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August 13, 2019

Career Path: Polina Atamyeyeva, Lead QA Engineer at Jackpocket

What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Lead QA Engineer at Jackpocket?

We connected with Polina Atamyeyeva to find out!

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Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

Luhansk, Ukraine. Later, I won a Green Card lottery and decided to see what the future held for me in New York.

In Ukraine, my mother was a pediatrician and my father was a mechanical engineer. They recently immigrated to the USA, and they’re in the process of finding their path in this country. I respect them for being independent of me; it’s not an easy task to do in a foreign country at their age. 

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

When I finished high school, I moved to Kharkov to get a degree in sociology.  I always loved big cities, which is why I moved from the small Luhansk to the significantly bigger Kharkov. While I was in college I worked with a marketing company. We conducted marketing research, doing all kinds of surveys and focus groups. Companies made advertisements for their products based on the research. I enjoyed every minute of my work.

When I moved to New York I decided to get a Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College CUNY, with a major in sociology and a minor in statistics, to increase my chances of getting a similar job here. While establishing myself in sociology, a friend of mine suggested quality assurance (QA), since it is an easier field to get into without having a master’s degree. 

At that time, I thought it was a crazy idea since I didn’t have a technical background. Since I am very adventurous, I tried it anyway. I am glad I did because I like what I do now. 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

A few things:

  • The most important—my kids. I wanted them to be proud of their mom. I wanted to show them that with enough perseverance and optimistic attitude, you can do anything. 

  • My friends played an essential role too. They helped me to believe in myself and showed me how to not give up. 

  • I always have been lucky with my team. In all the places I’ve worked, colleagues have helped me to learn something new and grow. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Lead QA Engineer at Jackpocket?

I am responsible for overseeing and making sure the Jackpocket apps and website work as expected, so that customer service has as little work as possible. The fewer issues that get into production, the fewer questions that need answering. And this includes making sure new features are usable and clear to end-users.

A big part of illuminating issues in production is established the right processes and communication between different teams. I like to think about QA as an art of collecting business requirements. During the process of building features, requirements get changed all the time. It is important to make sure to flag disconnect in early stages, and to bring everybody to the same page if something changes. 

Also, I know it may not seem this way but QAs are trying to save time for engineers. I am always researching what tools to use and what we can do to provide better coverage.     

Any tips for someone considering a career in engineering?

If I can do it with my degree in humanities, you can do it, too, if you like learning.

You will always need to learn something new since technologies are changing so quickly. But that’s what makes this field so interesting and dynamic. Also, if you encounter a problem, chances are that somebody else already has a solution. You are not alone. Just Google it. 

Polina Atamyeyeva


Day in the Life

  • Coffee, tea, or nothing? Coffee in the morning and tea during the rest of the day

  • What time do you get into the office? 9 - 9:30 am

  • What are three things that motivate you in your role?

    • It is always interesting to work on innovative features. I like seeing when a new feature is shaping up from nothing.

    • Customer feedback is also very motivational. It is very satisfying to see that somebody likes your efforts.

    • Challenges, when you need to figure something out. I get more energetic when I figure out some difficult tasks. 

  • Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

    • Usually, I start by reading emails and Slack notifications. It sets my priorities for the day. Later, we have a scrum meeting where everyone briefs the team about their work progress and challenges. After that, I get to my daily tasks, which usually involves asking a lot of questions. Everyone usually gets some: designers, product, marketing, not to mention engineers. I really appreciate everybody’s cooperation and patience. I am so lucky that everybody works as a team and contributes to the success of the projects.  

  • What time do you head out of the office? 

    • If there are no urgent issues I leave at 5 - 5:30 pm

  • Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

    • I shut it down with very few exceptions. I appreciate that I can do all my work in the office. The schedule at Jackpocket is flexible enough to accommodate different people's needs. 

  • Any productivity hacks?

    • Get enough sleep. That is why I believe people should shut down Slack and work email at night or during vacation.

    • Be proud of your work. You need to be passionate about it. Make it interesting and challenging enough to keep you going, if it is not.

    • Sometimes you need to take a step back from what you are doing to find the best solution.

    • Always break big tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.

  • What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

    • Jackpocket :) I open it every day. We’re on both iOS and Android

    • Angry Birds Blast. This game helps me to not be annoyed with New York public transportation and regroup after reading news in the morning. 

    • Splitwise. I do not use it every day, but it makes it so much more convenient to track expenses when you organize trips/events with your friends or relatives.

  • What do you love about Jackpocket?

    • We have very friendly and unpretentious people. Management puts a lot of effort into making sure people enjoy working here, and it’s very noticeable. We do a lot of fun activities like happy hours, trips to Six Flags, a field day with Zog Sports, and more. And the office is a reflection of who we are, right down to the “Jackpocket blue” of our phone booths.

  • What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

    • I am usually very proud of releasing features that were difficult to develop. That said, I always think that my biggest accomplishments are in my future. 

  • Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

    • It depends on the professional advice I need. I reach out to different people. My husband is probably my most trusted advisor at the moment.   

    • I have a deep respect for people who are passionate about what they do. They usually know a lot of information and think outside of the box. 


Alexander Culafi is Producer & Editor for VentureFizz. He also edits and produces The VentureFizz Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @culafia.

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