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  • Writer's pictureMarie Cruz

Month in Review: April 2021

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

A week late on my monthly review but nevertheless here we go! With lockdown rules being more relaxed, I made a conscious effort this month to spend more quality time with friends and family. I also met up with my old team at News for drinks which was really great as it was the first time I've seen them again in person since lockdown. Anyway, on to the highlights!

Zoopla Work

Feeling really settled now here at Zoopla. It's been a busy April for me as I try to be more effective in my role. I made some proposals on how we can improve the RFC (Request for Comments) process here and it was well received by the rest of the Engineering Leads. It's still pretty much work in progress but just visualising it makes it easier to communicate the areas where it needs improvement. I've also been contributing now to the Quality Engineering hiring process by reviewing technical tasks and will soon shadow screening calls. We've had a new starter who joined us which is awesome so I made a new starter template based off one of the existing templates and tailor it more to be focused on Quality Engineering.

With Zoopla's rebrand, I've also zooplified my laptop! Yes it's a made up word..

I've also been part of a new team to help speed up the current pipeline that we have so been involved in kick off sessions and bounce ideas on what we can do to improve it. One of my tasks was to generate code coverage for Cypress which you can read on this post, Generating Code Coverage Report for Cypress. I've had the chance to work with other QEs too to review the current Cypress test suite that we have and identify ways on how we can improve it.

April was also the month when I did my first virtual team social at Zoopla! The team chose Dungeons and Dragons which was also my first time playing. It was a great way to relax and get to know the team.

We also had a couple of days focused on learning (New Relic University) and Digital Detox day so I spent this day as far away from my screen and met up with a good friend of mine for a late lunch at Borough Market.

Applitools Blog Post

I've been given the opportunity again to write a blog post on Applitools based on my Automation Guild 2021 session where I talked about leveraging Cypress to include client side performance tests using Google Lighthouse.

If you are interested to know more about it, check out this post, Using Cypress and Google Lighthouse for Performance Testing.

Women in QA: Celebrating International Girl’s in ICT Day

I was really happy when Nicola Martin got in touch a couple of months back if I want to share my career story to people who are thinking of moving into testing. It's always nice to share your career journey rather than just talk about technical things all the time on meetups so this was a refreshing change.

There are so many amazing women in tech and one of them is Tania Mahmood. I was in awe of her achievements and this was her first time speaking publicly so really well done to her!

Nicola's insight on how to get into testing, different career paths and ways to improve your skill set are very valuable. Networking and personal brand is key if you want to stand out in your career.

The video recording can be found below if anyone is interested.

API Testing with Cypress

One of my LinkedIn connections got in touch if I can do a community talk around Cypress. Since I didn't have capacity to create a brand new talk, I ended up using a recycled talk that I did last year which is about using Cypress for API testing.

I don't think the meetup was recorded but a video recording of the same topic, which was actually my first talk with TAQFull and Xpertise Recruitment can be seen below.

Materials for my talk can be accessed here:

Personal Development

📚 This month, I read two books from Haemin Sunim and these are my new favourite books! The first one is called The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World and Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection. I also finished reading Invisible Women.

🎧 Listened to various podcasts this month from AB Testing Podcast, Testing Peers, Ministry of Testing and Love Life with Matthew Hussey.

💪🏼Worked out consistently this month but been eating a lot of unhealthy food and giving myself more treats.

🗣I've been inconsistent this month with my Spanish lessons unfortunately. Will need to revisit this if it's still something that I want to continue!

Self Care and Free Time

So for the past couple of months (actually even the past year..) I've been really keeping myself busy with a lot of things and been putting self care on hold. So, to not experience burn out again, I took my manager's advice and decided to visualise all my stress, whether it's work, family, community work, side projects, etc.) and put it on a stress bucket. All your life's stress flows into the bucket and if it starts to overflow, you'll experience different stress signatures. For me, it was definitely overeating, not getting enough sleep and being snappy to Gabby. When you start noticing these stress signatures, it's time to release some of it and have a coping mechanism in place. To de-stress, I've been listening to a lot of music, changing my routine so I work out in the morning instead, visiting family, hanging out with friends more, gardening and even getting my nails done just to name a few!

I've also had to say no to a couple of speaking events to balance it with everything that I am currently trying to juggle. I had to move another meetup that was planned for May to June so that I only have 1 speaking event this coming May. I definitely have FOMO (fear of missing out) but self care and mental health comes first. I just have to remember not to put a lot of pressure to myself and enjoy some of the free time that I get to have.

213 views2 comments


Ronald van der Louw
Ronald van der Louw
May 08, 2021

Very nice blog to read. Helpful references to nice topics like Cypress and fun to read how you deal with certain things. Especially the last part (FOMO) is very recognizable.

Marie Cruz
Marie Cruz
May 16, 2021
Replying to

Thanks Ronald! Glad you liked it :)

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