nice too – which is important in any job.
Then there’s the flexibility. There’s a really good work life balance and there’s certainly no culture here about punching a clock and working a set amount of hours every day – it’s really driven by the work itself and you can absolutely flex your working day around other commitments.
For example, I became a Scout Leader last year. I love it and I’ve never ever had issues about not being able to do it because I’ve had to work late or something.
Seeing the kids develop and learn new skills is hugely fulfilling. With scouts you tend to find kids from every background quickly making friends with each and it so lovely to see. And I’ve certainly picked up some key lessons myself. Take teamwork, for example. The scouts help you figure out that if you all work together, even if you don’t like them, you get the job done so much quicker.
Ten months into my career at BAE Systems, it’s been a real whirlwind – I can’t wait to see where it takes me next!
About the author
Sophie Kenyon is a Software Test Engineer at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence