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Nick Pointon
Nick Pointon

Nick Pointon

Head of Test Centre Operations (India & Egypt)

SQS

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The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here
I am British and I started my career at Accenture in the UK. In 1998, I founded, with some friends, the software testing company, Cresta, which we built up to over 250 consultants in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. In 2006, we sold Cresta to SQS and I have been working for SQS ever since.

In 2008, I worked on acquiring for SQS an Indian software testing company and following the acquisition, I was delighted to have the opportunity to move to India to help manage the SQS-India in Pune. My family and I spent 4 very happy years living in India, during which time I worked for SQS-India as International Director and COO.

In July 2012, I shifted to Switzerland with SQS and I continue to be in charge of offshore testing operations in India and Egypt.
Changing Days: Lessons Learnt
For many years, software testing was seen as the poor brother of development. I think that has all changed now. Over the past 20 years, we have convinced developers and project managers that software testing is a legitimate discipline in its own right, with its own skills, professional career path and certification.

These days, companies are realizing that software testing is a key component to ensuring quality in software. Some more enlightened companies are putting the test/quality manager in charge of development, which is a complete reversal from previously.
Trends to Watch Out For
This is a very exciting time for the software testing industry and for the Indian software testing industry in particular. The combination of the cloud and rise in prevalence of mobile devices means that more computing power is readily available to more people than ever before. This is leading to an explosion of software, whether they are small "apps" or enterprise software, and with that there is an explosion in the amount of software testing required. This is good for business and for individuals, giving us the opportunity to specialize and innovate around these new technologies.
Do We Need Certifications?
There is now a world-wide set of industry-standard certifications in software testing produced by the ISTQB. These cover the foundation of software testing, intermediate level tester and advanced tester and provide a roadmap for a complete career in software testing. I would recommend that readers to invest their time in these as they are essential for recognition both in India and overseas.

In addition, SQS is working with other industry bodies to create courses and certifications that provide practical software testing skills as well as the theoretical skills currently covered. This will allow training companies to produce software testers with useful real-world skills applicable to our industry.
Decisions That Mattered and Turning Point in My Life
I think the move to set up my own company in the field of software testing in 1998 was an important inflection point in my career.  We were lucky that the field of software testing was really taking off at that time (with the Y2k bug being at the forefront of people’s minds) and that companies were starting to see the benefits of software testing being done independently of the development.

In 2006, it was a hard decision to sell the company we had founded, but it turned out that the timing was good. And I have enjoyed working for SQS for the last 6 years. SQS is the global leader in software testing and it's wonderful to work as part of such a vibrant specialist organization.
One final big decision was to shift myself and my family to India in 2008.
Work and Role: Then and Now
Earlier this year, I took over the management of SQSs operations in Egypt (another offshore centre) as well as India.  It has been interesting to travel to Egypt and to experience a different culture and style of work – to add to my experience of India and the UK.

Now that I'm back in Europe I have a chance to spend more time with our customers in Germany, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, Nordics, and elsewhere.  This means that my role is more sales-focused and I hope to bring my in-depth experience of offshore testing to my European colleagues.
Two Years Down the Line
I'm sure I'll be working in software testing.  I've made this my exclusive career for the past 14 years and I have, I think, acquired some expertise in the field.  I would like to see SQS's offshore operations in India grow year-on-year and I would be proud, in 2 years time, to say that I had played my part in that.
What I Learnt Along the Way
I try hard to understand everybody's point of view.  In my experience, most people are sincere in their efforts and want to work together productively.  My job as a director is to harness that desire and energy by giving them the opportunity to excel at what they want to do.
Along the way I try to provide what help and advice I can, while giving them the freedom to excel.  I am continually surprised by what people can do if you give them the chance.  Often they produce work that far exceeds my expectations, which gives me a wonderful feeling.
My Advice If You are Starting Out
I would heartily recommend anyone to go into software testing.  It's a great industry and the skills you build are valuable and transferable.  It's a professional career that will keep you engaged and give you opportunities for growth for many years.

Come on in, the water's lovely.
Books/ Websites I Recommend
There are lots of useful resources on the web, available at the click of a button.  I can't think of any that I particularly wish to mention.
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