Greetings from Alumni: Essi Tommola
25 August 2023
In the first part of this autumn’s Greetings from Alumni series, we interviewed our alumna Essi Tommola, who works in software quality assurance at IGT, a global gaming company, in Spain. During her time at Hannes between 2019 and 2021, Essi worked as a catering coordinator in our Office Services Team.
Hi Essi, how was your summer — did you have a nice summer vacation?
Hi, good thanks. My summer has been great so far, and the best part is that it’s not over yet. This year, I split my vacation in two and have already visited Finland, and now I will enjoy Spanish summer for the rest of the month.
You work in software quality assurance (SQA) at IGT which is a gaming company. Can you tell us about your work and what is included in your daily responsibilities?
I work for a multinational gambling company that produces slot machines and other gambling technology. We provide best-in-class content, services, and solutions to the global, regulated gaming industry. We work project-based, so we don’t have daily duties in that sense. Every project is different, and every client has their own requirements, so our duties depend on our client requirements and the scale of every ongoing project.
On a daily basis, my role includes product functional and quality assurance testing according to the test plan. I also assist with the testing of new game features during the development process. I have already had a great opportunity to work as a QA lead for a couple of projects, which means leading the project from start to end. The lead role includes, for example, preparing technical documentation and submission of products to the third-party test lab and providing in-house technical support to internal development teams, such as set up and configuration of gaming machines and peripherals.
My working hours are slightly different compared to Finland. We work from Monday to Thursday from 8.00 till 17.30 and on Fridays from 8.00 till 14.00. During the summer months, we also have reduced working hours and twice a month we have Fridays off, which is great for balancing work and free time.
There seems to be quite a difference between the work of a catering professional and SQA. Can you share the story behind this career move?
Yes, there is absolutely a big difference between my work at Hannes and my work at IGT. The story behind is that I used to work for IGT before, when I was living in Spain back in the days, and I left the company when I moved back to Finland to study tourism management and then started working as a catering professional at Hannes Snellman. I visited Spain regularly when I lived in Finland and then slowly started to miss living back here. Then, after the pandemic, I was offered the opportunity to move back and was offered a senior SQA position, which was great since I had worked as a junior SQA before, so I thought that I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Even though there is a difference of course between catering coordinator and SQA, there are also some similarities between the jobs. The basic pillar of both jobs requires problem-solving skills and the passion to produce the best possible product for the client.
What was the most valuable lesson you took with you when you moved forward from Hannes?
I think that the most valuable lesson form Hannes is and was the “can do” attitude and the great passion of doing things and not being afraid of making mistakes but learning from them.
I also loved working at Hannes and watching closely how passionately all the Hannes people work and how much they care for their work and value their clients and colleagues. It was a great place to work.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Hannes?
One of my favorite memories is when we were organising the Hannes Snellman 110 years celebration event for colleagues and their families. What made this event so special was that it was for us employees and our families.
And of course, all the post-pandemic events where we had the chance to really use our creativity and provide our colleagues new experiences. I learned a lot about event management and what elements you need to organise a high-quality event. And I also learned that if there is a will, there is way to make it happen.
One theme that currently stands out in working life discussions is purpose at work. To conclude this interview, we would like to ask what the things are that keep you going and motivated at work — what is your purpose?
My motivation comes from learning something new almost every day and becoming better at my work. I also like the hectic business environment and change of projects and clients, so that my days and weeks can be very different. I also like to see my work having an impact in the process of creating new things.