As a Senior Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer, Cathy Nguyen’s role is to ensure that Tanium products are thoroughly tested and held to high standards before being released into customers’ hands. On International Women in Engineering Day, which promotes the talents and achievements of women engineers worldwide, Cathy’s role in engineering embodies all that we celebrate when we think of women in STEM.
In 2021, the Women’s Engineering Society reported that only 16.5% of engineers were women. Representation matters, which is why highlighting Cathy’s journey enables other women to learn about the intellectual, financial, and emotional rewards of a career in engineering. Here’s our Q&A with Cathy that sheds more light on her journey as an engineer and career at Tanium.
Tell us about your background and the journey that brought you to where you are today.
Cathy Nguyen: I went to school at Kettering University in Michigan for computer science. The school is known for ensuring students get hands-on experience in the STEM fields. As a student, I was introduced to software testing through co-op jobs at Rockwell Software and NIST. Before joining Tanium, I spent several years as a QA Engineer at Salesforce and then spent two years consulting as a test engineer in the government sector.
I had never heard of Tanium but knew I wanted to work on an interesting and innovative product. When I discovered this opportunity, I researched the company and was happy to learn it plays a valuable role in today’s world and helps make businesses safer; these aspects appealed to me. While complex, the platform also looked well organized and came with a thriving user community. So fifteen months ago, I officially joined Tanium as a Senior QA Engineer.
Can you walk us through a typical day at Tanium as a QA Engineer?
Cathy Nguyen: I usually start my day by reviewing results from automated tests to check for any failures that might be associated with our test scripts or environment. If there are problems, I check with other team members and escalate as needed. Next, I look for JIRA tickets assigned to me that indicate some aspect of the software is ready for testing; these tickets are how we track the engineering work we need to do. I verify that the software works as expected and provide feedback to the team. If we find problems, we want to document them quickly so that the development or design team can fix them as soon as possible. Catching and resolving issues early in the process actually helps us deliver high-quality products to our customers faster.
Can you describe what it’s like working in the QA department at Tanium?
Cathy Nguyen: I am one of 28 working in our QA Engineering team. However, I spend most of my time working with a cross-functional Scrum team focused on a module or product area. This means I work with developers, subject matter experts, product managers, designers, and other stakeholders to ensure we properly test all aspects of the product.
Another interesting aspect of our team is that we want it to be easy for anyone at Tanium to report that they’ve found a bug. We have a QA Slack channel where anyone can mention an issue they’ve discovered. We are all in — even our CEO tests the product! I think anyone who spends some time testing gains valuable product knowledge.
What do you appreciate most about working for Tanium?
Cathy Nguyen: This might be a commonly given answer, but the people at Tanium really make it a great place to work. Although I work remotely, I had the opportunity to meet nine people from my Scrum team in person for a planning meeting in Denver last November. After working with them for six months, it was great to get a chance to connect with them face-to-face. They are just as nice in person as they are on our video calls.
Is there anyone at Tanium who stands out as a mentor or has pushed you to be your best?
Cathy Nguyen: The senior buddy program at Tanium is great. When I first joined the company, I was in meetings where people were throwing out acronyms and scanning logs at lightning speed. I appreciated that my buddy took time out of his busy schedule to chat with me once a week for the first couple of months to help me get adjusted.
“Inside Tanium” is part of a series that highlights the people and culture of Tanium. To learn more about Tanium and explore our range of career opportunities, visit our Tanium Careers page.