Hi, I’m

MATT FOULKES

Principal QA Engineer, Leader, DE&I Advocate.

QA Transformation? Delivery problems? Recruitment difficulties? Reach out, and let’s see how we can work together to resolve your organisational challenges and strengthen your quality standards.

quality assurance

engineering

LEADERSHIP

design

PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

PORTFOLIO

CV

Principal QA Engineer, Leader, Continuous Delivery Improvement, DE&I Evangelist

Head of QA with over 14 years experience of quality engineering, with a focus on delivery improvement, strategic goal actualisation and team development.

Experienced leader, mentor and engineering manager, with a strong track record of transforming QA process, rejuvenating product delivery practises and propagating team collaboration.

With 20 years experience in a commercial web environment covering industries such as media publishing, video streaming, ed-tech, e-commerce, betting, social community and data distribution has equipped me with the skills and drive to deliver the best possible software experience for consumers.

QA Transformation? Delivery problems? Recruitment difficulties?

Reach out, and let’s see how we can work together to resolve your organisational challenges and strengthen your quality standards.

2024

Contractor

October 2023 – Present

Project: East Midlands Shared Services

In order to refresh my technical skills, I embraced a project to deliver a financial services website and resources portal for a local government client, which is utilised by the public, commercial clients and internal staff.

This project allowed me to apply skills in client negotiation, project planning, customer analysis, time management, design, UX, engineering and testing. The product was successfully deployed in April 2024.

October 2023 – present

Skills: Project management · Client negotiation · Design · Engineering · PHP · CSS · Figma

Project: Web hosting consolidation

Project to evaluate and identify a new hosting platform, migrate and integrate a number of existing web services onto that new provider and ensure product continuity.

October 2023 – January 2024

Skills: Project management · Server configuration  · DNS · Mail exchange

Project: MattFoulkes.com

Web project for self promotion to display online CV, skills and commercial experience.

March 2024

Skills: Project management · Planning · Design · Engineering · PHP · CSS · Figma

2023

Personal Development

February 2022 – September 2023

Personal Goals

After achieving my professional goals at PA Media, I took some time to accomplish some personal objectives and learn some new skills.

  • 6 months solo travelling Asia living out of a backpack really challenged and developed my confidence and self reliance, and gave me some wonderful cultural experiences.
  • Completed the build of my overland 4×4 camper vehicle, improved my mechanical engineering and carpentry proficiency: www.CamperTroll.com
  • Travelled the coastlines of England, Scotland and Wales by road which put my planning and problem solving abilities to the test.
  • Inspired after a trip to Vietnam, I obtained my full UK class-A motorcycle licence. Subsequently I returned to the country to ride a motorcycle through the area that captured my heart, and thus attaining a dream of mine.
  • Redecorated my house, renovated the bathroom and created a cinema room, applying my design and practical expertise.
  • Began learning Vietnamese as a way to further connect with the culture and improve my mental dexterity.

February 2022 – September 2023

Skills: Mechanical & electrical engineering · Learning · Self improvement · Design · Creativity · Discipline

2022

The Press Association

February 2016 – January 2022

PA is the national news agency of the UK, providing breaking news, articles, photos, multimedia, video streaming, sports data, TV listings and other digital and media services to a broad range of international businesses and organisations.

Principal QA Engineer

I was promoted to Principal QA Engineer in less than 18 months, becoming responsible for the quality of all digital products and services of the national news agency of the UK. I established Quality Assurance as a service, streamlined paths to delivery and brought Quality Engineering to the forefront of development.

Leadership

When delivery problems arose, I worked quickly to troubleshoot issues by embedding myself into squads, leading by example as a hands on engineer, and influencing process, tooling and strategy to improve performance. We consistently achieved over 95% successful releases within all 8 teams.

Strategy

I aligned engineers’ annual objectives with company goals, and guided their professional development. Having visibility and influence of longer term business goals allowed me to lay the groundwork early and prepare for upcoming requirements and challenges.

Recruitment

Tackling challenges around recruitment, I restructured the QA team, changed hiring processes and introduced new recruitment strategies including targeted recruitment days allowing us to assess multiple engineers at once.

To improve staff retention and establish a pipeline of new talent, I designed and implemented a rolling 18-month Graduate Development Scheme. This program equipped junior engineers with a baseline knowledge across multiple disciplines, soft skills, technical ability and company practices.

Collaboration

To build collaboration within the department, I worked to form Communities of Practice for collaborative learning, demos and establishing policies of best practice. This enabled knowledge sharing, awareness of emerging technologies and wider pools of technical support amongst the squads, and resulted in more opportunity for inter-squad mobility, and rapid scaling.

Diversity

I volunteered as department DE&I representative to form a working group tasked with defining company wide policy, practises and education. We influenced chief executive goals, setting targets and pathways to support and increase diversity.

June 2017 – January 2022

Skills: Leadership · Engineering excellence · Management · Continuous improvement · DE&I · Mentorship

Senior QA Engineer

Responsibilities:

  • QA leadership for the PA Images business, from planning through to deployment and product support.
  • Promoted and established automation-first and test driven development strategies.
  • Supported the Leadership team in recruiting and on-boarding new technical staff.
  • Push a quality first agenda by influencing design, engineering and processes.
  • Represent QA in agile ceremonies and other business and stakeholder meetings.

Achievements:

  • Sole QA for a redesigned launch of the main PA Images e-commerce website, doubling its monthly ad-hoc revenue.
  • Leading the QA effort in changing the Images ingestion process to a microservice based architecture.
  • Developed a new TDD QA process for rapidly on-boarding new 3rd party photo content providers.
  • Built a new parallelised Cucumber/Selenium WebDriver automation suite for the Images UI site.
  • Onboarded and mentored an additional QA engineer into the squad training them in the domain.
  • Seconded to another team to create a fast, efficient automation suite for the horse racing customer admin system and a new on-course horse racing platform to provide rapid data syndication.

February 2016 – June 2017

Skills: Java · Selenium · WebDriver · Cypress · JS · Mocha · Docker · Jmeter · Akamai · SQL · JSON/XML

2016

Contractor

February 2015 – February 2016

Unfortunately the Nottingham office at TES was closed due to restructuring, with the whole team and I being made redundant. I took some time to work on personal projects and did some freelance web design and management work.

Projects

I took this opportunity to diversify and work on various contract roles and web projects for clients including:

  • A music industry news and interviews product
  • A health & wellbeing organisation
  • A vehicle modifications company
  • A cycling news website

February 2015 – February 2016

Skills: Project management · Client negotiation · Design · Engineering · WordPress · PHP · CSS

Personal Achievements

Alongside my contracting work, I found opportunity to upskill and work on some additional personal goals:

  • Taught myself to weld
  • Taught myself to sew
  • Commenced major engineering of my overland camper 4×4 project
  • Redecorated my house
  • Landscaped my garden

February 2015 – February 2016

Skills: Project Planning ·Mechanical engineering · Welding · Sewing · Interior Design · Groundwork · Creativity

2015

TES Global

July 2013 – January 2015

TES is the largest network for a single profession in the world. Reaching over 6.4m registered users across 276 countries allowing, teachers to share resources, develop lesson plans and connect with other educators worldwide.

Senior QA Engineer

Responsibilities:

  • Taking responsibility for quality of releases to TES’ core platform of traffic generating applications; Teaching Resources, Community and News.
  • Brought in to establish a robust, performant automation suite for multiple products.
  • Detailing test plans, reports and risk assessments for senior management.
  • Refreshing, maintaining and trouble-shooting test environments.
  • Triaging production bug reports and liasing with internal product and support staff.

Achievements:

  • QA on a high profile live streaming Cooking Lesson with Jamie Oliver which achieved a Guinness World Record for the most pupils cooking along at the same time.
  • Defined and planned a new, more light-weight and accessible approach to automation, and documented this for the QA team and business.
  • Developed this new automation suite from scratch including automating Flash and Silverlight interaction.
  • Appraised various automation tools for suitability to the business and stakeholder needs.
  • QA responsibility for a successful move to the Cloud.
  • Integral involvement in a switch to entirely HTTPS securely-delivered TES.co.uk application.
  • Launch of a new Further Education News platform boosting TES’ reach into this sector.
  • New country-specific pages to enhance international SEO visibility and drive traffic to the site.
  • A redeveloped single-sign-on application for aligning registration across all TES products, with enhanced user profiles and data-collection to improve business marketing and targeting.
  • Subject specific hub pages giving a one-stop-shop for key educational topics.

July 2013 – January 2015

Skills: CI/CD · Webdriver · C# · Project planning · Stakeholder management · Solr · Omniture · IIS · Twist

2013

Local World Media

February 2010 – July 2013

– Formerly known as –

Northcliffe Media

October 2003 – February 2010

One of the UK’s largest local media and publishing companies, with a huge and diverse portfolio of hundreds of websites. Covering national, regional and hyperlocal news, sport, entertainment, events and information content.

QA Team Lead

Promoted to recruit, lead and manage a team of Web QA engineers, and all of our projects. Ensuring high-quality releases of Local World’s four main web applications, comprising networks of template-driven newspaper companion websites, regional ‘thisis’ websites, hyper-local community websites, and back-end CMS controlling these products.
Delivering and testing from concept-to-release a mobile version of the thisis sites, an iOS App, a Registration/CRM platform, an API and a successful move from in-house servers to the Cloud.
Ensuring continued quality by developing and maintaining a Selenium WebDriver automation suite, carrying out load testing and ensuring cross browser, device and OS compatibility.

February 2012 – July 2013

Skills: Leadership · Training · Java · WebDriver · Bamboo · Responsys · Fastly · Autonomy

Software Test Engineer

Software tester and QA engineer for our network of 31 regional websites and 170+ hyperlocal community websites, also providing development co-ordination and support. Successfully tested a new deal-of-the-day website, Wowcher, in very limited time and helped guide it through its development lifecycle. Built up an automated regression test suite for front-end and back-end applications using Selenium RC/Java, provide integration and ad-hoc testing, and give advice and consultation in development strategy meetings. Also produced detailed release documentation, training manuals, bug reports.

February 2010 – February 2012

Skills: Project Management · Scrum· Java · WebDriver · Selenium ·Grid · TestNG · ANT · JMeter · Akamai

Developer / QA Analyst / Helpdesk Analyst

I developed further technical skill by delivering various web projects and stand alone websites. My helpdesk duties included systems training for staff, triaging reported problems, keeping end users up to date with development progess and producing bug reports. I worked closely with the development team to collate and organise new feature requests to our network of thisis sites. I provided integration testing and UAT feedback for new developments and features.

September 2008 – February 2010

Skills: Development · PHP · Project planning · Documentation · SEO · Training · Analysis · Technical support

Head of National Content

Promoted to a role with a wide range of duties for our network of regional newspaper companion websites. Including; responsibility for publishing all national and network-wide content, liaising with external content providers and setting up content streams, arranging online promotions, expanding the scope of website coverage, managing stats and user interactions. Also closely involved in developing a redesign for our site network and additional features, and worked with staff across the group producing specialist content such as podcasts and blogs.

April 2005 – September 2008

Skills: Revenue streams · Data ingestion ·Supplier negotiation · Training · Product development · Multimedia

Content Developer

Responsibility for several key regional newspaper companion websites to strengthen our newspaper brands and provide addition content to customers. Assisted with development strategy and technical implementation for our network of 30+ newpaper sites, and also had close involvement with other external stand-alone websites and web design projects. Answered user enquiries via telephone and email, and developed close working relationships with internal staff from around the country.

October 2003 – April 2005

Skills: ASP · CSS ·Graphic design · Photoshop · Data management · Content creation · Podcasting

2003

ABOUT ME

ENGINEERING

I designed, fabricated and engineered my overland vehicle, learning welding, sewing and joinery in the process. The original goal is to drive across the High Atlas mountains in Morocco.

CONNECTION

I adore travelling, immersing in new cultures, meeting new people and exploring different cuisines. I have delved into 25 countries across 4 continents to date.

LEARNING

Continuous learning is my drive – though practical skills, theoretical concepts and knowledge – I particularly enjoy DIY projects,  fault-finding and repairing household goods.

CREATIVITY

My creativity and art is expressed in many ways, through cooking, interior design, web work and the many concepts and ideas I continuously entertain.

PASSION

Passion is essential for growth. Amongst my other passions listed here, one of the most recent is perhaps motorcycling, having passed my Class A licence in early 2023.

EXPRESSION

Spoken languages are not my forte, but I have recently committed to learn basic Vietnamese. I’m finding it way harder than JS or Java!

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