Hector Navarro: A software quality professional
His view on changing technologies and outsourced QA
Hector Navarro, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, has devoted exactly half of his life to improving, enhancing, and developing various technologies. Working as a Lead Quality Engineer at Asymm, Hector brings decades of experience to the team.
While he has been working as an engineer for well over twenty years, he first showed an interest in technology when he was quite young. "Someone was promoting the program by knocking on people's doors, and my mom was adamant about increasing our computer literacy. It turned out that it was a little more than just that," he laughs, "by the time I was twelve, I had started to learn computer programming."
To summarize, Hector is a firm believer that the sum of our parts makes us stronger, and he has long applied this forward-thinking perspective to all aspects of his life. Before computer programming, Hector aspired to be a musician, having become an experienced acoustic guitarist at the age of seven. However, following that fateful moment, when he was inadvertently signed up for programming, his separate skills merged in his aspirations to be an audio engineer.
“I’m a behind-the-scenes type of person. I love being part of something larger than myself, and the process of seeing something come together.”
It only takes a few moments with him to notice Hector's passion for what he does. What began as a small spark has grown into a full-fledged light show, with Hector's zest for life only fueling it further. As a husband and father to his eleven-year-old daughter, he now has the opportunity to share that spark with those closest to him, advocating for a future of innovation, but more importantly, unity.
In an era that preceded much of what we associate with the web today, Hector grew up alongside our web and mobile future, graduating from elementary programming classes to studying Computer Engineering at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. With an MBA added to his list of certifications, Hector’s humble beginnings in tech have transformed him into an invaluable asset to all with whom he works, whether that be his coworkers or stakeholders.
“The work I’ve done over the years has built out my skill set in crazy ways, and I love that about this field. Technology is always changing, and there’s always something new to learn. You’ve got to stay agile and open, but also maintain that child-like imagination for what’s possible.”
"By that time, I'd been programming for close to a decade," he recalls with fondness, describing his first freelancing projects, which included the construction of networks and databases. It was the late nineties at the time, and when he wasn't cramming for tests, he could be found assembling and selling computers so that he could earn additional money to cover his school expenses.
In January of 2000, just as the worldwide anxiety surrounding Y2K began to abate, Hector began working full-time as a Software and Project Engineer for Rain Bird, a leading company in the automated irrigation space. Although Hector's first responsibilities were in research and development, he quickly established himself as an invaluable asset in a number of other departments, such as quality engineering, product development, database management, and embedded software development.
“It’s always been important to me to be in a state of growth and exploration, no matter what I do. Here, I'm working with people half my age and I'm learning a lot from them. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years, but they have different understandings of new technology. It really is a case of being uplifted by the excellence around me.”
After another seven years, Hector pursued engineering opportunities at Plantronics, which is now known as Poly. There, he rose to the position of leader in the Software Quality Assurance department and expanded his expertise to include cordless communication and bluetooth. His sphere of knowledge and skills expanded in tandem with the development of the world around him.
Almost a decade into his professional career, Hector’s journey took a turn, seeing his Quality Assurance skills put to use on marine equipment at Navico. Only six months in, he became the Global Lead of his team, coaching and coordinating with engineers all over the world. “I tested everything from head units and sonars to radars and GPS antennas,” he explains. “It was an invaluable experience that took me to foreign lands and new heights, and I was better for it.”
“The crux of it is really the art of understanding, you know? Being able to share in a client’s vision and translate that into business objectives and technical elements. Innovation is about the ebb and flow of ideas, and building out an end result is a collaborative process.”
Now over a year into his journey with Asymm, Hector has been witness to the growth in team members and projects alike, citing an array of projects that keep the day-to-day captivating and challenging. “Some clients have a clear idea of their goals and their timelines,” he tells us, “but other projects are less defined at the beginning. Part of it is working to solidify their vision and walk with them through each step of that process.”
Hector appears to have found a home at Asymm, leading a wide range of projects and developers alike, with over two decades of experience developing and testing an assortment of software applications and systems. Whether working with senior full stack engineers, front-end developers, or quality engineers, his attention to detail and ability to stay organized and keep stakeholders aligned technically is a huge value add for everyone involved.
Should you get the chance to meet this cheerful chef, guitarist, software quality professional, father, consider yourself lucky. It’s certainly a privilege of ours to have him on board helping us and our clients build and launch projects (Better fed, too. He also happens to be quite the pitmaster).