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Katrina Clokie

Katrina Clokie is a Testing Coach at the Bank of New Zealand.

Photo of Katrina ClokieWhat do you do on an average work day?

Within the Digital business unit of BNZ there are more than 20 software testers who are part of creating our personal and business internet banking applications, our mobile banking applications, and our BNZ website. These testers verify that our applications behave correctly. They also explore the ways in which our applications might fail, and try to anticipate how people could intentionally or accidentally misuse them.

As a testing coach, my role is to support the testers. I provide guidance to individuals as they tackle testing problems. I facilitate the exchange of information between testers who work in different teams, and on different applications, so that they can help one another be better at what they do. I think strategically about our automated testing solutions, help individual testers to contribute code, and work to improve the value that we get from our tools. I read widely, anticipate future trends, and share information from the testing profession with the team.

What does this actually look like day-to-day? I spend most of my time communicating, whether it’s in meetings, emails, one-on-one conversations, instant messages, wiki, or via post-it notes!

What did you study at school? And after high school?

In my last year at high school I studied Accounting, Economics, Statistics, Japanese and English because I wanted to pursue a commerce related profession. On the tail of the dotcom boom, I enrolled in a Bachelor of eCommerce at the University of Waikato. One of my first year papers was an Introduction to Computer Science, which I loved so much that it prompted me to switch my degree to a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Science majoring in Software Engineering.

Was your study directly related to what you do now?

Yes, although I’ve changed disciplines within IT since I graduated. In my career so far I have worked as a software developer, a solution delivery engineer, a software tester and now a testing coach.

What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now?

It’s never too late to change your mind and choose a career in technology. For me, switching into a computer science degree with no previous experience in programming was challenging, but possible. Though some of my colleagues studied technology at high school, I also work among many people who have switched to IT from another career. There are a lot of different opportunities within IT that may be difficult to see from outside the industry. If you do spot something that excites you, no matter where you are in life, go for it! It’s a great profession to be a part of.

What are some of your career highlights so far?

When I reflect on my career so far the moments that stick out are mostly travel-related. I’ve been part of installing and testing mobile phone networks in Malaysia and Uruguay. I’ve spoken at testing conferences in New York and Estonia. I love being part of an industry that allows me to travel as a professional, which is a completely different experience to travel as a tourist.

Closer to home, I am really proud of my work to create a community of testers in New Zealand. The WeTest MeetUp groups, which I co-founded with Aaron Hodder, now reach over 900 testers who have signed up from Wellington and Auckland. We also recently published our tenth edition of Testing Trapeze, a software testing magazine for Australia & New Zealand, which I founded in January 2014.

Why do you believe engaging in STEM – whether it’s working in the field, studying it or just educating one’s self around the issues – is important to New Zealand?

I love being part of building software that people interact with day-to-day. It’s really satisfying to see the technology that I helped create being used in the real world. I engage in STEM because I want to be part of making these experiences enjoyable. I think banking feels less like a chore when you can login with your fingerprint on a mobile device and swipe money between your bank accounts!

If we weren’t engaged in STEM in New Zealand, we’d be solely reliant on technology that is designed and built in other countries, for an entirely different group of people. We would forfeit the opportunity for to innovate for ourselves and create technology that we love.

Why is it important to have more women working in STEM?

For the same reasons that it’s important for New Zealand to engage in STEM -- women should have the opportunity to innovate for ourselves and create technology that we love.

Katrina Clokie is a Testing Coach at the Bank of New Zealand.

This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM. 

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