From test automation to security: my career at Dynatrace
Petra shares how a university event pulled her from a creative career into a job in tech.
Hi Petra! What do you do at Dynatrace?
I’m currently working as a Senior Security Engineer and Product Owner for the one of the teams in the Product Security Capability and I am in the Hagenberg Lab — the rest of my team are in Linz.
How did you start at Dynatrace?
When I finished primary school, I went to the Higher Technical College in Salzburg with a focus on textile design . I loved to work within this topic, but after I graduated, I knew that it was not the career for me. When you work in creative fields like that, you sometimes lose the creative part because you need to create what the customer wants.
Coincidentally, the University of Applied Science in Hagenberg was having an event called FH Next, where I learned about their bachelor’s degree course in Security Information Systems. During the event, I had the opportunity to play with a sandbox with viruses and I found it really interesting.
Back then I would have loved to do my master’s degree but did not make the cut. Instead, I joined Dynatrace straight after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, and I haven’t looked back since. I am constantly learning at work, which has always been the main appeal of my Dynatrace career for me.
What was your career path like at Dynatrace?
I started out in a small team, called Acceptance Testing, focused on end-to-end test automation. The idea was to automate as many end-to-end Q&A use cases as possible. We did manual QA testing every 5–7 months, but in the meantime, we tried to reduce that load by automating it. It was an interesting job in a very welcoming team to get started, but I realized after a while that I didn’t want to do this long-term.
After some time, there were talks about building a security team. Since the plan for when this team would be formed was still blurry and I already knew I wanted to do something else, they made me an offer: another team was in desperate search of team members to handle the load — so if I wanted, I could join that team and support them for a year. If after that one year, they’d establish a security team, and I could switch teams again it if I was still interested in the topic.
I agreed to the offer and that’s how I became part of the test automation team, the predecessor of the teams’ part of what is now called engineering productivity (EP). The core work of that team was to focus on the CI/CD pipelines (and all that is included) for the AppMon product that was developed back then. I learned a lot. I was able to utilize huge part of what I learned in that team for many years even after I switched teams.
After that year in the TA team, the security team was founded, and it already had 4–5 members. I decided that I still wanted to go into security, even though I loved the team I was in. In the security team my focus still lies on automation, but I have also grown into a product owner role now and I’m working on the management side too.
It’s been a great journey!
What is your team like?
We are currently 6 people in the continuous security team, and we are growing! It’s a good size for a team and we fit well together. We are a development team with a focus on security, meaning we focus on trying to make vulnerability related information as easily accessible as possible for the people who need them.
We use “lightweight scrum”. We do daily standups, weekly syncs, sprint refinement (since recently), bi-weekly sprint planning and reviews. I joined the Product Owner Quest provided by the Agile Competence Center and learned a lot that can help us improve our sprint-work.
During the lockdown we also started doing Zoom sessions throughout the day. It has become more common to use Zoom than to have meetings offline, even during non-lockdown times.
What are you working on right now?
The teams focus lies with automating manual processes — thinking about workflows and trying to provide tools that take care of the manual work for their users. This results in a lot of new tools that are written by the team, and an end-to-end responsibility for the things we create. Meaning we create, deploy, maintain, update everything we own ourselves.
At the moment we are beginning the development of the 2nd generation of a tool that should simplify the vulnerability notification processes — so that when a vulnerability is found and somebody is notified about it, they can straight away find the page that describes how to solve the issue and any other required information at their fingertips.
What technologies and tools do you use?
We are mainly developing with Java because most of us have a Java background. We use IntelliJ, Jenkins, Bitbucket, Kubernetes and use Jira, wiki, Miro, and SharePoint to support our daily development work.
What do you like about Dynatrace?
I think it is cool and unique that you can grow and change roles easily within Dynatrace and follow your interests and strengths.
I never imagined that I would be working for the same company for so long, because I felt like that would mean that I would have to do the same job at all times. But at Dynatrace you can change positions, if you really want to and have the opportunity, of course.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to draw. I like to print t-shirts, make my own patterns, and sew.
I watch a lot of tv, and I like to listen to music a lot.
From test automation to security: my career at Dynatrace was originally published in Dynatrace Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.