Beyond the jargon-filled job descriptions, do you sometimes wonder: what does someone in a particular role actually do day-to-day? Well, you're in luck: in our new series Day in Z Life, get to know the 9 to 5 shuffle of individual members of our herd from what makes them tick and the purpose behind their work. Today, we're kicking things off and celebrating Engineers Week by featuring Quality Engineering Manager Arielle Israel.
Why The Zebra?
I’ve been working at The Zebra for almost three years now. I was intrigued by the company months before I actually applied. When I had a chance to visit the office, I remember walking into the space and thinking that everyone seemed so happy... and they were working! I was kind of in shock. Like, what in the world do they do here?
When I sat down for my interview with the team and hiring manager, I was blown away by how personable everyone was. It was clear that people took pride in their work, which resonated with me. It was also clear that people share a common goal of doing great work together. It was encouraging to see that and ultimately made me feel good about deciding to work for the company.
What is quality engineering? What are your team’s responsibilities?
Quality engineering is a critical component of our product. The main focus of the quality team is the user experience and ensuring that the product works at the highest standard.
We really care about components working effectively for every user, whether they ever buy with us or not. We want to ensure it’s a seamless process from the funnel to the results page. Our team takes a lot of pride in the functionality and consistency of the product’s workflow.
As a Quality Engineering Manager, I seek to advocate for making quality a part of everyone’s job. That includes looking for improvements within our processes used to test and deliver features. It also includes meeting with teams and Engineering Managers to develop metrics around quality (such as automated test creation) and set goals for future growth.
Why is quality testing so crucial to The Zebra’s user experience?
At The Zebra, we place a heavy emphasis on research. As a company, we analyze the user experience from the moment a user lands on our site. Once we understand the user's desired experience, the product team works to design features that align with that and then the developers work on bringing those features to life. As quality engineers, it's our job to evaluate the developed features against the design (what the end-user wants). We have to be extremely thorough about understanding the expectations of the user and comparing them to the actual results that have been delivered. This is where testing and focusing on quality makes all the difference.
How is what you do important to The Zebra’s mission?
One of our new company core values is collaboration. This isn’t just about working within your department or cross-team collaboration — it also means working with our users. We want to make sure we’re creating something worthwhile for the customer. Collaboration is deeply embedded within quality engineering as a whole. We have to work well with our product, data, design, and other departments to get a holistic perspective of what our product looks like now and where it’s going, so it’s something valuable to the end-user.
What would you tell someone that’s interested in joining your team?
I would encourage them to make sure that they really care about the product that the company provides and the product they themselves provide. What I mean by that is taking pride in your own work: Whether that’s crafting test cases for upcoming features, developing documentation for cross-department communications, or creating automated tests for quality assurance. That’s something we have on our team and qualities I’m always looking for as a Quality Engineering Manager. I love working with people who enjoy working within a team, have a passion for learning and have a sense of pride and ownership in the work that they do.
Tell us about your team!
Oh my goodness, I have some rockstars on my team. They care about their work and about the user experience. Each individual brings something valuable to the table. Whether they’re collaborators that are great about communication across teams, innovators that are always looking for new approaches, or executors that know how to get things done! Together we really push our department to the next level.
Rebeca is the lead, and she's passionate about building a good culture for our team as well as making improvements that impact our Engineering organization as a whole. Tanya is our innovator; she’s always looking forward and coming up with concepts to improve our approach to testing. Jason is our lookout; he’s our guy with his eyes and ears on the streets and has a really good understanding for what our user is looking for. Then we have Archana, our collaborator. She works well within and across teams, and she asks great questions that drive us to consider better solutions. I feel so honored to work with them regularly.
What does The Zebra’s mantra, “All Stripes Welcome,” mean to you?
The company motto has to do with inclusion on a more significant level. Even within my team, we have such diverse backgrounds that encompass different genders and cultures. With this diversity, you have to be aware of the different perspectives in a working environment. That said, when I hear and consider “All Stripes Welcome,” I’m motivated to find out more about my colleagues and what their unique backgrounds and identities bring to the team. The ultimate goal is that my team feels comfortable working in an environment next to me.
To me, it’s so pivotal to keep this motto at the forefront because you spend so much time working with your team that demands an investment of time and effort for us all. Why wouldn’t we make sure that we’re setting this up as a great experience? Not just for myself, but to understand the ideal work environment of others. That’s the only way to ensure that people genuinely do feel welcome.