Download the Education Finance Guide to Understanding ESSA today. Get the Ed Finance Guide to ESSA! »

Meet Allovue: Charly Smith, Quality Assurance Engineer

Meet our Quality Assurance Engineer, Charly Smith and learn how he keeps Balance clean for our users.

Hi, Charly!

Describe your road to Allovue.

My road to Allovue is probably the most straightforward compared to the rest of the team. I graduated from college at the end of 2017 with a degree in Game Design. I struggled for some time to find a job in games so I broadened my reach and looked for opportunities in technology. That’s when I stumbled upon Allovue.

How was the transition from video game designer to Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer?

My transition from video game designer to QA Engineer was simpler than you’d imagine. I spent considerable time during my studies testing my and my colleagues’ projects, so I developed a real knack for pushing the limits of technology; finding the cracks, causing things to break, and continuing to break software beyond the initial breaking point. The most challenging part of the transition was understanding all that Balance is capable of doing, and planning how to utilize my skills to provide a cleaner product for our customers.

What is a typical day for you as a QA Engineer?

A lot of my day is spent inside of Balance, testing new features and listening for problems that other team members may be experiencing. Since I don’t come from an education background, I take time every day to understand why the features we have in the product are so crucial to our customers. Understanding the context of the software, and grasping the reasons why we implement specific systems isn’t always the easiest part of my day, but it goes a long way when testing. Most important, it better informs me on how I can help the product team improve the quality of certain Balance features.

While the majority of my work is solely product related, many days I interact with our Customer Success team, answering questions about Balance and helping them train our customers on new features. I also schedule the product releases where my team discusses new features and developments with the entire company.

It’s really rewarding knowing that the work I put in as a QA Engineer results in a cleaner product. The more bugs I can find before we release to customers, the better I feel knowing everyone can have a smooth experience. It kind of makes me feel like a vigilante.

We really appreciate your dedication to ensuring a smooth experience for our Balance users. How else does thinking about our customer’s needs influence your decisions?

To truly be successful in my role, it’s important that I test the product as if I’m the customer. This helps ensure that the typical steps a customer would take to complete a task are bug-free. Putting myself in the shoes of the customer also helps when I’m creating new feature notifications. It can be tricky to scale down a feature you’ve tested for weeks into a couple of bullets. Luckily, our Customer Success team helps me create notifications that make the most sense for the end user.

What do you like best about working for Allovue?

I really enjoy the people I work with, it’s very much like a family here! Everyone is very supportive of one and other, willing to help at the drop of a hat, and has a contagious work ethic. At the same time, they also know how to kick back and relax. I couldn’t have asked to work with a better group of people.

So, we have to ask. What’s your favorite Balance feature?

Tough one, but it would probably have to be all of Balance Budget. We added a ton of weighty enhancements to this module in the past six months, and I think the new features like uploads, split funding, and advanced filters, has made my job even more enjoyable while helping me better understand what our customers want and need from Balance.

Before we go, tell us. What bug are you most proud of finding and squashing?

Oh! I like this question! I found a nasty bug during the testing for split funding, where switching partially funded positions would unexpectedly change their percentages. I quickly noticed that something wasn’t right, and after some digging into the issue and finding the root of the problem, I felt like I caught an elusive criminal that was hiding in plain sight! I was really proud knowing that I found a bug before a customer could. It’s the little things :)


Image of Charly Smith

We couldn’t be more proud to have Charly on our team; dedicated QA engineer by day and a crime solving, bug-squashing vigilante by…day. Fun fact: Charly and his girlfriend Lauren just bought their first home! Send your well-wishes or most treasured first-time homeowner advice to charly@allovue.com.