What does a QA engineer at Coupang do?
We met with QA engineers working at Coupang’s development team and Coupang Eats team. What does a QA engineer do? What are some unique characteristics of a QA engineer at Coupang, a leader in Korea’s e-commerce industry? How are job interviews for Coupang QA engineers like? Why did they choose Coupang? We got the inside scoop firsthand.
Chack: Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Chack and I’m a QA engineer in the Coupang core development team.
Jin: Hi, I’m Jin, also working as a QA engineer in the Coupang core team.
Rachel: Hello, I’m Rachel from the Coupang Eats QA team.
The role of a QA engineer may sound a bit unfamiliar to some. What does a QA engineer do at Coupang?
Chack: QA (Quality Assurance) is a role that literally assures the quality of our products. In short, we are in charge of making sure products are made without defects. QA engineers test whether new features work before they are showcased to our customers, and collaborate with other teams to continue enhancing product quality. Every single feature that is served at Coupang went through QA’s quality test before being released.
Rachel: Coupang Eats QA engineers support three domains which are customer, merchant and delivery. Every QA engineer is responsible for understanding the requirements of each domain, coming up with test points and test cases, running tests and reporting any defects or risks identified in this process.
What are some unique characteristics of a Coupang QA engineer?
Jin: With Coupang being a key e-commerce player, you get to experience a wide range of domains including product, display, cart, checkout payment/return, delivery... etc. Since you are not limited to one domain, you can continue to have various work experiences. I think that experiencing a domain that is consumer facing, improving services with reflecting customers' voices keep me growing. Also, I’d like to note that Coupang follows a very quick development cycle from development, testing, and deployment. You will get to adapt to a fast work environment and new tasks swiftly.
Rachel: Some things unique to Coupang, and not common to all e-commerce platforms, are that you get to communicate with people in diverse roles, and set aggressive goals. There are also opportunities to work with offices in other countries such as China, America, India, and so on. We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with developers from different regions and languages as interpreters provide simultaneous interpretation assistance in real-time. I don't think this global work experience can be easily experienced anywhere else.
Could you tell us why you decided to work as a QA engineer at Coupang?
Jin: I had worked for multiple companies in the past before I got the great chance to join Coupang . Coupang is a major e-commerce leader growing at an astonishing rate. I thought I would gain valuable experience by contributing to that growth. I hear a lot about how Coupang makes customers convenient life. Whenever I hear positive feedbacks, I feel a sense of satisfaction in my work.
Rachel: I also believed that I could grow together with the Coupang Eats service. My impression of Coupang now is that it’s more open to defect sharing compared to other companies I’ve been with, which makes it easier for QAs to report issues. In my previous workplace, some people were defensive about the defects I found though that was my job. Most developers at Coupang are open about it.
I have only been with the Coupang Eats team since I came to Coupang. In general, the Coupang Eats team is very lively, which I haven’t experienced before but I really liked it.
As incumbents at Coupang, what are the benefits of working as a QA engineer here over another company?
Chack: Coupang’s core engineering team has a unique process of forming new full-stack teams every quarter. A full-stack team is composed of POs, designers, tech leads, backend engineers, android engineers, iOS engineers, business analysts, and QAs. As a team, we aim at building features to achieve the full-stack team’s goal.
Usually, QA engineers are assigned to a full-stack team and are responsible for the quality of all features released in the team. We get involved from the feature kickoff stage and share the team’s goals and results. QA engineers here don’t simply perform given tasks, but rather build the service together as a team. That’s what I see as the biggest merit of being a QA engineer at Coupang.
Could you describe the culture in which Coupang’s QA engineers work?
Chack: Coupang is a flat organization. Instead of simply performing a superior’s order, employees discuss and align before proceeding with the work. They can raise their concerns if they think ‘it is unreasonable’ or ‘this direction does not seem to be right.’ An attitude of acting with more enthusiastic and proactive thinking, I think this is a part of Coupang culture.
Rachel: Many people know that Coupang has an Agile culture. Ownership matters in Agile culture. That is why the individual ownership of the QAs are also deemed important in Coupang’s culture. Because multiple people rarely work on a single task together, there cannot be free riders by design. In other words, Coupang has a culture where everyone must have ownership.
Jin: The ratio of female QA engineers is considerably higher than males across our global offices. An organizational culture that considers women is also naturally formed. We also have a flexible organizational culture, and we discuss and negotiate with each other rather than top-down.
Why do you want to continue working at Coupang?
Chack: Coupang doesn't accept the status quo, but always tries to make improvements. At Coupang we aim high and try hard for a better future. We relentlessly contemplate for our customers, set hypotheses, and test them. We make release decisions based on clear data points from the test results. We can tell from this that Coupang’s success is inevitable. That is why I wish to continue to work for Coupang.
Jin: Coupang never stops thinking. We continuously wonder what we can learn from the previous task and what needs to be improved and incessantly try to make things better. All members of the team mull over together, pitch ideas, and strive for improvements. We constantly think from our customers’ perspective and I have learned a lot by putting all those ideas into a single process. That is why I want to stay with Coupang and be an engineer with a customer’s point of view in the future as well.
Rachel: As for me, working from home and flexible working hours first come to mind. When I have to leave my desk for 1-2 hours for errands such as a trip to the hospital or the bank, taking a half-day off feels like a waste of PTO. However, after joining Coupang, I was very happy that it was okay to start my day 1-2 hours late after sharing with team members. Also, I have been working from home ever since the COVID-19 crisis started. I love the work environment where I can manage my work flexibly and work from home 100% without any issues.
What kind of experience is required or preferred for Coupang’s QA engineers? Are there specific certificates required?
Chack: E-commerce experience is preferred and QA experience on web/app services is a must. Candidates should be proficient in basic QA work, such as planning tests, designing the test cases, and conducting tests. Certificates are not considered as important.
Also, it is important to continue to mull over and make attempts to improve test quality and processes. To enhance quality and productivity or to identify a problem, what data was analyzed in what way? What did you proactively initiate to address the problem? How did you measure success? It would be important to gain experience while keeping these questions in mind.
Jin: As Chack mentioned, although it is preferable for the candidate to have e-commerce experience, it is good to have QA experience in many different fields rather than just a single domain. Experience in various environments while thinking out of the box will train candidates to gain problem-solving skills and allow them to think faster. so I think that various experiences will definitely help you in your work. If you are competent enough, I believe that you will adapt well to QA work in Coupang, even if you are not from e-commerce. That is why various experiences are helpful. I agree that certificates are not that important.
Rachel: Basically, my answer can be summarized into having e-commerce experience, basic skill sets, and diverse experiences. By diverse experiences, I do not mean the number of projects, but the experience/learnings of mulling over or solving problems while working on projects. I highly recommend experiencing as much as possible.
Although having certificates such as ISTQB would be better than not having one, we do not judge candidates by their certificates. If candidates studied for certificates, it could be helpful for the interview, though.
What competencies are a must to work as a QA engineer at Coupang?
Rachel: As previously mentioned, it can be summarized into good communication skills, basic knowledge and experience as a QA (planning tests, designing test cases, conducting tests, etc.), enthusiastic and proactive behavior, problem analyzing, and solving skills. It would be nice to have automation experience but it is not required unless the candidate is applying for a Tech QA position.
Please introduce the recruitment process of Coupang QA Engineer. As an interviewer, what aspects do you consider important?
Chack: It could be because of the fear that comes from the interview itself or the number of interview sessions candidates would have. However, It is a misunderstanding that Coupang QA engineer interviews are difficult. I’d like to explain the interview process as an interviewer of the core organization. The first question we ask the candidates in an interview is their work experience. Candidates can answer questions on their own careers and work based on their resumes. Here, not only would we like to check the candidate’s communication skills, but also whether the candidate can adjust well at Coupang and what the candidate’s learning curve would look like.
Also, we assess how much the candidate coincides with the ‘Leadership Principles,’ which are Coupang’s values, by discussing the most complex project, difficult projects, and the efforts the candidate has made to address problems in his/her own career. Lastly, we ask questions to see if the candidate has basic QA knowledge.
Additionally, we ask candidates to design test cases as well. Although each problem can be different, test cases should include all requirements, consider the entire predictable test scope including edge cases, compatibility and regression, and be written with high readability. Candidates who applied for the Tech QA (QA automation, QA infrastructure) position may be asked to solve coding questions.
Lastly, any message you’d like to convey to the job seekers hesitant to apply to Coupang?
Chack: Coupang is a company that continues to grow. Please apply for Coupang if you want to be a part of creating this growth.
Jin: If you would like to grow at the pace of the ever-changing market, knock at Coupang’s door now. We will be welcoming you with open arms.
Rachel: Coupang Eats has as many opportunities as challenges. You never know when and how opportunities will come. Do not hesitate and apply now. I hope more new people can join us.