Categories: Community

Contributor Spotlight: Parul Mathur

One of the current shining stars in the QA community is Parul Mathur, better known as Pragmatic. Her contributions go far beyond the WebQA team, and we are very happy to have her attention. Typically we gather information about our contributors and craft a post reflecting the areas they shine in. Parul took it one step further and wrote it all herself! We’d like to send a big Thanks to Parul for all of her hard work! In her words:

Real name: Parul Mathur

IRC handle: pragmatic

Github profile: http://github.com/pragmatictester

I have been contributing to Mozilla QA for about 6 months now. On average, I spend about 7 hours a week contributing to Mozilla QA, many of them on the weekend. I live and work in Mountain View, CA.

My connection with Mozilla started in the early days of my career as a professional QA engineer. I spent a lot of time testing web applications in several browsers: primarily Netscape and Internet Explorer on Windows, Linux and Mac. (When Safari was released in 2003, it was added to the roster.) When Firefox version 1.0 released in 2004 to tremendous community excitement, I switched to using it as my default browser for personal use, and continue to do so till today. I also use Thunderbird as my desktop mail client and RSS reader.

When I moved to Mountain View, CA in early 2011 to start a new work assignment, I finally saw a chance to give back to Mozilla. In July 2011, the Boot2Gecko project was announced and it grabbed my attention. I signed up for the B2G mailing lists and lurked in the #qa IRC channel.

In July 2012, the Firefox OS team requested community contributors to become QA stewards for certain areas within Firefox OS.

I answered that call and met Matt Brandt and John Hammink, quality assurance engineers on the Web QA and Firefox OS teams respectively.The first day I was at the Mozilla Mountain View office, a new test case management tool called MozTrap has just been released for internal use. I volunteered to be a guinea pig and ran the first-ever test suite!

I started out with testing the Firefox OS Music and Video apps, as well as the general bluetooth functionality. I read the specs, executed test cases and filed bugs. When Firefox OS launched at Mobile World Congress 2013, it was a realization of the hard work of a very large number of smart, dedicated people. I feel humbled to be part of that experience.

I continue to help out with Firefox OS testing efforts. I recently published a blog post on volume testing the Firefox OS Contacts app.

I also wrote a couple of automation scripts that test the search functionality of the Everything.me app.

I am currently helping to create a public information repository for Firefox OS after a request for contribution in this area.

Working with the QA team, I became aware of the need for a QA Taskboard so that community contributors can come in and start working on tasks that the QA team need help with. Matt Brandt and I sketched out some ideas on a napkin and then pitched them to the QA team. We received a lot of encouragement to move forward with our ideas.

With the support of Marcia Knous, the QA Community Manager, we showcased our ideas at various Mozilla events around the world. In November 2012, Zac Campbell led a session at the Mozilla Festival in London, UK, in which QA team members and community both listed out what they would like to see in the QA Taskboard.

In January 2013, I did a brownbag presentation at the Mozilla Space in Mountain View, which was recorded and is available on Air Mozilla.

In March 2013, Marcia Knous presented at the Community Building Meetup in Toronto, Canada while Delphine Lebédel presented in Spanish at Mozilla Hispano in Lima, Peru.

We’ve gathered a lot of good ideas and positive feedback from these sessions. We continue to work on the project, which is now called One and Done.The name reflects our goal to enable community to contribute to Mozilla QA – one task at a time, one day at a time – and feel good about it.

If you are new to Mozilla QA and interested in contributing, I would advise you to introduce yourself to the QA team members on the #qa IRC channel. You can also subscribe to QA mailing lists as contributor requests are frequently made there. The QA team members are friendly, and will take the time to answer your questions and get you started in an area of your interest. It is a joy to work with them because they are so enthusiastic and passionate about their work.

Get your name in the Mozillians phone book so that you can connect with people who volunteer their time to advance the Mozilla mission. Mozilla holds events worldwide, so if you can make it to one that is nearby, you will love the experience!

Though I am a professional Quality Assurance Engineer, that’s not how I started my career. I got into computers at the age of eight when a family member who was a computer salesman gifted me a PC running MS DOS. I wrote games in BASIC – flying rockets and ants wandering around a maze. A few years later, my grandfather gifted me a Sinclair ZX-81. I remember hooking it up to our color TV and playing a pirate game that was loaded from an audio tape cassette.

I progressed from programming in BASIC to Pascal and FORTRAN while studying science at college. At the start of the new millennium, I made my first acquaintance with a Linux distro and jumped into C/C++ programming. My first job involved writing C++ code for multiple Unix platforms. Then Java appeared on the horizon, with its promise of write once, run everywhere. Sun Microsystems with its tagline “The Network is the Computer” was the hot, new kid on the block.

Within a year, I picked up Java and my next job involved writing Java code for multiple Unix platforms. It was here that I accidentally got into testing.

One Friday evening, I was packing up to go home when my boss called me into his office and asked me if I could come into work over the weekend. There were some automation scripts to be written but the tester assigned to the job had fallen behind on the schedule. We needed to get 30 scripts out by Monday morning.

I explained that I’d never written test automation scripts before. My boss waved his hands dismissively in the air and said that the tester would help me get started. Come Saturday morning, the tester introduced me to Rational Robot, an automation testing tool that created scripts in Java. I picked up the tool pretty quickly. Working intensively on both Saturday and Sunday, we had the 30 test automation scripts done and ready to go.

When I came back to the office on Monday, my boss stopped me in the hallway and said that I would no longer be continuing in the development team. I was now assigned to the testing team on a permanent basis.

When I protested that I did not like this “reward” he pointed that he could hire Java developers a dime a dozen but automation testers were rare. He wagged his finger at me, “Better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven!”

I am still ruling in hell and we are still friends today.

You can see from her writing how awesome Parul is! Our team has really enjoyed the efforts of her work. Here are some comments from the WebQA team

Parul has amazing versatility and can adapt herself to any kind of work that needs to be done. ~Zac Campbell

and

Parul’s been an amazingly vibrant part of not only Web QA, but has worked throughout many parts of Mozilla’s QA org to help drive important projects such as One and Done, and had been invaluable in her help with many parts of the Firefox OS project, on the whole.  We’re lucky to have her continue to contribute and help keep us accountable for pushing forward more community involvement in many areas. ~ Stephen Donner

Thanks to Parul for all of her hard work. It’s a pleasure to have her as a contributor to our QA team[s]!

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