Meet Srividya: Our Automation Superstar

  • Published:
    May 9, 2023
  • Category:
    Apprentice All-Stars
“To figure out your career path, my recommendation is to find a challenge you enjoy solving. For me, that’s automation. Anything that can be automated, should be — to reduce burden and increase accuracy by removing the possibility of human error.”

Get to Know Srividya

What motivates you? Being part of a company that’s striving to make a huge difference in peoples’ lives — directly, in a positive way. That’s my main motivation.

And on a daily basis, I’m inspired by my colleagues — our Amazing Test Automation and QA Team who believe in nothing but excellence!

What’s your work superpower? As an automation engineer, my team and I are extremely critical of our product quality, so that our customers can have a great experience with the product. The automation test scripts that we build are continuously run to ensure the product ships as quickly as possible and with no defects.

What’s your non-work superpower? My ability to “unlearn” so that I can adapt and adjust to new environments. I was born and raised in Chennai, India, so when I moved to the US, there were so many changes — the culture, the climate, the career landscape. This forced me to learn how to “unlearn” what I was used to, so I could adapt to new experiences and make the most of them.

“When you unlearn what you’re used to, it lets you adapt and adjust to new experiences.”

When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in engineering? For me, it was a series of coincidences. To figure out your career path, my recommendation is to find a challenge you enjoy solving. I learned that I really enjoyed the challenges I found in automation engineering.

What’s automation engineering? In a nutshell, trying to automate as many parts as you can from a manual process. Anything that can be automated, should be — to reduce burden and increase accuracy by removing the possibility of human error.

How do you spend your free time? I like to spend time outdoors with my family, exploring new places. Since I’m based in the Pacific Northwest, I’m in the perfect spot to explore new places. I have a six-year-old son, and there’s a baby on the way who’ll arrive later this spring!

What’s your take on how to achieve work/life balance? I think smart work is key — knowing the right level of effort that every situation requires. To maintain work/life balance, you need to learn how to work in a smart way. So that you don’t burn yourself out, so that you can keep that momentum going.

Any type of physical activity is huge, especially in tech. We’re all hunched over laptops all day — it’s important to take a moment to stretch! For me personally, yoga has helped me to calm down and bridge the mind/body connection.

Where do you like to travel? I’m a nature lover, so I’d like to travel to places that are calm and not too crowded. Luckily I’m in the perfect spot for that, the Pacific Northwest, where access to mountains and beaches is easy. There are so many lovely scenic places here — waterfalls, parks, the ocean. And it’s all very accessible. You can reach the coast in an hour!

Creative Endeavors: Food + Art

I think that hobbies are so important for relaxation and creative expression. For me, cooking and painting are my two favorite ways to unwind after a long day at work.

I love getting creative with fruit/nut pies and homemade pizzas:

And I adore the cuisine of my native India as well. Who doesn’t love a mango lassi?

 For painting, the sky’s the limit! Lately I’ve been drawn to capturing detailed still life close-ups:

And I’ll never tire of painting natural landscapes, especially when they include the sun’s reflection on the water:

Last, I’d like to share a piece of artwork that I made in a traditional art form called Kalamkari. This ancient technique involves the use of pen and vegetable dyes to create bold, bright patterns. Basic Primary colors are generally used in this type of art.

Kalamkari is also popular in the textile industry, as they make various products displaying these prints. Most famous is the peacock print, which is portrayed in this painting:

Origin Story: Srividya’s Passion for Automation

Looking back, I can clearly see what drew me to the field of automation.

I started my career as an Analyst in the pharmaceutical domain. There were a lot of scenarios that I happened to repeatedly test over and over on a daily basis to ensure that the product was bug free.

This whole process was time consuming, which resulted in a longer cycle time. This led to my interest in exploring the automation side of things. With automation, the efficiency and speed could be significantly improved, with no compromise to quality.

It’s not just about the accuracy, it’s also boosting efficiency + speed = that’s the formula.

“I’ve been through the tedium of manual testing. So, when I realized that there’s this whole entire line that can speed up the entire process and remove the most common pain points… I was sold.”

Deep Dive: A Day in the Life

On the Apprentice Automation Engineering Team, we automate all the features.

It’s kind of like this one central pillar that touches all the varying aspects of our product. This means that we work with a number of different teams: all the product teams and all the developers who touch any of the product features.

At Apprentice, we’re always striving to make our platform stronger, faster, and more optimized. That means that every day, there’s another part of our app that’s been changed and updated.

“We update our products all the time, which means we’re always testing them again. It’s exciting getting an up-close view of product optimization in real time, and there’s never a dull moment!”

On a continual basis, we make sure all the old tests are rewritten to factor in these changes and keep everything running smoothly. We run nightly tests, and then we monitor them the next day to ensure continual performance.

Apprentice Accolades: An Ode to Sri

“Sri is an incredible engineer with a discerning eye for quality and immaculate attention to detail. She is inquisitive and digs deep to find proper solutions for all problems she faces, no matter how complex they may appear to be on the surface. If there is an answer, she will find it!

Beyond being a skilled automation engineer, she is also incredibly kind, thoughtful, and well-liked by her peers. We are big fans of Sri here at Apprentice!”

— Kerry McKeever, Engineering Manager, QA Automation

Fun Facts About Srividya: Rapid Fire Edition 

We asked, Srividya answered. Here are some fun facts about Srividya:

What about your job inspires you daily? The variety. No day is the same at Apprentice, which keeps the work fresh and exciting. Having the opportunity to solve so many complex problems every day is so fulfilling. Turning challenges into solutions is the best part of automating the most complex product I’ve ever worked on. The product is incredibly complex, which makes it so rewarding to fine-tune and optimize.

What about our brand mission resonates with you most? The mission of working towards making a huge difference in the pharmaceutical industry. I strongly believe in Angelo’s mission of creating a product that enables us to ship drugs much faster to the market.

What’s a career highlight that stands out in recent memory? The sheer amount of work my team’s accomplished over the past year alone! The amount of automation test coverage we have added over a period of one year is probably at least three years’ worth of effort compared to my previous experiences. This wouldn’t have been possible without the trust we have for each other as a team.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Stay humble, always. And make sure you’re always working towards your goal.

What’s the title of your autobiography? Spread the Positivity!

If you had a time machine but could only use it once, would you go back in time or into the future? Where and when would you go? When I look back on my life, I’d love to go back to my younger self and tell her to be more confident, more fearless. Changes are always going to be there, but we don’t need to fear them. We can tackle them head on.

As a first-generation immigrant, I had to face some hardships of establishing a life and a career far from home. I would like to tell this to myself and all other fellow immigrants that though it is hard, it’s not impossible. We have to believe in ourselves and give ourselves the strength to persevere.

“It may be hard, but it’s not impossible. Lean into the challenge, believe in yourself, and just keep going.”

Are You Our Next Apprentice Spotlight? 

Want to work with brilliant automation engineers like Srividya? Check out our open positions today!


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