A Day in the Life of a QA Tester: Kari Ponto

“You have to care about the experience. You have to represent the end user and try to shortcut any issues they might have—any crashes, any visual problems. If you’ve done that, you’ve done what you could.” – Kari Ponto

Photo of QA tester Kari Ponto working at her desk

You Can’t Teach Someone to Care

Kari Ponto is new to PLUS QA, but not to the world of QA testing. She has spent her entire career as a software and application QA tester.

But testing is the career that almost wasn’t for Kari—she never actually trained to be a professional QA tester. In college, she studied criminal justice and business administration.

When she happened upon a job description for a tester not long after graduation, she was intrigued. The position was at Epic Systems, a healthcare technology company in Madison, Wisconsin, and it called for someone who was “detailed-oriented and liked to break things”.

The role sounded perfect for her—as someone who describes herself as “unable to look past a spelling error”, Kari was drawn to a role so focused on finding and fixing mistakes.

That’s also why she argues that you’ve either got it or you don’t as a QA tester—while you can teach certain aspects of testing, you can’t teach someone to care about the experience of the end user.

Kari has always cared about that—which, alongside a “pretty intense” test, is what got her the job at Epic Systems. She jumped right in, quickly learning how to test along the way.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

QA tester Kari Ponto hikes in snowIn the years since finding that fateful job description, Kari has worked as a QA tester for five different companies, and it’s not hard to see why: “I love everything about QA. I love being able to get into the software and trying to be the end user—I try to break the software, see what looks weird, see what I can get it to do.”

Now at PLUS QA, Kari continues to do the work that she loves, with a focus on testing web-based software. She makes sure that our clients’ web applications are user-friendly, don’t crash or have bugs, and utilize workflows that make sense.

Kari continues to learn and experience more at each new company and in each new role, including at PLUS QA—because she follows her own advice: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

“I have gotten so far by just asking questions. It opens up the door for more questions. And then you learn more about the product that you’re testing, too.”

It’s All About the Experience

QA tester Kari Ponto with her mini Australian Shepherd, KirbyWhen she’s not at work, Kari spends time with her husband and their mini Australian Shepherd, Kirby. She’s adventurous and up for just about anything—including running marathons, riding motorcycles, and skydiving (three times!)—and was drawn to the food, coffee, and love of the outdoors known to Portland.

Whether she’s hiking Mount Hood or testing applications, Kari’s motto in life and work is the same: You have to care about the experience.

“[As a QA tester], you have to represent the end user and try to shortcut any issues they might have—any crashes, any visual problems,” she says. “If you’ve done that, you’ve done what you could.”

Do you care enough to test for QA? Join us at PLUS QA!

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