Dimitris Mitsis

November 9, 2017

Who dares to step into Andrea’s shoes when he’s on vacation?
Who introduced CodeCeption integration tests?
Read on…

It’s 9.00am. Dimitris Mitsis quickly makes sure he’s online and visible to his teammates so they won’t file a missing-person report – it’s happened before!

Well, that’s a good start to the day, Dimitri! Then what?

First, I review the tests report. I’ve configured the automated tests to run daily so usually, I spent the first minutes of my day trying to verify if a Developer has messed up somewhere. Next, I note the plan of the day in writing and then I get started with the first pending testing tickets (bug-fixes or feature tasks).  I manage to test a couple of tickets before I need to get up to brew a really huge coffee.  I make a miserable attempt to fix my hair just in time to join our daily team meeting. Luckily after the meeting, my work doesn’t always follow a routine, so I can choose what to focus on. My team has implicit trust in me!

When did you join OTGS?

I joined in December 2014, so I have been here for almost 3 years now.  Before that, I was working as a freelancer, mainly assisting my father and his clients in all kinds of IT support jobs and server administration work. I come from a family of programmers; both my mother and father are Computer Science engineers. My father was also a university professor so he has been my mentor from my earliest steps into the binary world. In fact, I was so fascinated by computers that even as a young boy I had already decided to follow in his footsteps.  How young? Imagine, I asked my parents to enroll me into English teaching courses when I was 6 years old to so I could better understand the computer errors I was causing!

At some point during my college years, I got involved with creating websites and internet solutions. That’s when I first “heard” of WPML.  It’s a familiar story.  Following a client’s request, I needed to do some research on how to establish a multilingual, robust internet solution. That’s when I ran across WPML.  I cross-checked countless reviews just to see what people were actually using. Then I decided to buy the plugin for myself.

A couple of years later, I received an email from a company unknown to me back then called “OnTheGoSystems” informing me about some open positions. I replied and before I knew it, I had a call arranged with Laura, our COO.

Before you continue, we’d like to hear more about yourself

WCEU 2017

Well, I was born and raised in Athens, in one of the northernmost suburbs called Peristeri.  Athens is a densely populated city sprawling across a central plain between 4 large mountains.  Within this basin are a number of hills you may have heard of  – the famous Acropolis, Mars Hill (Areopagus), Likavitos.  Thousands of narrow streets intersect each other. Traffic is always very heavy and it’s almost impossible to find parking in the congested roads.

Peristeri is close to the forest and although not so congested, it is still part of the continuous built up area.  The streets are lined on both sides with 3-4 storey high apartment buildings making them look even narrower especially on market day.  Colorful stalls piled high with home grown produce literally make the streets impassable even for pedestrians! The neighborhoods are friendly, but often restless and noisy.  It’s not unusual to hear housewives loudly shouting protests because water is spilling off the higher balconies to the ones below, or some other such inconvenience.

I like what Athens has to offer, especially its nightlife.  Tables and chairs spill out of the local restaurants onto the pavements. Motorbikes and bicycles line both sides of the streets outside mezedopoleia (tavernas).  Athenians love to gather around small tables drinking coffee or ouzo – good food, wine and live music especially in the old city in Monastiraki or in the narrow back streets of Plaka at the foot of the Acropolis. But if I could, I would like to be living somewhere quieter and less overcrowded.

I also have one crazy brother, who’s a dental student and has broken the family’s computing tradition. He’s my volleyball teammate. From children, we’ve always been involved with sports – swimming, ping-pong, basketball and especially amateur volleyball.

Getting back to your role here at OTGS, what does it involve?

When I first joined, my role was mainly about running manual tests. My task was to try and break the code that a Developer proposed or try and find areas that might be affected by his changes. In short, we call this role: In-Dev Tester.  It’s a weird relationship.  It exists to create a healthy tension and can be described this way:

A healthy development team is one that has engineers doing their best to build a great product. These engineers pair with a team of QA engineers who do their best to prove that their product isn’t so great after all.  http://randsinrepose.com/archives/the-qa-mindset/

Later, I was assigned with the responsibility of QA: the set of manual tests that we perform before making a new release.  At some point, during an iteration, I remember how freaked out I was because of having to repeat the same tests over and over again.  I became obsessed to find and adjust an automated-tests framework for internal use. Shortly after, I found Codeception which I had to extend so that we can use it in our daily work. Eventually, by using this framework we replaced the majority of our QA tests. We significantly reduced our release cycles and personally, I got a better night’s sleep before release day.

Now, I’m also responsible for performance tests, for closing a release-cycle and for assisting Andrea, our Team Leader, with some of the management tasks.  In general, my work and responsibilities have improved a lot during the few years that I’ve been in OTGS and I’m certainly grateful and happy that we’re able to provide a stable product to our clients.

What are some of the challenges and advantages in your work?

One of the very few challenges that I can think of is the stress involved with being responsible for releases and for giving the final thumbs-up before publishing a release. This has been reduced a lot though with automated-tests and simple checklists.  Another challenge is trying to cover multiple environments for testing, but I’m working on that for the near future. Mainly, the best advantages I can recall are having the opportunity to work and research new tools, having flexible working hours and learning something new every day.

What about the people you work with?

Ina and I at WCEU
One thing that really amazed me during my first month of training was how much everyone was willing to help. This has admittedly changed my working mentality so I try to give back as much as possible. I have really come to appreciate the professionalism of every member of my Team and the opportunities I’ve had to meet all these great personalities from all over the world.  Once a year, the Company arranges events where we can all work together face to face and even have time for fun and relaxation.  Also, I must mention the WordPress events such as  WCEU Vienna, WCEU Paris and of course WC Athens! I’ll never forget that first feeling entering a room and seeing all those familiar faces :)

What are your hopes for the future?

My girlfriend, Ina, and I are giving serious thought of moving away from Greece, although we have not settled on a definite destination yet.  There is a lot to take into consideration. How long should we plan for – 4-5years?  Then there are visa applications, tax concerns and many other formalities.

As far as my career is concerned, when the time is right, my goal is to become a Developer.