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TWN Life: our software testing engineer, “I became a software testing engineer by pure chance, and I’ve never looked back.”

Sigrid Varemäe & Tanel Tromp

We are continuing our new blog series TWNLife where we introduce you to the talented team members working at Trinidad Wiseman (TWN) on various positions. We talk about work life and hobbies, about what people did before they came to TWN, and we also throw in a few quirkier questions. This time, we interview our software testing engineer Tanel who is currently working through his 5th year at TWN



„Life literally called me to TWN and by pure chance, I became a software tester.“ 

How did you become a tester and how did you end up in TWN? 

Life literally called be. I had previous experience with managing content management systems (CMS). I made my own online stores to sell my handcrafted items as additional income alongside that of my main job – I had a pretty good grasp of how to navigate the laws of nature that apply to the online world. 


A friend of mine invited me to an event at TWN once upon a time and I caught myself thinking that I would like to work here! And now, here I am – thank you, life! :)


I started out as an UX designer at TWN, but I went up against other UX designers who were a lot more qualified than I and many of them had the kind of experience which felt extremely out of reach for me, somewhere high up in the clouds.


By pure chance, I had to take on the role of a tester in a project and it was as if a row of synapses exploded in my brain and I realised that that is what I want to do and that it is a field that won’t be lacking in projects in the future! 


Furthermore, I could be a more valuable employee to the company by doing something that is perhaps not as popular nor as appetising in the long run. Since TWN didn’t have its own testers at the time, then there was gap there that I eagerly started to fill and since then, I’ve never looked back. 


What are your skills, favourite projects and tasks? 

My skills are those required in a particular project and based on that, I either use ones I already have or develop new ones. Since by nature, testing is quite a creative and technical activity, then the opportunities for self-development are endless in every conceivable way – both in theory as well as in practice.


A very important part of the project is the people AKA the team, which consists of roles on both the client’s and our side. If the whole team is friendly and professional, then that project is likely to be a favourite of mine. 


My favourite task is definitely creating automated tests, and I do mean creating because this is where the two sides of software testing meet: creativity and technicality. 


Tondi tram stop photographed by TanelHandcrafted wall clock by Tanel, shaped like a book

Tondi tram stop where the tram picked Tanel up twice a day to drive him between work and home for many years (photo: Tanel Tromp).



”TWN is the type of company where people want to become better than they are.” 

How does TWN demonstrate its values? 

I agree with our CEO’s philosophy, which states that people cannot be motivated but they can be demotivated – today, TWN is 100% a meritocratic company. 


I’ve also always admired how TWN is the type of company where people want to become better than they actually are. This in turn motivates you to put more effort in as well and to further your reach as a professional, because you are constantly surrounded by people who set a good example. 


TWN provides a very good environment (for self-development) for proactive people – on the one hand, you are being offered things, on the other, you can do the offering.


For example, we have internal training sessions that cover a very wide array of topics nearly every week, and if you have some way of providing additional value to the company, then that can be done in the form of a WIKI page, a workshop, or both. 


What did you do before and what was your first job? 

I used to work as head of purchasing and the product manager in a technology company and I also worked as a hobbyist entrepreneur by creating handcrafted items and selling them around the world. 


I got my first job in the summer of 1997 at ASPI where I worked as a ditch digger and was paid 3500 EEK. I clearly remember it – the hot July sun, bugs, heavy overalls, a shovel, and the ditch, and at the same time, a bit further away from us, girls with towels heading off to go swimming.


That job definitely helped me build character. I feel like successful people are those who can get a big load of unpleasant things done without suffering for it. 


Handcrafted wall clock by Tanel, shaped like a book

When he still had the time for it, Tanel loved handicraft – you can still find his wall clocks everywhere from Estonia all the way to the island of Java (photo: Tanel Tromp).



”Lying down in a hammock and listening to the world, napping, and reading are my relaxation techniques.” 

How do you like to relax, what are your hobbies and hidden skills? 

I find that the radio show “Mystical Russia” is what helps me get my thoughts away from work the best. I also like to lie down in a hammock and listen to the world, to nap, and to read. I really appreciate being able to spend time in a forest and love the cool waters of bog lakes. 


I do have a hidden skill – I can talk to my wife and do work at the same time, and she doesn’t notice. I use that quite often. :D 


What is the weirdest habit you have, the most daring thing you have done, and who is the most famous person you have met? 

It’s like a curse, but I have a habit of always going to pick mushrooms when there are mushrooms yet! I would say the most daring thing I’ve done is reading Edgar Savisaar’s book “The Prime Minister”. :D  


The most famous person I’ve had the honour of meeting in real life was Tiger Woods – now that was a memorable occasion! In 1999, the British Open golf championship took place in Scotland.


I was on the golf course when suddenly, all the birds took off from the trees and the sky got dark. Two green helicopters approached, and Tiger Woods came out of one of them, his golf bag from the other. 



”First, you yourself need to change (for the better) and then you’ll see the world changing in the same way with you.” 

What is your life philosophy and what would you do if you had enough money to never need to work again? 

My philosophy is that we can evolve every day and become better AKA more fully worthy people. Yes, we can change the world. But first, you yourself need to change and then you’ll see the world changing in the same way with you, either for worse or for better, dependent on the direction you’ve taken. 


If I never had to work again, then I’d try my best to tip the scales more towards the good. The world isn’t always fair for every ten cases out of ten, but we can bring more justice into the world by decreasing the amount of injustice others experience and by doing so, decreasing the amount of injustice in the world. 


In general, I believe that all people get what they deserve and by that logic, every pig will always find its dirt. But of course, even here, the law that exceptions confirm the rule applies. 


We must deal with these exceptions but unfortunately, it seems like all things material play and important role here and the average person doesn’t have the energy, skills, or time needed to go from ideas to actions. 


What is something on your to-do list for this year that you have never done before, and what is the best advice you have ever heard? 

My to-do list definitely includes visiting those Estonian islands that I have not visited myself yet. I plan to make a tradition of it. 


The best advice I have ever heard is something Ingvar Villido said

“Don’t take everything you think and feel too seriously.” 


Tanel sitting in a chair with transparent bucket on his head

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