Meet Jodi Bair, QIP Quality Assurance Tester
“People have joked that I am the person that says, ‘Why, why, why? Why is the sky blue?’” she said. “So I guess that makes me a good tester—because I question things a lot.”
Some of the test files Jodi has created for clients at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) have contained more than 20,000 rows of data. “So a detail-oriented nature is a necessity, I would say, with quality assurance testing,” she said. “I’m all about the details in the weeds.”
Jodi has been with QIP since 2014, first working on the EDFacts Technology and Support Services (ETSS II) contract and now the Education Data Management and IT Services (EDMITS) contract. But her experience with ED contracts goes back to 2006.
Jodi’s responsibilities on the EDMITS contract include testing various systems used to collect data from state and local education agencies and generate data reports for the ED program office to make funding and policy decisions.
“I write and execute test cases to ensure that we have complete functional coverage,” she said. “I create, edit, and submit test data files. … And then we ensure the proper flow of that data from the file submissions that flow into our online or user interface systems.”
One of Jodi’s specialties is user acceptance testing, the last phase of the software testing process.
“I’m the point of contact with our clients to provide training and information,” she said. “So, it’s basically working closely with the Department of Education and their program offices to review our final test results and ensure the functionality is meeting the approved requirements.
“We also ensure they have a working knowledge of the system that will be implemented into the production environment, and then collaborating, discussing possible enhancements or tweaks for the next school year releases.
“It truly promotes a working relationship with the client and builds trust for future tasks.”
At the beginning of 2020, Jodi finished an extensive project that overhauled ED’s performance report database.
“We have Consolidated Student Performance Reports (CSPR), we have state performance reports, annual performance reports—all this different end-of-year gathering of information, in order to provide grant money,” Jodi said.
The work involved validating all the data submitted in the previous, or legacy, reporting system.
“It was a huge effort in validating all the data for every pre-filled manual entry instead of just doing spot checks of rollovers from the legacy,” Jodi said. “Just in one CSPR, there were over 2,500 cells that we’d have to validate.”
“Completely doing an overhaul of a different platform was probably the most challenging thing I’ve done in the past 15 years,” she said.
Jodi’s work in education began soon after she graduated from Central Penn College, when she applied through a temp agency for a job at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), which administers several student financial aid programs.
“I basically worked myself up through PHEAA, and they built a new system while I was there and asked me to help write and test the new system,” Jodi said. “That’s how I got into testing. And it was cool, it was interesting.”
“It was just getting my foot in the door at the student loan agency, and then it went from there,” she said.
Jodi’s journey eventually took her from Pennsylvania to the Washington, D.C., area, in 2006, when she became a software testing specialist for Clarus Consulting/Perot Systems Government Solutions. After eight years there, she joined QIP.
While she previously had a long commute from her Maryland home to Northern Virginia, QIP allows Jodi to work from her home office.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to get to know staff with everyone working remotely or working on multiple contracts,” she said. “But with QIP, there’s this closeness or camaraderie and open communication with our peers. It’s a tight-knit family, if you will, even though we’re spread across the United States. I think it’s pretty cool.”
And, of course, there is the work itself, which seems to be an ideal match for Jodi’s skills and attitude.
“It’s a lot of details, a lot of information, and I love doing what I do,” she said.