Thoughtpiece

From Gaming to HealthTech

Rob started his career in gaming, but now tests cutting-edge healthtech.

First published: 12 Jun 2019 | 5 min read
Author: Stephen Hankinson, Robert Warnock

Can you tell us about yourself?

I studied Philosophy at King’s College London, and really hated it if I’m honest! I took it as a more general degree — even though I had a place to do Game Design I thought if I decided not to go into that industry, philosophy would open a few more doors in the world of work. Straight out of university I worked for SEGA Europe, testing the Total War series for a year. I was then approached by Huma for a change of pace and here I am!

How did you get the skills to work in tech as you studied philosophy? Did you do extra study for it?

No, I didn’t. There was a lot of learning on the job at SEGA. There’s a quick rundown of the fundamentals and then you’re thrown in at the deep end. In a way it was a good way to learn — it hammered things home a lot faster — but it did mean that we were perhaps a little unprepared for certain parts of the job.

What was it like working at SEGA? You said that you worked with Total War, what did that involve?

You would be given the new build of the project each morning and primarily just worked your way through the game. As soon as you find a bug or a glitch you would let the developers know in a report.

If they can fix it, which fingers crossed they can, they’ll send it back to you to verify that the bug has been squashed and that that part of the game is good to go. Of course, because everything that we tested was pre-alpha we found issues all the time, so this was most of the job. Other than that we followed checklists to make sure all the features in the game were looking good for release.

What were the skills you gained in gaming that you transitioned to healthtech? What makes you stand out compared to others here at Huma?

I think it has to be communication with the developers.

The developers I worked with were not based in the same office as us, and some were outside of the UK so written communication was super important. If we didn’t explain the bugs clearly enough it would just end up wasting developers’ time. At Huma most of the devs are in the office but it is still so important to explain a bug clearly because the engineers really don’t have time to waste!

Why didn’t you want to stay in gaming or work in another gaming company?

It wasn’t a question of me wanting to leave the gaming industry so much as it was a question of me being open to leaving and being open to the idea of another sector. The opportunity to work here at Huma came up and just really grabbed me!

I remember you saying you feel more appreciated working here at Huma. Why?

I think there is a bit of stigma for games testers: they are just “playing the game all day”, so it’s not necessarily considered to be a very technical job. It’s often the case that QAs are underpaid or ignored and there are stories in the industry of testers not being invited to company parties or not even being able to talk to developers.

It’s sad because testers are functionally a game’s first reviewers, and certainly, developers that I worked with had learned from some past mistakes when it came to listening to tester feedback. It’s actually a really important job so I’d love to see change for the better.

Here in tech, on the other hand, I think there’s a lot less of that; QAs are considered to be more technical than they are in the gaming industry. I’m a QA Engineer here rather than just a Tester and I’m taken a bit more seriously.

So what does your working day here at Huma look like? What are you working on now?

I’m on everything: iOS, Android, and Web. I don’t really specialise in any particular area. My job here is a lot more reactive rather than proactive as it was before. Quite often I’m given a certain area to test rather than searching for bugs. Here I’m checking to see what works more often than what doesn’t like I did as a games tester.

What did you find to be the biggest challenge of moving from SEGA to Huma?

A lot of the more technical things associated with the back-end or the code of an app goes over my head. There’s a lot more work with back-end than we ever had to worry about in the games industry! There are a lot more technical issues here and in my first few meetings, I had no clue what was going on at all! I think I’m adapting, though, and I am trying to learn to code to help me keep up a bit more.

What are the things that made Huma stand out to you?

I think the people are great! Everyone is super smart and incredibly experienced, so there are a lot more role models and people to look up to. It was incredibly humbling starting here and seeing the level of professionalism and the work ethic — it just makes you want to improve.

What advice would you give to other QA Engineers and Testers who are looking for a new opportunity like you?

I would definitely recommend reading up a bit on some tech concepts like the back-end and app development. Knowing a bit more about this kind of stuff would help them really hit the ground running.

So you have been using our products on a day to day basis. When looking at the future of our products what do you think is particularly strong?

The work that’s currently going into the mobile apps is fantastic. Some of the more day to day stuff like the ‘Steps Logger’ and the ‘Medication Tracker’ will be really useful for people out in the wild.

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