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Get to know the CNET family: Q&A with Nader Zaidan

Get to know Nader, our site's ninja, a new dad and an ex-BlackBerry fanboy.

James Martin/CNET

Take a step behind the scenes at CNET to get to know some of our staff members better and learn what they do to make our site a success.

Hello, CNET readers and community members, I hope this article finds you in good spirits. Today I have here with me the eyes and ears of our site, Nader Zaidan -- one of CNET's finest QA engineers. QA = quality assurance! Chances are if you've visited any of CNET's pages, Nader knows it like the back of his hand. Not only does he have mad ninja skills in finding bugs and problems with our site and back-end tools, he is also great at recommending improvements so that our product folk can make sure you have a better experience when you're visiting us. 


Nader Street Fighting

Lee Koo/CNET

He also has crazy Street Fighter skills and can really whip his arcade opponents. He recently got a big dose of reality becoming a new dad, and is loving every moment of it. He is a big car enthusiast, a coffee aficionado, a computer geek and an ex-BlackBerry fanboy who I personally believe knows more about BlackBerry than most. Don't believe me? Bring it on and quiz him in the comments section. :-) Now enough of what I know of Nader, here he is:

Q: What's your job title and what do you do?

A: As a senior QA engineer, I love to see happy users, and I do what I can to make that happen. Some of the tasks I perform to help achieve that goal include filing bugs (including bugs reported by users), running smoke tests to make sure critical parts of the site are working as expected and submitting suggestions to product managers and developers to improve the user experience. Being a QA engineer involves working closely with product managers, developers and other stakeholders. I also handle testing for various back-end systems for CNET, ZDNet and TechRepublic.

Q: What's a fun fact about you related to work?

A: I was an avid user of the various CNET Networks properties including CNET, GameSpot and Download.com prior to applying for the job.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

A: Incorporating test automation. I don't always trust automation solutions, but if it's done right, it can be an immensely powerful supplement to manual testing. Determining what to automate is the first step.


Nader hard at work

Lee Koo/CNET

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

A: Seeing an improvement or new feature go live and users expressing their approval of it. It's also rewarding to find bugs using new or clever processes.

Q: What's the most influential tech item in your life?

A: The BlackBerry Pearl 8130. It was my first smartphone, and I was fascinated with how good of a communication machine it was. It was released around the time the first iPhone was released, but I was drawn to it more than the iPhone. At the time, the BlackBerry brand screamed prestige and class.

Q: Are you a Mac or PC person?

A: PC. I almost always go for the best bang for the buck, and Windows machines have had the upper hand in that department. Plus, I started putting together Windows desktops as a teenager, which surely swayed my preference. I was provided a MacBook Pro for work use and am impressed with many aspects of it, but since I'm a fan of Windows 10, am a gamer and like to go for the best value, I have stuck with Windows.

Q: Android or iOS or Windows?

A: Android, only because BlackBerry 10 was a failure and I knew I eventually had to move on. The lack of apps was a big issue. I'm glad to see many of the features that made BB10 so great have been implemented in BlackBerry's version of Android. It's hard to say what I would have gone with had BlackBerry not gone the route of Android.

Q: What's your favorite CNET video?

A: I loved the CNET To the Test videos that test some of the products featured on "Shark Tank." I remember watching only a few such videos, so sadly it seems the video series was short-lived and has been discontinued.

Q: What's your favorite TV show?


Can you tell they're big SF Giants and Golden State Warriors fans?

Nader Zaidan/CNET

A: "The X-Files." Oddly, I wouldn't consider myself a sci-fi fan in general, but "The X-Files" grabbed my interest. I liked the blend of alien episodes and independent episodes. Also, Mulder and Scully work so well together. One of my favorite episodes is "Brand X" (season 7, episode 18).

Q: What's the best/worst gift you've ever given/received?

A: I was once given a digital coin counter money jar. I thought it was useless and a waste of space. After nearly a year of it collecting dust, I attempted to return it at Sears, but apparently I had taken too long and the product was no longer recognized in their system. I sadly had to bring it back home to collect more dust.

Q: Soup or salad? Why that and not the other?

A: Usually soup. Soup is comforting and usually has more complex flavors. Most salads are pretty dull. Also, I generally don't like typical salad dressing and prefer a simple one consisting of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

A: Gaming, sports and diagnosing and fixing computer issues.

There you are, folks, Mr. Nader Zaidan. If you like playing Street Fighter and love BlackBerry phones and sci-fi shows, you have a lot in common with him already. Got questions for Nader? Hit him up in the comments section and ask away. Thank you, everyone, and thank you, Nader! 


Nader and family

Nader Zaidan/CNET