Paving the way to a better Zap: a chat with Alla Rodina
Those who can do, do; those who can’t, teach. And then there’s Alla Rodina, who can do it all. As ZapLabs’ QA Team Lead, Alla uses her inner teacher to test Zap’s features, uncover any flaws, and then implement solutions to make the product even better.
How long have you been with the company?
“10 years—I started off as a QA engineer, then senior QA, and now I am the QA Team Lead”
Tell us a bit about what you do here.
“QA needs to test everything from the user’s point of view,” Alla told us. Alla takes on more complicated tickets for testing, raises questions that project managers may not raise, and gives feedback to improve the process. “We want to be sure that new features won’t break existing features,” she explained.
As a Lead QA Engineer, she’s also responsible for making sure her team can effectively keep up with the workload. “We have releases often. My job is to create a good environment so that everyone is not under stress before the releases.”
Why do you like what you do?
Alla was a high school math teacher in her native country, Belarus. When she moved to the United States in 1994, she enrolled in English and computer classes in San Francisco. “I realized then that I really liked working with computers,” she recalled.
Alla’s role in QA parallels her previous experience in the classroom. “As a teacher, your job is to check your student’s understanding of what you delivered. You explain their mistakes by going back and reproducing the steps they took to arrive at the solution. It’s the same with QA. Developers will find the solution because you discovered the problem.”
Why do you like working at ZapLabs?
“Everyone says the people—of course, that’s true—but what I like the most about ZapLabs is the freedom we have,” said Alla.
Alla makes an effort to connect with every member of her team to find out what they like—and what they don’t like—in order to create an even better work environment.
What are your hopes for the product in the future?
Alla has been part of Zap’s growth from the very beginning. “A lot of the things that I dreamed for Zap we already have—such as a product management team.”
Alla’s hope for the future is to get agents to start using Zap and more and more. “Zap is a wonderful product, you just need to use it, give us feedback, and we’ll improve,” Alla said with confidence.
What role does technology play in your life?
“Technology is my whole life—I work for a tech company!” Alla laughed. Back when she lived in the Soviet Union (where technology was sparse), Alla was always searching for something to optimize. “I didn’t want to beat eggs by hand, so I looked for a mixer. Technology makes life easier, that’s the whole point.”
What do you do for fun?
Walking and hiking is a big part of Alla’s life. “I walk about 5-6 miles a day. I walk in the morning around Emeryville and if there’s good weather when I come home, I walk with my neighbors.” She also enjoys reading history books, watching history shows, and cross country skiing.
What would your dream home look like?
When Alla first came to the United States, she encountered the idea of a “dream home”. “I wasn’t interested in owning a big house, I was too tired from working!” she told us. She bought a condo about 15 years ago that she very much enjoys. “I have a view of the ocean—our place is on a hill overlooking South San Francisco. The view is the most important home feature.”
When asked if there were any features that she would like to add, she replied, “More space to provide privacy for guests like my brother when he visits from Belarus. I would also like to have a two car garage and my own small gym for rainy days.”
What is your favorite quote?
“Every week we pick a new quote for our QA document—it helps motivate everyone!” Alla particularly liked that week’s quote:
“In the new year, never forget to thank your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!” —Mehmet Murat İldan
You’ll never find a solution if you can’t identify the problem. Thanks to Alla’s problem-solving abilities and thought-provoking questions, Zap will continue improving each and every day.
Christine is a Marketing Copywriter at ZapLabs, focused on creating engaging original content such as Community articles, case studies and email campaigns. Christine also manages Zap and ZapLabs’ social media channels, curating news and tips to a growing agent user base and prospective candidates.