Hi, my name is Vladimir Petrov and I am a Software Test Engineer at ShapeBlue. I started 10 months ago and have now been here long enough to share my ‘first impressions’ with you.

Let me start with some background. I have been involved with computers since I was 10 years old, and I started my professional career as a system administrator 20 years ago, switching to Quality Assurance (QA) 3 years later. I worked for several different companies (big ones like SAP and small startups); tried different industries (finance, e-commerce, communications) and different roles (manual and automation QA, team lead and Quality Manager). What I really like in my job is that it has so many different aspects: functional, security, performance, stress, usability, and other types of testing. It also requires knowledge of many different technologies and tools – you constantly need to learn new things.

Not everything is work though – I have many hobbies for my free time: reading, guitar playing, video gaming, photography, electronics and sports. My family is the most important thing in my life – I have two boys and we really love spending time together.

I am a big fan of open source software and the communities that surround it (I’ve been using Linux since before Windows was even a thing). Therefore, I was really interested when one day a friend of mine told me that the company he works for is hiring, and that they are major contributors to an open source project. This is how I found ShapeBlue. I did not have enough experience in cloud technologies, so I saw it as a nice opportunity to expand my knowledge in the area, and after several talks and interviews with the management I joined the company. This was a real game-changer for me having never worked remotely before, and I wondered if it would work for me. I knew I’d miss the conversations, the office atmosphere, working together in a team with colleagues and the friendships you develop during the process. It turned out the benefits of working from wherever you want far outweigh the drawbacks. Having full control of your working environment is priceless – less distractions from others’ conversations and usual office noises, no more negotiations about the A/C temperature settings, avoiding viruses during the flu season, listening to your kind of music while working… and many more positives. If the weather is fine, you can work from a coffee shop, park or even the seashore. Flexible working time is also very convenient – you can run some errands or even take a break when needed and then continue with your work later in the evening.

The first six months in a new company is always very challenging – but also the most interesting. You meet many new people, learn a lot, and even make new friendships. It was a pleasant surprise that all my colleagues are very friendly and ready to help. ShapeBlue also offers dedicated in-house initial training which makes learning faster. Sometimes, there are decisions to be made and you feel like a part of a big family when you initiate a discussion with your colleagues and reach a final agreement together. It is very easy to forget the physical distances and cultural differences when you work together to reach a common goal. It’s being a part of an international team of different people working from all around the globe makes this experience so unique.

My first testing project was the new Apache CloudStack UI (Primate) and it was a great experience to compare with the old one and realize how much it was being improved and then to see the reactions of the community when the first demo was presented. This is the thing I find the most motivating – everything you do stays forever in the open source community. Some of the projects I have worked on in my previous jobs were dropped because the market did not accept them, and some of the companies even went out of business – meaning all the time you invested working on a project turns out to be useless. This is not the case when contributing to the community – and you really feel like you have left a small trace in the world of the software technologies.

Stay tuned for more insights and choose open source solutions wherever you can!