Co-op terms S18 and F18


My name is Michael Vamvakas, I am a second/third year Software Engineering Student with a minor in Mathematics. This page is a reflection of my 8 month work (May 2018 - December 2018) at Perkin Elmer as an Associate QA Engineer. In this report I will talk about the numerous ways I grew as a Student, Employee, and Programmer.

Employer Information

PerkinElmer is an American company founded in 1939. They focus in the areas of human and environmental health. This includes environmental analysis, food and consumer product safety, and life science research to name a few. The software, medical imaging components, instruments, and consumables help many end markets. Some of these markets are Animal Health, Food & Agriculture, and Therapeutic Areas. Their offices are located all over the world, including the United States, Canada, France, South Africa, Japan, Australia, China, and Brazil. The Guelph R&D Team is currently working on informatics software for the medical industry.

Job Description

While working at PerkinElmer as an Associate QA Engineer, my main job was to assist in testing Signals Medical Review. My role within the team was to test all the bugfixes/changes, both manually and through automation. Working as a tester helped me understand how much testing is required when building software and how important it is to make sure that every time code is added that the added code doesn't disrupt functionality within the system.

Many of the things I did at PerkinElmer Include:
- Writing an automated test harness in Java using the Selenium framework, as well as Cucumber, Maven, and JUnit.
- Running automated test cases in parallel.
- Using Jira, creating test cases, pushing issues from "in test" to "done" after running them through all the related test cycles.
- Sas Programming to update existing data sets to use for soak testing.
- Stability testing, testing all the parameters for specific functionalities within the system, testing concurency within the system.
- Regression testing, running through hundreds of test cases after deployments in both DEV and QA environments.
- Tibco Spotfire, Data visualizations
- Batch scripting


My main goals while working for PerkinElmer was to increase my abilities as a programmer, as well as grow within a profesional environment. I wanted to work on my communication skills as well as be more comfortable talking in front of my team.

My goals for the first 4 months were:
1. Be more confortable with agile development
2. Learn the selenium framework and improve my java skills
3. Be less afraid to ask for help if I don't understand something

Having standup meetings every morning helped me immensly with getting more comfortable with agile. It also helped with my communication as I needed to be able to articulate what I had been working on. Once a month my supervisor and I would meet to reflect on my goals and to see what other steps could be taken to reaching them, which was very helpful for my learning.

My goals for the last 4 months were
1. Improve communication with team during standup meetings
2. Continue to improve coding abilities
3. Take charge more during tasks

After the first 4 months while my coding abilities and my communication was improving, I realized that I still needed to work on leadership and being more proactive with my work. I attempted this during soak testing by working on and seting up automated scripts while also trying to help set up a test plan. I continued to improve my coding abilities by reading tech articles and learning new languages/technologies during down time.

Reflecting on my goals and everything I've learned while working at PerkinElmer, I believe I was extremly successful in improving my communication and teamwork skills, as well as improving my coding skills. I learned how to write code using the selenium framework which was a very interesting challenge as I had never worked with automation before. I learned how to use sas programming, as well as using batch files to set up automated scripts for soak testing.


I would like to thank everyone I worked with, both for being great teamates and for everything I learned from them during my 8 months. had Millen, Mark Roy, Harold Miller-Koren, Sarah Shepherd (a University of Guelph alumni), Waliur Rahman, Sharath Sundar, Neha Goyal, Stephen Menyheart, Valerie Nespolo, Jennifer Gatti. As for my fellow co-op students thank you to Jacob Young , Kanza Shams , and Daniel Cheslo. I want to do an extra thank you to Sara Shepherd for answering all my QA related questions, as well as to Mark Roy for helping me achieve my work term goals as well as helping me improve upon my weaknesses.

Special thank you to the Guelph Co-op and Career Services, as well as my advisors Laura Gatto and Kate McRoberts.

Finally thank you to Greg Klotz for reading through my work term report