Problem-solver and network shark: Signe creates relationships wherever she goes
Signe Støttrup Jensen brought valuable experience from her own little catering business into her current role at Systematic. Her co-workers admire her ability to nurture her network, keep a cool overview and get things done.
Back in 2014, Signe started at Systematic without much prior IT experience immediately after completing her MSc in Information Technology from Aarhus University.
Alongside her studies, she had been running her own small catering business. Although there is no obvious link between being a self-employed caterer and a software tester, Signe spots common essential skills:
“I know it sounds like a world away from bits and bytes, but in my test manager role at Systematic, I use exactly the same skills set that I gained from cooking large quantities of food and serving coffee for many different people. I spend a lot of time each workday talking to various people and coordinating activities – just as I did in the catering business,” she says.
An action woman who gets things done
When Signe’s co-workers ask her for help, she immediately assumes responsibility for getting the task done. Signe’s colleague Mia Tilsted describes her as the kind of person who helps with everything she possibly can:
“She throws herself into problem-solving, whether it falls within her area of responsibility or not. She makes things happen, and she doesn’t hold back from contributing to the process herself.”
In a relatively short time, Signe has been promoted from being a tester to being a full-time test manager, and is now working on one of the biggest projects within Defence:
“We started out being two test managers on two projects, but after a short period of time and without much experience, Signe took on both projects. She quickly took responsibility, and did an excellent job,” says Mia Tilsted.
Signe is now test manager for four projects in all. Therefore, she has to watch her step to manoeuvre in what is often a hectic environment. Signe’s colleague Søren Stiig Hansen emphasises the importance of creating an overview in chaotic projects:
“A test manager must be particularly good at keeping several balls in the air and able to organise things relatively quickly – which Signe does extremely well.”
According to her co-workers, Signe’s organisational skills are in fact one of her key strengths:
“She manages to concretise complex and fluid tasks and bring them down to earth by making the content understandable. She is particularly good at creating an overview by collecting and sorting test data in Excel sheets so that it becomes tangible for others,” says Mia Tilsted.
Signe explains that she is a tester by heart, and according to her, testers love lists. She finds great satisfaction in having time for herself to tick off tasks on her to-do list:
“Whether it’s completing a Wiki description of some of our test processes, getting new graphs for monitoring our system test up and running in eazyBI, or putting historical data from previous development phases into use to help us improve the way we work and plan, it’s always nice to see something ‘measurable’ being completed,” she says.
The glue that binds the team together
It is clear that Signe is a very popular and well-liked colleague who arrives for work every day bursting with goodwill for her co-workers. Her colleague Mia Tilsted describes Signe as “the glue that binds the team together”. Signe herself, however, makes no secret of the fact that it is her colleagues who motivate her to do her best every day:
“It’s important for me that when I leave the office in the afternoon that I’ve spent the day having stimulating and inspiring talks and meetings with the very skilled people with whom I’m lucky enough to be working,” she says.
It is not only her relations with the colleagues in her current team that Signe cherishes. She also takes pride in nurturing her working relationships elsewhere – which is reflected in her internal network, which extends right across the organisation. She still enjoys close working relations with colleagues from previous projects at Systematic:
“She is by no means out of the loop in relation to her former colleagues, even though she is now working in a new department. She has created a valuable professional network that she actively uses in her daily work,” says Mia Tilsted.
Signe also meets up with her colleagues after hours – here she brings her problem-solving skills into play when the group tackles puzzles and missions in escape games.
When asked for one piece of advice for other women wanting to work with tech and IT, Signe replies:
“Actually, I’d rather give a piece of advice to anyone who is not considering doing so,” before continuing:
“Delivering good quality software requires people with advanced technical skills. However, there are so many more dimensions to the IT industry and the various tasks and challenges associated with software development. There is also a big need for competencies within aesthetics and design, human psychology and anthropology, and management and leadership. There are numerous career paths to choose from in the industry, with exciting opportunities to develop and specialise along the way.”
Name: Signe Støttrup Jensen
Position at Systematic: Test manager at SitaWare Mobile in Defence
Educational background: MSc in Information Technology
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