Life as a Senior Software Tester in the Netherlands – Cesar’s Story

Chip and a pen on a paper

Cesar joined Brunel in July 2022 as an automation testing specialist, moving from Mexico to the Netherlands to work on-site at one of Brunel's clients, VDL. VDL is a Dutch company based in Eindhoven that specialises in the design, development and manufacture of high-tech products. The company is active in various industries, including automotive, aerospace and healthcare. We went to visit Cesar at VDL, where he gave us an insight into his daily work life. 

Cesar Tapia

Cesar Tapia

Brunel Specialist in Software Testing

Hola, Cesar! Thank you for having us. Tell us more about yourself and your growing interest in technology.

I am originally from Guadalajara, the second-largest city in Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco. From a young age, my father taught me a lot about cars, so I have always been particularly interested in the automotive industry. After completing my degree majoring in mechatronics and robotics, I started working in software development at Continental and then gradually moved on to software testing.

When did you establish your first contact with Brunel? 

At the beginning of 2022, I had been working at Continental in Mexico for seven years and was looking for a new career opportunity. In March, Romy (a consultant at Brunel) contacted me via LinkedIn. I remember her being very friendly and telling me in great detail about the job opportunities at Brunel in the Netherlands. I knew that moving abroad for a new job, especially so far away from home, would bring some challenges, but Romy gave me a lot of confidence and made me feel that this step would fundamentally change my life for the better.

What did the hiring process with Brunel look like?

The recruitment process at Brunel was a great experience as it was quick and easy. At one point I even got a little suspicious, because everything seemed too good to be true and I feared being scammed (which of course was not the case!). There were two or three interviews and Brunel was always very clear about the next steps. When I was offered the job, they were also absolutely transparent about the contract and working conditions, which I appreciated.

You mentioned that moving to a foreign country comes with some challenges. I can imagine that relocation must be one of them. Did you receive support from Brunel to make this transition as smooth as possible?

I did, yes. Brunel really went out of their way to put me at ease. The support I received included doing all the paperwork and planning for my visa and immigration formalities. They also helped me with the logistics of travelling to the Netherlands and even paid for my plane ticket. When I arrived, they provided me with paid accommodation for two weeks and helped me find a place to live. 

You currently live in Eindhoven, a city in the southeast of the Netherlands. What has been your experience of living here so far and what has surprised you the most?

The Netherlands is very different from Mexico, so this environment is completely new to me. Everything has an impact on me: society in general, the architecture, the weather, the economy, but especially the bike paths. In my hometown, this kind of infrastructure for bikes doesn't exist, and it's not safe to ride a bike on the street. For me, the cycling infrastructure and the cycling culture is one of the best things about the Netherlands. I'm happy to have become a part of the Dutch cycling culture, as I cycle to work every day.

What do you do as a senior test automation engineer at VDL?

My daily routine is very varied in terms of activities. As a software tester, I have to perform various tasks, such as creating the test environment and test cases for some of VDL's products or modules, reading and analysing requirements to compare current behaviour with the expected or desired behaviour, and solving and assisting with problems related to current releases (go/no-go products). Last but not least, together with my team, I work on new methods that enable us to do our job more efficiently.

Man in front of a test bench in VDL factory
Cesar spends most of his time in the office at VDL where he performs hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) tests on a test bench (pictured behind him), for example.

What do you like most and least about your current job?

What I like most is the collaboration with my peers. By sharing opinions and ideas with my work colleagues, I am constantly learning more about the products and applications. In addition, I now have many more days’ holiday than in my previous job, which I'm very happy about, as it has significantly improved my work-life balance. What I perhaps like less are the tight deadlines in software development and testing, as the time to market in the automotive industry is very short. That can sometimes be stressful.

Man in front of bus at VDL factory
In the automotive sector, VDL produces electric buses, coaches and cars. It also offers solutions for charging and maintenance. Cesar is pictured here with one of their newest prototypes.

Which of Brunel’s values (passion for people, integrity, results-driven, entrepreneurship) do you personally identify with the most and why?

I would say results-driven. Since moving to the Netherlands, I have been able to make progress in both my personal and professional life and am now more ambitious than ever. 

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