People in Lighting: Cristina Carrageis

Cristina Carrageis is a Software Tester for Schréder Hyperion
Cristina Carrageis
Software Tester - Schréder Hyperion

Companies are defined by the people who work for them: for over a century, Schréder has been at the forefront of lighting thanks to its employees worldwide. Throughout 2021 we’ll be focusing on the people who make Schréder what it is, including their career path, landmark projects and their thoughts on where lighting is headed next.

Schréder is a global company with over a century of experience in lighting technology. With the fourth industrial revolution underway, we’ve combined this expertise with a start-up mentality to create Schréder Hyperion, our smart city hub of excellence in Lisbon. Schréder Hyperion’s growing team is developing innovative ways to use outdoor lighting infrastructure to support smart city technologies. An existing asset, evenly distributed throughout the city, linked to the electrical grid and with an elevated vantage point - lighting’s potential is endless.

Cristina Carrageis joined Schréder Hyperion in December 2020 as software tester. She tests new products, features and requests for them support team, and works on Schréder EXEDRA, our lighting management system on the market for controlling, monitoring and analysing street lights in a user-friendly way. With an unconventional route into lighting, and a young family at home, she’s working on testing numerous projects at the Nova Business School University campus in Portugal.

My role at Schréder Hyperion is a tech one, not a conventional lighting one...

I test new products, apps, and features. In order to prepare the correct test scenarios, I read the requirements, check the mock-ups and the flows, and also ask our development team whenever there’s any doubts. It’s not just the fun side, but also about trying to find as many bugs as possible before the product is released to our customers. There’s no such thing as bug-free software, just continual improvement!

I’m starting to do more security testing…

I’m just preparing security tests for OWLET Nightshift, and I’m really passionate about it. Security testing is vital, it’s great to do it in-house, and get that feedback to the right people.
From a customer perspective, what happens between them sending a command to switch a light on with Schréder EXEDRA and the light turning on?

I have to get into the mindset of the customer...

We need to recognise that apps won’t always be used in planned ways. What if the customer taps on a button that should not be touched? What if they put in the wrong e-mail? What can make the app crash? The end user is rarely a lighting specialist now - think of a tennis coach setting up for training, they just want to have an app that is intuitive. We’re working on making everything from the messages the app delivers to the way the buttons work as straightforward as possible.

In my day-to-day job, the first thing is working out what to test…

We take a holistic view of the product. What’s value add? What are the parameters that need testing? What is a priority, and for whom? Our customers, the development team… there’s a lot of people involved in the process and it takes a while, three days to a week to test each stage.
The middle of the process is setting up workshops to deal with special requests from customers, show what the product can do, and troubleshoot any issues. I think the programmers get a bit fed up of our constant feedback sometimes, but at the end of the day we’re on the same team - we all want to deliver the best product to our customers!

Cristina must imagine all potential scenarios to fully test the software

We’re working more with external products as well...

Traditional lighting involved buying a whole system, installing it and switching it on. That’s changing. At Schréder, we believe in interoperability, so I do a lot of testing on how well external systems like Flashnet integrate with ours. We have so much value in this company, we have great products, and we’re adapting to a mindset where that means bringing in external systems where necessary.

My background is actually in radiotherapy…

I never planned on becoming a software tester. I studied radiotherapy and then worked for five years in oncology. After that I was invited back to my university to teach, but then in 2014 the government changed the qualifications for assistant professors, and as I only had a Masters, I was dismissed, along with several other colleagues. I thought OK, I’m unemployed, I have a one-year-old child, what am I going to do? My husband said, don’t worry, you have the skills to do so much - you’d be a natural in IT.

So I enrolled in yet another Bachelor Degree, this time on systems management and computation...

I loved it. The first year came very easily to me, I had experience of teaching which made it all make sense. I soon realised I didn’t want to be a developer, but the professor asked me to send my CV to companies to start work as a software tester. I worked at a big telecoms company, then a start-up, which gave me a good understanding of how internal systems work - or not.

I wanted a job I could combine with childcare...

My interview with Schréder Hyperion felt more like a chat - they were completely understanding of my need to work around having two young children, they get that sometimes I have to leave early, or it’s better for me to work on certain days than others. It’s so nice to work in an atmosphere with other parents who understand.

And then I started work in the pandemic!

As I said, I have two kids and one of them is at home with me! I was working with my baby at home, it was such a crazy time, but we managed. I’ve been here for nine months, but it feels like two years - the company made a real effort to do virtual onboarding effectively. Now I’m passionate about lighting and constantly learning more. Schréder Hyperion has supported my learning with internal courses about lighting, I have two new certifications which my manager encouraged and supported me to do. I love it here.

Connect with Cristina on LinkedIn