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Nora Steinthaler

Nora Steinthaler works in Vienna but she spends most of her working day speaking English.
Nora Steinthaler

Key data

Job description: Test Engineer (of communication systems for aircraft/air traffic control)
Company: Frequentis AG
I work in: Vienna, Austria
I’ve worked here since: 2011 (+2008 internship)
Me on the Web: Xing, linkedin

What I do:

Planning and implementation of qualification tests based on existing communication system requirements. I work in the company’s integration lab where we set up the communication systems to be tested.

Design and implementation of automated testing procedures to reduce repetitive testing and conduct time-intensive test processes without constant human input.

Acceptance testing with customers (air traffic control) where the aim is to carry out acceptance testing in line with the customer criteria in my role as developer and independent external expert with systems expertise. As testers, we may know the systems better than the customer at the time of acceptance and therefore the process can involve knowledge transfer. On the flip side, we also gain very useful input from the customer about the working methods of air traffic controllers and system engineers.

Why I love my job:

  • Teamwork
  • Alternating periods of internal work and customer contact
  • Opportunities to apply my creativity

Important skills in my job:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Ability to describe situations in precise detail

My biggest accomplishment so far:

I am someone who thrives on little successes. I flourish when I see that my ideas have been well received or have brought about an improvement. And in terms of the somewhat bigger successes, I still cherish those ‘first times’ such as when I led my first successful customer acceptance from start to finish.

How I found my current job:

Frequentis knew me before I completed my studies at FH JOANNEUM from 2008 to 2011. In 2008, I spent five months working here as an intern and had sufficient time to settle in. This made it easier for me to start work here after completing my studies at FH JOANNEUM because I already knew what I wanted. However I still had to submit an official application each time.

What I learned for this job during my studies:

The specialist expertise I acquired enabled me to think more broadly than I did before and to grasp complex situations much more quickly because our studies at FH JOANNEUM often covered some very complex issues. The scientific approach to thinking has never left me, including in my private life, much to the despair of some of my friends!

There is no comparison between my methods of working before and after my studies. Aside from the specialist competence I acquired, I also learned to push on through even when the day/session seemed really dry or long and I picked up some little tricks which make a difference: documenting, making notes (properly), accumulating my own expertise and making connections – both in terms of people and content.

Job prospects in my field:

Test engineers are always in demand at all levels from implementation to planning/design. Depending on the field, you might be just the right person for the role as a career starter or else you might need a few more years of professional or industry experience. However the most important thing is that you have the right personality type for the job: it can be repetitive at times but with time and experience, more areas of activity will open up to you.

I am:

  • pragmatic
  • creative
  • flexible

About my job:

I work in Vienna and I really like it here. I came here for my internship and moved here again after completing my studies at FH JOANNEUM in Graz. Now it has become a home to my family. Although I work in Austria, I spend most of my working day speaking English. You need to be able to speak fluent English otherwise it will be very difficult.

My area of responsibility has changed or shifted virtually every year. So far, I have learnt a great deal from supporting in-house testing to customer support and automated testing. I always notice that I like to be close to the technology side of things rather than taking on a pure management role. Of course, this significantly influences and changes the long-term career goals you set for yourself and which title you want on your business card. So I think it is very important before starting your first job in particular not to set your career goals in stone and instead to find out what best suits your (work) personality. This is something you have to explore first. Long-term, I would like to supervise a small group of people and also take an active part in project work, whatever the profession.

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