Last month I started my series of interviews called “People behind Canonical Quality”, but I haven’t posted anything yet since I’m too busy for exams. So today, let’s do the first one!
First on is Gema Golez-Solano, nicknamed gema on IRC. She normally does automated testing, making sure that every daily image (and I mean every single one of them) works best in every aspects and spot out bugs.
1. Can you give us a brief introduction of yourself?
I was born in Spain but I have lived in the UK for almost 10 years now.
I went to University back in the day in Barcelona and studied Computer
Engineering, then I was programming for a brief while in a company and
realized that what I did very well was not creating things but breaking
2. What do you think makes QA interesting?
The creative thinking involved in ensuring software doesn’t break badly
is what attracts me the most. Using software and figuring out which
parts of it are weak and how to break it is very rewarding for me.
Seeing those problems fixed later makes my day, it makes me feel the
time was worth spending and I am saving users from feeling frustrated
(like I do when I get a new phone or a new gadget for which I paid a lot
of money and something is broken, which happens too often).
3. What sort of QA do you do within Canonical?
I am trying to make sure Ubuntu works nicely as a system. We do system
testing: think of as many ways as you can of Ubuntu installed or
installing for any use case, my job is to make sure Ubuntu shines in
every situation (we are trying, but the possibilities are endless). We
care about how much power it consumes, how much memory it needs to run,
how fast it is, whether it actually does what it is supposed to do and
whether it fails gracefully when it should. And my team focuses on
automating these test cases, running them every day and reporting
results along with any problems we find.
4. Why did you join Canonical?
I liked the idea of making Ubuntu and Linux in general easy to use for
non-computer savvy people, for example my family. I had too many
experiences with unusable linux installations in the past and I found
the idea of making it easy to use very appealing and challenging. I
thought test automation would help in the process and I was offered the
opportunity of joining so I took it.
5. What do you think of Ubuntu’s QA Community?
I like to think of my team as part of that Community, even though we
don’t interact that much on daily basis due to tight deadlines. When I
started with Canonical the QA Community was struggling to cope and we
were a very young QA community, not quite pulling all in the same
direction. A lot has changed since, Nick joined and started to shape the
future together with the contributors. Now there is a vibrant group of
people that are driving this testing and are interested in automating
the easy stuff to use their brains to test the more challenging cases
and I am loving it. We can never test in every piece of hardware there
is out there in the lab, nor we can verify manually every corner case,
so I think the Ubuntu QA Community is a key piece of Ubuntu’s QA
success. Let’s keep growing it
6. What is the most interesting thing you have ever done within Canonical?
I created a test analysis that never got implemented, it was the
first thing I did when I joined. I enjoyed very much doing it and people
liked it, but it never got implemented because we needed to have test
tools and reporting capabilities, infrastructure we lacked back then. A
lot has happened since and now we are almost at a point when I can go
back to it and start implementing, I haven’t given it up yet, maybe you
guys can help me choose the interesting cases from there, based on your
7. What advice will you give to people joining the Ubuntu QA Community?
I’d like to encourage people to script the repetitive parts of testing
and give us those scripts to run in the lab, or set up a cron to run
those automatically daily on your machines, or both. That way you can
spend time testing what really matters and thinking about the different
use cases that are important to the users. Do something new every day,
think out of the box.
If we are talking about QA, I’d say you need to have a very strong QA
oriented mindset and high attention to details. Be a perfectionist and
capable of developing test cases, develop a record of delivering to a
very high standard what you commit to. Whatever you do, you need to put
your heart and your mind into it. I’d recommend to find something you do
very well, become a point of contact for that and be active on the
community. If you are good and enjoy what you are doing, in all
likelihood you’ll be pinged by someone in Canonical when an opportunity
that requires your skill set comes up. Other than that, you can keep an
eye on our job site in case something that matches your skills appears.
I guess my main hobby is learning. I am learning to play the piano and I
love spending hours trying to get the notes and dynamics right, not sure
my neighbors are so fond of this when trying to watch TV, though. I like
maths and economics and I am studying a second degree during weekends
and holidays, which I enjoy very much. I like to keep up with technology
in coursera and other such sites. I also love traveling and science
Next week you will enjoy another interview with a guy you are familiar with:) But for now, thank you gema!!!