Reggie Rivera, QA lead software engineer for IQAir

In our regular #MyFirstJob series, people in the know remember when they were still in the dark


Hi, Reggie! Who are you and what do you do?

I’m the QA lead software engineer for IQAir, a company that sells clean air solution products such as air purifiers, and provide air quality data to people around the world. If you want to know how clean the air is when you step outside, we have sensors everywhere.

What was your #MyFirstMcJob?

I was an administrative assistant for company called ForensisGroup that provided expert witness for court cases. It was my McDonald's job, basically, the first I took out of high school.

How did you get the job?

My mum was a manager at an antique thrift store here in Pasadena, California. The owner of the company came into the store, and they got chatting. I guess my mum was like: “My son's graduating high school and looking for a job.” They needed someone who could help out with generic office work, they called me in and hired me.

What did you have to do?

Typical admin work – accounts payable, pay all the bills, perform data entry and manage the databases, send out letters, answer phone calls, order supplies, make sure my bosses calendar was up to date, and make the coffee!

How long did you work there for?

Pretty much my whole time at college, just over four years.

Did anything funny happen or go wrong?

I hated answering the phone, because the people who phoned tended to be our experts and often very aggressive because they were mad about something. So I didn't have much confidence and would miss things that I needed to jot down to relay to my boss.

What skills did you learn that you still use today?

That was my first experience where I learned how to be detailed, be it entering something in the database or making sure payments were accurate. As a software QA engineer, when you write code and execute tests, it has to be very correct and accurate. Being detail-oriented has been helping me in this aspect of executing tasks in my current role.

Are you still in contact with anyone you worked with?

I'm connected to the owner of the company via LinkedIn and Facebook and we like/comment on each other's posts from time to time. The same for three or four of my co-workers. We’ll even meet for coffee or lunch from time to time.

Why is alumni important to you in your current job?

I'm still in contact with friends from elementary and high school because we are part of the alumni programmes. Networking and knowing the people you've spent your time with in those early years is important because you never know when you're going to need them or when they will need you to help each other out professionally.

What would happen if you went back and did a day working at your old job today?

I would be a hundred times better at it because I can answer the phone better. Being in the tech field, I know a lot more about databases. And I can make better coffee!

If you could go back and give yourself one bit of advice, what would you say?

I think I would just probably say: “Keep calm, know your value and everything will be alright.”



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