An Interview with Rachael


Our Senior QA tester, Rachael, recently spoke at an event hosted by the QA Beginners Club. We thought we’d catch up with her afterwards to find out more about her work at Ampersand and her somewhat unusual path into the world of ecommerce. 


Hi Rachael, so tell us about the work you do here at Ampersand. 

Hey! So, my role at Ampersand is that of Senior QA Tester. As part of the QA team, it’s my job to run various tests using different testing techniques to ensure that our work meets the predetermined acceptance criteria and is also of the high quality that Ampersand prides itself on. I help to identify any potential issues or bugs and then work with our development team to debug these issues and figure out how best to rectify them. I’m also involved in the functional discovery that comes with new work coming in.


What was your path into the ecommerce industry? 

My route into the ecommerce industry has been far from conventional. Horses have been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, so when I left high school, I made the decision to pursue a job within the equestrian industry. I went to college where I studied and qualified in equine management and then began working at a livery yard, not too far from where I live. However, as much as I loved working with horses, I quickly realised I needed more for myself and that I would prefer to keep them as a hobby and build a career for myself elsewhere. So I went back to college and studied BTEC IT and then went to university where I got my degree in Computer Forensics. Since then, I’ve worked in a range of industries but always within QA/Engineering departments. I have previously worked in ecommerce within a development team, it’s an industry I’ve come back to as I find the work interesting, fast-paced and no two days are the same.


Tell us about your first six months at Ampersand.

The last six months have gone so fast for me, I think whenever you start a new role the initial six months is trying to get to grips with the way the company works and finding your feet a little bit. It’s been no different for me here at Ampersand! I was so lucky that the company brought me on board as Senior QA Tester, which is the progression I’d been looking for in my career. It’s been really good not just learning about how the company operates, but also working in a more senior role.


What does a typical day look like for you, working from home? 

I’m not sure I have a typical day; every day can be so different! Generally, I get up at 7am to sort the dogs out (Last year we rescued two ex-racing greyhounds called Ozzie and Mildred). Working from home means that I have no commute that day and this time has been invaluable, I can spend it with the dogs taking them out or with family wherever possible. I grab a coffee and at 8am I log on and see what we’ve got planned for the day and make a start. Usually by about 16:30 I’m wrapping things up for the day and that gives me a really nice evening, having gained my commute time back.


Rachael’s dogs – Ozzie and Mildred


Can you share some exciting projects happening at Ampersand?

This is a really exciting time of year, we’re all back from our holidays, refreshed and ready to hit the ground running for 2021! There’s currently lots of talks about what projects we have coming up in quarter one and we’re all getting ready to pick up the pace again. We’ve also got some super exciting accelerator work happening so keep your eyes open for that!


What advice would you give to anyone wanting to join the ecommerce industry?

I think what shocked me the most is just how big the industry is, I was guilty of taking for granted just how much goes on behind the scenes of our favourite ecommerce sites. My advice would be to look at how different ecommerce companies work (they do lots of user cases for people to read) but also to look into more than just the site as well; there are often departments we don’t consider who help to make up the ecommerce industry


Thinking about Ampersand’s new normal, what do you think your hybrid working model will look like?

It’s been amazing that the team has been given the flexibility of the hybrid working model and that we’ve been empowered to figure out what will work best for us. For me this will be a real mixture of working from home and being in the office, with possibly three days in the office and a couple of days at home. This for me will mean the best of both worlds and means I can gain back some commute time each week but also still be in the office some days to see the team in person. As I was onboarded online, I’m really looking forward to meeting the team in person!


Rachael’s current home set up


If you want to join Rachael at Ampersand, check out all of our vacancies on our Careers page.

Check out the QA Beginners Club here