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Tern Around: Employee Spotlight on Women in Engineering with Marijke

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


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