At the beginning of 2015, Tascomi Tester Shelley Corrigan graduated from the Software Testers’ Academy at a ceremony hosted by Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry.

The 16 week long Academy, a joint programme between the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) for Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, trained 34 graduates with the skills and accredited qualifications identified by 21 participating employers for new job opportunities in their respective companies.

Shelley undertook the 16 week long academy last year and having completed a placement with Tascomi, we were delighted to offer Shelley a full-time position and welcome her to our Quality Assurance team.

A year on, Shelley took time out to tell us a little more about how she came to be involved with the Tester’s Academy and what her first year at Tascomi has been like:


Shelley, perhaps you could share a little about how you first heard about the Tester’s Academy and how you came to be involved?

I first heard about the Software Testers Academy through a company called Specialisterne; who work to enable jobs within the IT Sector for people on the Autistic Spectrum. Having studied an ‘Object Orientated’ Programming module in the final year of Biomedical Engineering degree at University, combined with my love of analytical type tasks – Software Testing seemed a great direction to go.

What did undertaking the Tester’s Academy involve? 

The Software Testers Academy offered 36 places on the course for IT and especially non-related IT, HND, degree or equivalent graduates. 18 places for the SERC Lisburn campus class and 18 places for the Belfast Metropolitan campus class. For me, the application process and assessment stages were undertaken through Specialisterne. However, other candidates would have gone through interview processes and completed online perception tests. The 16 week course was split into 10 weeks of training – (studying 8 modules) and then 6 weeks of placement. All modules had to be passed along with coursework. The ISTQB Foundation Certificate in Software Testing had to be taken in order to become a certified Software Tester.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the Tester’s Academy?

It is a great opportunity; especially for students that may not have studied IT related modules, plus you get to put these new skills into practice in a 6-week placement. Participants are also given the opportunity at the end of their placement period, to be interviewed for a job role by their placement companies.

Furthermore, there is a weekly allowance given to you during this training and placement period, which is a great benefit for participants that don’t have a job during the course.

What was your highlight from undertaking the Academy?

The highlight from undertaking the academy was that I got to learn more about the software life cycle and the many stages it undergoes. Not only did I get to learn more hands on programming, such as java, but we also learnt more about databases – how they are constructed, maintained and accessed. We touched on a bit of Computing and UNIX fundamentals too.

I thoroughly enjoyed undertaking the course and completing a placement with Tascomi. I am extremely grateful that Tascomi decided to bring me on board as part of the team.

How did you first learn about Tascomi?

Living close to Hillsborough, I have often passed Tascomi, however, I didn’t know anything about the company until I completed some research. Specialisterne gave me great recommendation of Tascomi and I also found out that they had previously taken on a participant in the previous Software Testing Academy and that Tascomi were one of the participating companies in the Academy. I managed to get a chat with Tascomi before starting with the Academy and I felt very comfortable at the prospect of working in their environment and interested in what they did. From the information provided and research undertaken, Tascomi sounded like a great place to work. Looking back, i’m extremely glad that I was successful in gaining Tascomi as my placement company.

What is your role within Tascomi and what does your daily day within Tascomi look like?

My role within Tascomi is a Software Tester (QA); a role within the Quality Assurance Team. My daily tasks involve going through support tickets from our customers, and sprint enhancement type tickets for our systems; ensuring that any fixes/improvements that have been made to the various systems by the software developers are functioning as they should. Also, ensuring that no other parts of the system have been affected by these changes.

How has Tascomi helped you in your career development?

I’ve currently been working through a ‘Selenium 2 Webdriver with Java’ online course, which Tascomi organised to enable me to gain experience with automated testing. They also hold regular training sessions on their various systems that I have been attending, as although I have been gaining experience of Tascomi’s system through my day to day work, the training sessions are still a great benefit!

What advice would you give to prospective Tascomi candidates?

Advice I would share to prospective Tascomi candidates would be to learn about the agile life cycle, find out more about what Tascomi do and what their aim is and finally to make sure that you are passionate about the job.

What are you enjoying most about Tascomi?

There are numerous things that I really enjoy about Tascomi. Mainly, I love working on tickets, as I get to analyse – something which I really enjoy. Other things I enjoy within Tascomi would be meeting new people who join the company, liaising with the developers, learning new skills and socialising with fellow employees; especially at Tascomi social events.

What do you find most challenging at Tascomi?

Sometimes I find some of the tickets challenging, whether it be due to understanding the customer’s requirements or dealing with a large ticket that requires lots of time and using your own initiative to test. Some tickets are urgent and so a quicker pace is required whilst ensuring you don’t miss anything important. I really enjoy the challenges though and overall find them very rewarding.

What have you gained from working at Tascomi?

Whilst working at Tascomi I have gained more confidence and made new friends. This used to be a weakness of mine, but the more opportunities I have had to socialise with colleagues, as well as customers at Tascomi events, the more confidence I have gained. I’ve learnt new IT skills and I’ve enhanced my own knowledge, which at the same time, has made me more eager to learn. I’m excited for what the future with Tascomi holds.

If you could switch your job with anyone else in Tascomi, whose job would you want?

If I could switch my job with another in Tascomi, I would like to try Software Development, as I have gained some knowledge of programing languages due to studying 2 programming languages in the past at University and at the Software Testing Academy.

Find out more about The Assured Skills Academy Model, a joint programme between the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) for Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.