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a day in the life of annemi pfister, test lead: ds delivery, digital & data solutions

Annemi Pfister’s career didn’t follow a conventional path. After a few unusual twists and turns, she eventually figured out what she wanted to do and is now working as a test lead at Capitec.

You’ve only got a few minutes to explain to someone you’ve just met what you do. What do you tell them, including your title and what it means? Think of it as your elevator pitch!

Being a test lead in the Digital Solutions Delivery department means that I manage a team of 17 test analysts. We look after the software testing of the app, internet banking, USSD and SMSs. Most of the analysts are manual test analysts, which means they manually execute tests to ensure that the software works as it should. My team also includes a few automation test analysts, who write and run automated testing scripts.

How long have you been at Capitec?

Almost 7 years. I started working here as a senior test analyst. A year later I was given the opportunity to apply for a position as team leader. I love having the support of Capitec when it comes to my career. There are so many opportunities for growth. And the people are amazing! They are respectful and professional.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?

I have my first cup of coffee at home, so when I get to the office, I switch on my laptop and check my email in case I missed something the previous afternoon. Once I’ve caught up, I’ll have breakfast and another cup of coffee.

Tell us about a typical day at work.

We start every morning with “standups”. Each person has to say three things: what I did yesterday, what I need to do today, and what impediments prevent me from completing my work. Standups help me keep track of what all the teams are working on.

In a typical day I make sure to check in with my team regularly. I like to know what they are working on and what testing they’ve done. I also have regular discussions with my team about where they fit in most optimally. I need to ensure that each person is allocated to the right feature/development team at the right time with the right skill set and amount of work. When one person feels overburdened, I need to find someone who can help them. Or when someone is having a quiet day, I need to move things around a bit. Every day I have to manage my team’s workflow, which is a definite balancing act.

Where do you fit in within Capitec? Who do you report to?

I am part of the business development department and report to Pieter Brand, Operational Manager of Digital Solutions Delivery.

What are your go-to tools at work?

You know that handy little snippet tool we all have on our computers? That’s my go-to tool! When we test something and it fails or passes, I can capture it immediately and attach it to my report.

What skills do you need to be good at what you do? 

You need strong leadership skills. I have a fairly large team that I have to lead and manage confidently. Time management and flexibility are also important skills because things happen quickly. When it comes to soft skills, patience and the ability to show a bit of tough love are necessary. I need to support my team but also challenge them. I have to help them grow and develop.

What are you most excited about in your role?

Definitely the people I work with. In the beginning we had no test analysts and had to borrow two. Since then, we’ve grown the team to 17 people! Seeing the team grow excites me. If a client uses the app or internet banking, for example, and something works perfectly and looks great, it’s really good to know that the people I work with have been responsible for that.

What did you study? 

I don’t have a normal story to tell and wouldn’t recommend following the same route as I did. I initially studied to become a teacher. After I graduated I wanted to do something else before I started working. So I became an air hostess for a year. When I was ready to  start teaching, I struggled to find a job. That was when a friend mentioned an opening at their company as a tester. I had no idea what it was as I’m not a technical person. He suggested sending in my CV, saying I had nothing to lose. I was desperate and so I did. I went for an interview and they made me an offer. I began my career in testing without a clue about what I was doing. I went on to study a BSc with computer science. In my second year, I realised it wasn’t for me and changed to a BSc with informatics, which I graduated in. Now I do short courses as often as possible and have completed the ISTQB foundation level and ISTQB advanced level test manager courses.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, an air hostess, a teacher and, at some point, an actress. I was in a band in high school so obviously I wanted to be a rockstar too! I soon realised that it wasn’t a realistic career and now stick to singing in my room instead.

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