Tech in the Tron

A glimpse into life as a test engineer in the Waikato

Senior test engineer Racheal Morrison relocated to Cambridge to advance her tech career and hasn’t looked back. Discover what life in the Waikato looks like for Racheal now, in her words.

A day in my tech world

As a senior test engineer at Tuatahi First Fibre, my days are a whirlwind of activity. I’m an automation tester and currently knee-deep in a big project that involves standing up and migrating an entire platform, along with new hardware, applications and integrations. This includes provisioning all the way to activation. 

I usually start the morning with an app interface test or ‘API smoke test’ to verify system functionality before attending our daily scrum meeting where we review the team’s progress and check what work’s coming my way. 

Then I get stuck into testing. This includes taking charge of a ‘card’ (task) from our Agile board. Then diving into specifics, reading through notes, and occasionally snooping in development to see how the system works. 

I then decide on different testing angles – making sure it works right and checking what happens if it doesn’t. I run these tests, jot down my observations and update the task. 

If I spot an issue, I send it back to the relevant tech wizard. Otherwise, I green light it and move to the next task.   

Aside from this, my days are also filled with lots of communication and collaboration to make sure we’re all aligned.  

One thing I love about Tuatahi is the positive team vibe – we have fun and feel safe to be honest about how things are going, which is so important. 

Championing automation at Tuatahi

As part of my role, I’m on a knowledge building journey for test automation to discover what tools best provide confidence in the new platform. 

I’ve been able to integrate and automate information from our customer facing system to our back-end system. And that’s been a real game-changer because it improves testing capability, gets information across faster and validates it along the way. 

Rachel with her team at Tuatahi First

Racheal discusses a variety of test angles with her team at Tuatahi First Fibre.

My tech journey

My tech journey started back in the ‘90s as a young “cadet” as they used to call us (or data analyst) for Datamail, a subsidiary of NZ Post in Wellington.  

Back then, we manually processed bulk mail, entering each document into the system – essentially doing the job that an app does today.  

From there, I joined Telecom as a test administrator initially on the Number Portability Project which involved transferring landline and mobile numbers to a new provider. I ended up becoming the defect manager, a games tester and then worked on decommissioning some of the networks. 

I ended up relocating to Rotorua for love, after moving around a few other tech jobs in Wellington. Then, after a stint as an automation tester at Cucumber in Tauranga, I was offered a job at Shift72 in Hamilton. 

Making moves to the Waikato

My husband started his job in Cambridge in the same week I started at Shift72. We commuted for some time, but it soon became obvious we should make the move and we managed to snag our dream home in Cambridge not long before I made the move to Tuatahi.  

When I first moved to Waikato, of course it was daunting. Like most people starting a new job, imposter syndrome wasn’t far away. But I remember feeling that little boost of confidence walking into the Tuatahi office on my first day and feeling like it was a familiar environment. I thought ‘I know this world. I can do this’. 

Opportunities for growth in the region

There are plenty of diverse tech opportunities in Hamilton and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many I’ve been exposed to. 

When I joined Shift72, it was still in startup phase which gave me access to areas within the development and deployment process that I would never have got in a larger company. And likewise, at Tuatahi, my learnings from test automation discovery have taught me so much in terms of building test automation capability, essentially defining a Tuatahi way. The opportunity to do the discovery work also meant I was able to gain my Micro-Accreditation in Automation Test Framework, which is great for my career progression.

From startup insights to pioneering test automation, Racheal has explored different tech opportunities in Hamilton.

My unique lifestyle

One of the perks of working at tech companies in Hamilton is the flexibility to work from home, which I never had in other roles.  

Nowadays, I travel into the office from our lifestyle property in Cambridge once or twice a week, which takes around 30 minutes. And my husband’s work is just 10 minutes away. 

Moving to Waikato meant we were able to purchase a lifestyle property in Cambridge. We graze sheep and grow our own hops for brewing beer and use companion planting to keep my hops happy. 

With lots of trees and shrubs on our property, our weekends are often spent on that. Otherwise, we love exploring breweries, trying craft beer, and taking adventures to different towns and spots across the region. 

I’m living a lifestyle I could never have dreamed of before coming here. 

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