Meet Alvaro Laserna López — Head of Research and Development at TestDevLab

Meet Alvaro Laserna López — Head of Research and Development at TestDevLab

We are excited to introduce Alvaro Laserna López, Head of Research and Development at TestDevLab. Based in Valencia, Spain—but soon-to-be a Malaga local—Alvaro is a true go-getter with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Even though he holds a Master’s degree in Space Science and Technology, plays the piano, and composes music, his greatest passion is computer science. As Head of Research and Development at TestDevLab, Alvaro has experience working with some of the most renowned companies on world-class products.

When he’s not busy working on exciting projects, Alvaro loves spending time outdoors—hiking, going to the beach, traveling, playing sports, or simply hanging out with friends.

We recently caught up with Alvaro to find out more about him, his new role at TestDevLab as Head of Research and Development, and some of his greatest moments in the company so far.

When did you join TestDevLab and how would you describe your early days here?

I joined TestDevLab in 2018 as a QA intern and actually moved to Latvia to work from the Ventspils office. To be honest, even though I was a bit clueless about what I was getting myself into, I was extremely excited to learn more about QA and programming, and I was very lucky to meet some amazing colleagues, not only from my team but also from the whole office. They included me in their board game nights, watching shows after work, and having fun whenever we could. But at the same time, I was determined to enhance my skills and knowledge. I was signing up for all the internal courses, learning, asking questions, and developing new libraries and frameworks in my free time.

What does your daily work routine look like?

My daily routine consists of meetings with different people and teams, syncing with my teammates, fixing bugs from the different frameworks and tools that I’ve built over the years, and also creating new features or tools so that others can use them to improve their pipelines. My routine is not so constant, as I get all kinds of different requests from different teams, and I need to figure out how to fix/solve them or find the person that can deal with them. I like my job a lot because it’s not repetitive and requires me to think outside the box to find solutions. It’s like solving a puzzle. This is why I eventually got myself leading R&D. I was already doing it, but it was time to formalize a team around it so that I could do it more efficiently.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part is a mix between the riddles I have to solve and the people I solve them with. Because as much as I want to do everything, I need specialized people to make the product better and more usable, and thankfully, I am surrounded by such intelligent and awesome people. We often communicate with memes and gifs, and those little things make my day so much better.

What are some of your most significant achievements working at TestDevLab?

We’ve accomplished many great things together, starting from my first open-source automation projects—TestUI and Py-TestUI. Then we started building our audio and video testing team, and I think that has been one of our greatest successes so far. We started out with a team of 3-4 people and I was the only automation engineer. In less than two years the audio and video team has increased to be almost one third of the company, and includes plenty of automation engineers. We developed TestRay to ease the pipelines and we are now developing new quality metrics from the R&D department, which is very exciting as it is already giving very promising results.

What will you do now in your new role to help the company grow even further?

I have always been committed to making the company grow as fast as possible by helping improve processes and practices. From day one I have been creating new things, but in my new role I will finally have the means to do it more efficiently. So now I will focus on developing new things that will help all the QA engineers to do their job better and faster. We are already tasked with investigating and improving the processes in the audio and video department, however, we are also working on building new frameworks and implementing new features to the existing ones so that we can improve our automation scripts and procedures.

What has been your greatest career challenge so far?

I think the biggest challenge for me so far was figuring out how to grow and improve the audio and video department. When I started, there was a bit of code for automation, but it was for semi-automated pipelines. So first I needed to figure out how to orchestrate multiple devices in a call, then record them, and lastly, analyze the data. But this is not all. With the huge amount of data reported by the automation, we needed to create something to visualize it and sort it, so that we can deliver that to clients without manually creating reports. For that reason, I also started building what we eventually called “benchmarking portal” or “the portal” which sounds like some science fiction thing. Everything started coming together and I am very happy that other projects were born out of what I did back then.

Who has been the biggest support throughout your career?

I am not sure if there is just one single person to credit for that because at different times I have had different people to help me and support me. My parents, family and friends are probably the ones that have always supported me, but within TestDevLab I have had different people support me throughout the years. For example, at the beginning I was working from Venstpils’ office and these people are amazing, they made my work days so fun and nice. I will also mention the people from Riga’s office, they rock too! Then Andrejs and Ervins, the CEOs, they have always listened to me and helped turn my ideas into reality, so I can’t thank them enough for that.

Do you have any advice/tips for TestDevLab newcomers?

Learn and ask as much as you can, this company will give you all the tools to grow and become the best you can be in the IT field you want to be in. This is what I did from the very beginning and I went from intern to Head of Research and Development. Now I keep asking and learning, but I also teach and mentor all the people that want to get some insights about what I’ve learnt throughout these years. It is very important for me to share my knowledge and help others with their own projects and careers.

What skill do you think everyone should learn?

Probably something related to communication. Being a good communicator or speaker is probably one of the most important skills you should possess if you want to grow and become better at what you do. This is because we are social beings, and creating trust and establishing new friendships/partnerships gives you the opportunity to learn and grow faster than you could ever do by yourself.

If you weren’t working in IT what would you be doing?

I would probably be either composing music, playing piano, or doing a PhD in astrophysics. Right before I started working at TestDevLab, I completed a master’s in Space Science and Technology, and the next step was to start a PhD but I wanted to do something different, so here I am.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that not many people may know.

I am not so fond of video games but I love Crash Bandicoot (I also like the silly winning dance that the character does) and Ratchet and Clank.

What couldn’t you live without?

Probably air. But if we think of something not so life threatening, then a reasonable distance to a beach. I couldn’t imagine living too far away from the beach. I love going there, the sound of the waves, and having a swim. Just add a cocktail into the mix and what else could you possibly need?

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

There are way too many things, starting from having a good rest to going hiking, to the beach, or on spontaneous trips to any town or city, Then there’s having drinks with friends, listening to music or podcasts, playing the piano, composing songs… and so much more.

What is your motto or personal mantra?

Be nice but don’t get fooled.

How do you define success?

If you are happy with what you are doing and earn a decent living, then you are already successful. I don’t think success is about getting the best thing, it is about getting the thing that is best for you. The moment you start comparing yourself to others, that just weighs you down. It’s good to know what’s out there, but use that information in your favor.

Ready to take your career to the next level? Be a part of something amazing. Check out our open positions and join our team.

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