Philip Fong Advocates For CharterUP Customers Through Software Testing
Published May 19, 2023
Philip Fong’s attempt to automate himself out of a job as Head of Quality Assurance at CharterUP has proven to be a spectacular failure.
Rather than rendering his role obsolete, Phil’s efforts have highlighted the invaluable contribution he makes to the company’s online marketplace and reservation platform. By automating testing processes, As Head of Quality Assurance, Phil is CharterUP’s tireless advocate for accuracy and consistency, improving software development and enhancing the customer experience. The automated testing Phil is working to implement also allows for scalability, which is essential for testing larger and more complex applications – like the ones CharterUP is constantly working to develop.
“I’ve always loved the testing space because you’re kind of like in the middle of all the action. You are working with a team of developers and you’re in a very privileged position of literally judging their work almost every single day,” Phil said.
Although Phil may be judging the work of the engineering team, he is doing so as an advocate for CharterUP customers.
“The job does take an innate sense of tact and diplomacy to say, ‘Hey, look, you’re doing all this great work, but we really need to think about the customer’,” Phil said. “Software permeates so much of peoples’ lives now, and if a customer has a frustrating experience with software defects or bugs, that could be costly for an organization’s reputation.”
Phil does not consider himself a gatekeeper of CharterUP’s software, but rather a guide to help the engineering team write code that is scalable and stable. He challenges CharterUP’s engineering team to write code more defensively and always keeping the customer in mind.
Phil, who lives on Long Island with his wife and 5-year-old son, has been in the engineering and testing space for nearly two decades. He started his career in quality assurance in the legal industry, spent a short time with Sony and then moved to a SaaS consulting firm focused on supply chain tooling.
He started at CharterUP in November 2021, drawn to the company’s impressive reservation platform and goals for scaling the product and the team. When Phil started, CharterUP only had a few dozen employees and just a handful of engineers.
“It’s really rewarding to work on a team of this size and the company of this size, because you’re not just working in the background,” Phil said. “There’s really nowhere to hide, and that’s something I find incredibly exciting and rewarding.”
As CharterUP continues to grow rapidly – the company was named the No. 1 Fastest-Growing Company by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and also recently announced a new product and tech hub in Austin, with plans to hire 100 additional team members – Phil is looking forward to welcoming new talent and fresh ideas to the team.
There are some growing pains associated with building a team so quickly, but Phil has faith in CharterUP’s Vice President of People, Jennifer Gardner, in solving the scalability challenges.
Phil, who has been active in interviewing and helping to hire members of the engineering team in the past, often shares a few pieces of advice with recruits.
“Being curious is so incredibly important,” Phil said. “Not only does it increase engagement in a remote environment, but it also promotes the culture we have of helping one another. We want to think about the quality of our product so we can put the best version in front of customers, and that really means putting forth the best of the best version of yourself and your work.”
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