“In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.”
Phil Collins

“Don’t stress!” This is the advice Inspired Testing’s Delivery Manager: Automation Testing, Tiaan Knoetzen, has for young people who are still finding their way in their career; or are not sure which career path to follow after school: “I only discovered my talents and interests quite a few years after I finished studying and after I joined the internship programme at Inspired Testing.” He adds that it is also very important to speak to someone who has experience in the field you are interested in, and to find out more information: “I knew I wanted to study, but didn’t know what – and I didn’t know all the options available.”

Growing up in Bellville in the Cape with a twin sister and an older brother, Tiaan’s sister provided his early inspiration: “As twins, my sister and I did everything together during school. My sister was the one who inspired and motivated me to go to university after school, as she had plans to study and I didn’t want to be left behind.” His father, who is also in IT, was a big influence in his choice of career. Tiaan received his BSc Geoinformatics degree from Stellenbosch University in 2013.

Before joining Inspired Testing, Tiaan completed two internships as a junior software developer between 2014 and 2016. In June 2016, he joined Inspired Testing as an automation intern. In September 2016, he was promoted to Team Lead of automation and, in June 2018, to Delivery Manager of Automation Testing.

Since joining Inspired Testing, Tiaan has flourished: “Before I joined Inspired Testing, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career. After completing the internship, I was promoted to Team Lead and then to Delivery Manager. With these changes in my career, I realized that I enjoy working with people, helping others and playing a mentor role for younger employees.”

As Delivery Manager, he plays an essential part in the effectiveness and efficiency of client delivery: “A Delivery Manager must be able to manage several teams and projects and is also responsible for assisting

Account Managers and Sales as a technical expert for any new testing projects.”

Tiaan says he really benefited from Inspired Testing’s mentoring and tutoring programme: “My mentors helped me with my confidence in so many ways. Communicating with clients was never a comfortable space for me, but after I joined Inspired Testing I learnt how to deal with clients; and my confidence grew when I saw our clients placing their trust in me.” Communicating with clients is “now second nature to me, and I have become good at it,” he says with a smile.

As a Team Lead and Delivery Manager, Tiaan has passed on the benefits of mentoring to others: “I mentor and assist my team members and assist the trainer when there are new interns.” Before joining Inspired Testing, Tiaan always felt that he was a hard worker, but lacked confidence in his work. However, his work ethic paid off. It was by being noticed and receiving promotions, as well as through mentoring others, that he built his confidence: “Being mentored helped me build my confidence and overcome shyness – it’s awesome to pass that on!” Being able to mentor and assist others “is a way to pay it forward,” he adds.

He feels that diversity in a workplace is important: “For me it’s always interesting to learn something new about someone’s culture or background.” In his line of work, Tiaan finds it very beneficial to work with a diverse team of individuals, as it ensures a variety of different perspectives: “This helps with planning and finding various solutions to a problem.”

On a professional note, Tiaan aims to gain more experience in his Delivery Manager role. On a personal note, he aims to spend more time in active outdoors pursuits. “I really do need to improve my work-life-balance,” he says.

As well as his mentorship role, Tiaan says he is a very positive person and would like spread positivity across the workplace: “People need to learn to be more patient and respectful with one another, as everyone comes from various backgrounds (especially in South Africa).”

He summarises his personal and professional philosophy as such: “At the end of the day, people will treat you the way you treat them.”

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