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Marijke hails from the Netherlands and has lived in Iceland for many years (she speaks Icelandic fluently, by the way!). Her background in Quality Assurance testing within Air Traffic Management makes her a strong asset to our team of amazing QA’s. When she isn’t busy focusing on acceptance tests, she cycles, listens to audiobooks, and visits home for the holidays.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Marijke and I’m a Quality Assurance Lead at Tern Systems. I’ve been here for 7 years now. I came here as a Quality Assurance Engineer. I’ve been through a couple of teams and learned a lot about air traffic control and testing along the way.

How did you get started at Tern?

I started working here just after maternity leave. I was at home with my oldest and I was very happy to come here so I could just leave my husband with the baby and talk to grown-ups about real things! I was testing the simulator, Amelia, back then. It was great because I could pick up Air Traffic Management from a relatively simple application that we were using. It’s a little more straightforward than the actual ATS system because it was just one application, so I spent a couple of years doing that. From Amelia, we went to Orion and now I’m part of the Polaris team.

What’s a day in the life of a QA Engineer look like?

I am in Customer Success and at the moment, I’m doing the acceptance testing and preparing for that. We are busy with requirements work, so I’m helping out a lot with that, because the acceptance test is quite far in the future. I’ve been very busy last year, both preparing and running tests together with customers. So a day in the life is: I get here, I work, I have meetings, I eat lunch and then I go home. And the work is different day-to-day.

How has your role evolved since starting seven years ago?

I came here as a Quality Assurance Engineer and quite quickly I was starting to help do testing- that’s my main job. But I started to help write down templates and processes for the Test Manager back then because I came from an academic background where I learned to write that type of document. From there, after a couple of years, I went into the role of Lead Quality Assurance Engineer. First and foremost I’m a Quality Assurance Engineer testing, but I also organise the quality assurance meetings and decide where we’re going with testing like objectives and writing the handbook documents. And then last year I switched over to Quality Assurance Lead.

Can you share achievements in your career so far?

A lot has happened in the past seven years. For me, the Factory Acceptance Test and the Site Acceptance Test with HC were big achievements. Those were the largest organised tests that I’ve been a part of, mostly leading. I learned a lot and it was very rewarding.

What are some challenges that come with your role?

It’s often challenging to organise things in the right way and find the right level of how deep we want to go with the testing. When can we test what? When should we prepare what? Where should we precisely focus? Because there’s so much and software isn’t always ready on time. It’s always give and take and finding the right balance, and that can be challenging.

Do you have advice for those seeking a career in testing?

My advice is give it a try. Testing is fun. It can be very rewarding!

How do you manage stress?

Work can be a bit like eating an elephant: just one bite at a time. And apart from that I try to eat healthy-ish and exercise. I bike to work, because Tern is very accommodating with that.


I like yoga, exercise, hiking and sewing! I like sewing my kids clothes.

Rapid fire questions: Favourites

Childhood memory? I used to go to the theme park with the family every year

Cuisine? Indian

Pastime? Hiking

Destination? Netherlands/Home

Relax? Listening to or reading a book

Music? Pop

Gadget? My phone

Book or podcast? Sapiens

Did you know women represent 30% of employees at Tern Systems? Although we’re celebrating International Women in Engineering Day this Friday, we are always proud to have a strong representation in the field! To recognise these amazing women, we interviewed a couple of engineers who braved the spotlight to share their inspiring stories. Look out for more interviews in the future.

Our first guest is Hófi, an Iceland native who has lived in a handful of countries and studied for her Masters abroad before settling back in Iceland. She currently works as a Research Engineer at HQ during the day and loves spending time with her family outdoors when she isn’t working.

Please introduce yourself: what’s your name, what’s your position at Tern and how long have you been at the company?

My name is Hólmfríður, but I’m called Hófi. I’ve been working at Tern Systems for just over a year. I started doing my master's thesis here and then after I was offered a position as a Research Engineer.

What was your thesis about?

My thesis had a really long name. And it was: An adaptive IMM-UKF method for non-cooperative tracking of UAVs from data radar. Basically what that was, was designing a tracker, so a Kalman filter-based tracker, for drone tracking. It was looking at the tracker that we have used to track aircraft and then adjusting it and looking for ways to make it better for drone tracking.

What does your day-to-day look like at the office?

It’s 50/50 what my main focus is. I think half of the time I’m doing more internal research. So I’ve been working a little bit with the trajectory modeller and doing validations on that. And then the other 50 percent is looking more into more research projects. So we’ve been working on SEASAR projects and other types of European projects.

How has your role evolved since joining the company?

It started kind of slow. There was not a specific focus on what I was doing. But now the focus has narrowed and we have a better direction within the research department. And we’re also expanding. We’re getting new Research Engineers, so it will be interesting to see how things develop from that.

What are some challenges in your role and how do you overcome them?

In the beginning - being new in the ATM domain - there was a lot of new concepts that I didn’t understand. I had more of a technical engineering background but not much expertise in air traffic management. That was a steep learning curve, but I think it’s getting easier and easier every day now that I’m becoming more familiar with all the acronyms and all the different components of the ATM world. The way I overcame that was asking a lot of questions. Doing a lot of Googling, and then also bugging my coworkers for explanations and getting as many answers from them as I could.

Do you have advice for those seeking a career in research?

Within research, it’s always good to have some kind of academic background. Doing some kind of Master’s degree will always help, because essentially what you’re doing in your thesis is that you’re doing a mini research project. You’re doing a background analysis, doing a plan and implementing and getting results. And that’s what we’re doing in these larger research projects. But I think anyone can become a research engineer if they’re interested in doing it. Just if you’re interested in solving problems and looking into new technologies, I think it’s good to stay current, see what technologies are on the uprise, what the newest thing is, what will help you.

What’s an interesting fact about yourself that others don’t know?

I have travelled a lot and lived in many countries. I was born in Iceland. Then I lived in Scotland, then England, then Belgium. Then I moved back to Iceland. When I was 18, I was an au pair in France and then more recently I also lived in Sweden when I was doing my Masters. So I’ve travelled quite a bit, lived in many countries and speak a few languages!


I like being outside. I like exercising in nature. I like going for walks- that’s what I do a lot of the time. I like to go to the swimming pools. Not always swimming - sometimes I do that - but just being outside gives me the most energy.

Rapid fire questions: This or That

Early bird or night owl? Early bird

Beach or mountains? Beach

Sweet or savoury? Sweet

Books or movies? Movies

City or country? Country

Comedy or drama? Drama

Dancing or singing? Dancing

Hiking or swimming? Swimming

Road trip or air travel? Air travel

Netflix YouTube? Netflix

We take pride in our employees and love to see their growth and development in their roles and beyond. With 20 years behind his career and a veteran at Tern Systems, Ólafur- or Lalli- is no exception. Marketing had the opportunity to interview him the other day and ask him some hard-hitting interview questions.

Please introduce yourself and your role at Tern Systems.

My name is Lalli. I’ve been here for 20 years. I’m a system architect now, started here as a programmer. For a short while I did some project management, but didn’t quite like that, so I became a programmer again. But for the last few years, I’ve been a system architect.

How did you start working at Tern and what has kept you here?

It was a coincidence, I guess, that I started here. A financial manager, for a company I worked for, talked to his brother who worked here and they were looking. So he sent me over. I had an interview and started a few days later. The projects. The industry is exciting. The challenges.

How has Tern evolved since you began?

A lot more discipline. When I started we didn’t comply to - well, actually the regulations we are complying to today didn’t exist. So, yeah. Discipline, that’s the major difference, I think

What’s a day-in-the-life look like at the office?

A normal day for me is being all over the place. I am doing my stuff - doing some modelling on architecture, and answering some questions. Doing debugging, testing. Yeah, most of the time I’m kind of all over

You travel a lot for work. What is that like for you?

Well, travelling is a part of my job and I travel quite frequently. Short trips, long trips, one week, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks. My longest trip was kind of long. 62 days. That’s too long (laughs).

Where was that?

In Thailand. During COVID. Well, it was kind of different. Especially because of the situation in the world. It was kind of strange passing through Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The airport was empty except for me and Gusti, and a guy from Sweden we met.

What has been your greatest achievement at Tern and alternatively, what is a challenging aspect?

The greatest feeling is getting systems into operation and the feeling of finishing projects. On the other hand, a challenge is when you encounter something unknown and you will have to figure out how to solve it. And all projects have things like that.

What do you enjoy most about working at Tern?

The challenges of the projects and overcoming the unknown things we encounter. I quite like travelling and it’s just so much fun working here.

What is a piece of advice for someone starting in the domain?

Be patient, it takes time to get into the industry. So, hang in there.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

Outside of work, I like to ride my Harley and play golf. Although, not at the same time.

Rapid fire questions

Favorite city? Kópavogur

Favorite season? Summer

Favorite animal? Cat

Favorite colour? Black

Favourite food? Pizza

What was your last vacation? Spain

What’s your go-to pastime? Riding my Harley

What is a dinner you enjoy cooking? Pizza

What secret talent do you have? I’m a human debugger. I can find bugs without using tools.

We’d like to take this time to express our appreciation for Lalli’s dedication and contributions to the company. Happy 20th anniversary and congratulations!

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