Andreas Panagiotopoulos

March 14, 2018

To ensure our clients are purchasing high-quality products, work done by our developers needs to be verified. For this purpose, OTGS employs a team of In-development testers and Quality Assurance specialists.

Their role is very important and comes with significant responsibilities. Let’s meet one such tester and QA specialist – Andreas Panagiotopoulos from Argos, Greece. Andreas completed his Bachelor and 2 Masters at the university in Athens and, although his time at present is divided between Athens and Argos, he eventually plans to settle in Argos.

With friends at a club party

To be an efficient In-development tester and QA specialist, what is expected of you?

My role is to examine all the changes made by the development team and detect any errors or weaknesses in the code by running manual and/or Unit/Selenium tests. These are documented and reported back to the development team, then, when they are fixed, retested. If everything is ok and the changes meet the quality which has been defined, then the changes are merged in the main code of plugins. We don’t want clients running into difficulties and swamping our support teams with tickets! So, before each and every release we run special tests to ensure that the new version of the plugin will have the minimum impact on our customers. We have developed specific techniques for achieving this and we are improving these every day. Test cases are updated or added new, as needed, so we can refer to them at any time.

What is your advice for those who are interested in this kind of work?

They should know all the technologies WordPress is using (PHP, MySQL, Javascript, jQuery etc.) and also they should know how WordPress works. Apart from WPML and Toolset, it is also advantageous to understand how other compatible plugins and themes work in order to be able to test them properly with our plugins. Obviously, we cannot know everything, so reading the documentation and learning how in-depth code and GUI works helps us to run the tests properly when there are changes in the code. This is not always easy, especially when the time is urgently pressing.

How did you hear about OTGS? What were you doing before joining the company?

I began my working career with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and then worked for 4 years as a freelancer. I bought the WPML plugin for my customers. I remember clearly that in the summer of 2014 I received a newsletter from WPML inviting people to join the team. To be honest, I deleted the mail without reading it carefully. A few months later, in November, there was another newsletter from WPML, again inviting people to join. I forgot to delete it and after 2-3 weeks had gone by, I happened to open it by mistake, but this time I did read it carefully! I realized that this could be a good opportunity for me, but, was I too late? Had I had let too much time go by? I sent an email anyway and received a reply almost that very same day! A preliminary interview was scheduled followed by some technical testing, and here I am, working with the WPML Development Team since January 2015.

What is it really like to work remotely?

The main challenge is working with people from different countries, time zones, and cultures, but I can say this is also an advantage because by talking and getting to know people from all over the world I am learning so many things. The greatest advantage is that I can work anywhere I wish. In summer I can work by the sea and even in winter I can still get out of the house and work from a small coffee shop.

Just before a friendly match at the Olympic stadium, Athens
Following a practical routine is good discipline. Usually, I wake up in the morning at 8.00 and turn on the computer. I read my emails, check my tasks for the day and quickly handle any easy tasks remaining from the day before. At 9.00, after some doing some exercises and taking breakfast, it’s “Good morning” to all my team. At 10.20 we have our morning meeting to plan the activities of the day.

After that, I focus on my daily tasks and this is not always so straightforward. Some people unexpectedly may need my help or I may need to attend some other video calls because I also collaborate with people from other teams on certain tasks. Before I know it, I see the clock and it’s time to close for the day. Honestly, the days pass by very quickly – a good thing because it means I am never bored.

Working remotely doesn’t mean I don’t have opportunities to meet with my co-workers in person. For example, many of us are planning to attend WordCamp Europe in Serbia this year. WordCamps are great opportunities to really get to know the people behind those computer screens!

Dinner in Cyprus

It sounds as though working remotely absorbs all your time.

Quite the contrary! I have always been a person of hobbies – I enjoy basketball and taking part in traditional Greek dances. I am also a car and motorcycle enthusiast, but for the last 2 years, my favorite hobby is tennis. I like the game very much and I try to devote 2-3 hours a week to it. For now, I am still single, so no complaints on the home front! Friends and family are very important to me, so the weekends are devoted to them.

As with everything else in life, though, balance is the key to working cheerfully and staying that way! My plan is to continue working with OTGS for many years to come and by learning and sharing my knowledge, I hope I can help it to grow more and evolve.

OTGS aims to instill confidence in its plugins with dedicated teams of testers, just like Andreas Panagiotopoulos who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure clients are purchasing high-quality products.