Stephanie Sasik majored in music and business management at Hamline University, then went to McNally Smith College of Music and got an associate degree in recording engineering. “I interned at a couple of recording studios and worked at a venue running live sound,” Sasik said. “A lot of small bands came through — not anything too big. But it was a lot of fun.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a lot of money. “I was working all these jobs. It was a little too much. It wasn’t paying the bills. There could have been some other options — move out of state — but I like Minnesota,” she said.
She started looking for alternatives. Sasik’s mother is a software engineer, and, Sasik confessed, “I was a nerdy kid. I had developed websites and done freelance work.” A family friend connected her to Tap QA, a consulting firm that specializes in helping get entry-level Quality Assurance analysts into the field.
“I went to one of their boot camps at the office where they taught me the ins and outs of quality assurance and prepped me for the first project,” Sasik said. “I had a bit of a technology background but the boot camp was really hands-on technology. “ She started her first project the day after finishing boot camp and just celebrated her third anniversary at Tap QA.
“I’m still doing music on the side — I still play guitar,” Sasik said. “I’m active going to a lot of concerts in the city.” For now, though, she plans to stick with consulting as a career. “It’s a fabulous way to get out and see more companies and more projects,” she said. “I like to learn new things all the time — it’s a perfect way to do that. Every project has a new tool to learn, a new business process to follow. It’s always changing.”
What does a quality assurance analyst do?
We’ll take the requirements, make sure all the bugs are worked out and also that the end application or program does what it was designed to do. A lot of people think it’s just working the bugs out, but there’s that whole other way of making sure it meets the end goal.
What traits do you need to be a good QA person?
You definitely need to be organized and very detail oriented. You’re going to cover every scenario possible. That could be hundreds of combinations. I definitely think that having an outgoing personality and the communications skills goes a long way. People think in IT you’re just sitting in front of a computer all day, but I spend a lot of time in meetings and working with someone to say, “Here’s what I found, here’s what needs to be done.”
Did any of your music skills transfer to your new career?
In recording engineering I had to understand all the layers — track all the instruments separately. That translates to QA. You have business requirements that all get mashed together in the code, but you have to make sure it’s all operating correctly. We’re understanding everything that’s going on behind the scenes — not just the code, but how it all comes together.
Is the demand for QA analysts still high?
I’m always hearing from people that there are new projects left and right, and I’m also having companies I’ve previously done projects for reach out to me to see if I’m available. □