QA story: How I became a tester

I might look like a successful person. I travel abroad at least once a year for holidays, I speak at the conferences, I work for a great company and I’ve just moved into my own flat. For many, this might seem like the top of their dreams. But The memory of how I was homeless and jobless is still strong in my mind.

Oh, sweet summer child

What a grim absurd… To decide about life in a youth when you are a moron.

This quote from the polish movie Day of the Wacko sometimes is very true. It is really absurd to choose the life career when you know nothing about a real job. This was my case so I needed to rely on others, wiser than me. Their advice was “don’t go for IT” with arguments like “It isn’t for You” or “Look how many are going for it, in a few years there will be no job opportunity for them”. Instead, they suggested me to go for Civil Engineering. I went for it and I was amazing in it – I had the best grades and a scholarship. During my studies, I went for half a year internships. They were not supposed to pay me anything, but at the end, they were so amazed by my performance that they paid me. I went for a master degree in Engineering Geology since education in this field was required for some sort of permissions. Again amazing grades and I was praised by the teachers.

Somewhere in that time, I fell in love with Wrocław city. So I moved there and right after I had my master degree I started another paid internship at District Mining Office. For three months I was preparing interactive maps with mining fields and flooding risks. I felt that in this office I could be able to use all the experience I gained during my studies with my passion – IT. I felt like I could be a real deal asset for any kind of company.

Winter is coming

I did not suspect, that right after this internship I would be left jobless. They were not able to offer me a paid position. So for the first time I’ve created my CV and motivation letter and sent them to many companies within geology and building industry. Not a single one replied.

So I started to apply for other public offices like Police or Ministry of Defense. This might be an odd choice, but I was (and I still am) really passionate about military stuff. Moreover, public offices were obligated by law to invite me for an interview if I met the requirements for the position. It seemed that the Ministry of Defense didn’t care much about the law since they did not invite me or respond to my application. As for the job opportunities within the Police Department I failed at the knowledge test. Moreover, I was over-educated and not pretty enough to get a job as cashier or waitress.

MultiEducation

My money started to run short. I decided to register as unemployed to have more job opportunities and some professional help. I was desperate to stay in Wrocław and to do so I needed to unregister from my parent’s house in another city. To save some money I moved to the flat with my boyfriend and his 4 male friends. This way I ended up being homeless, jobless with only help from my student boyfriend.

The tides turn

As it turned out it was a very good decision to register as unemployed. At the beginning, they offered me a recruitment training. We practised typical questions and possible answers. Moreover, we were recorded during simulated recruitment and after that, we analyzed the recording. I even had a full re-work on my CV. There is a lot of knowledge, that is not to be found on the internet like:

  • Photo, where you are natural and smiling, is better than typical ID photo,
  • Take a moment to make your CV just good looking
  • Try to keep everything on one page
  • Bold the most important parts from the job point of view
  • Prepare the CV for every job position You apply for
  • Try to match all job offer requirements within your CV and motivation letter
  • Never forget about hobbies, it gives nice ideas for questions to recruiter
  • Minimize unnecessary information (like education or previous experiences) if they are not important from the job point of view
  • You may add “Projects” section where You point out something you do and might be of importance

While working on my CV I realized that I have some skills in programming and SQL. With those in my CV applying for a software tester position was a natural suggestion.

Summary

My journey towards testing was a journey with many bumps, twists and turns. I never had any formal education in IT field, but I was very passionate about it. Moreover, I had the skill set desired in this field of work like knowledge about SQL, fast learning, analytic thinking and creativity.

I found that software testing field is full of stories like mine. Many of my fellow testers were educated in a different field than IT. It all seems to be of the mind and skill set. So if You are a person from this group – high five! This is also the thing we should cherish and work upon. Not tools, not certificates, but mind and skill set.

Finally, I want You to remember to never give up. Recruitment can get hard. Even in our line of work, there might come the time when we hit the wall. For me finding the job was hard, but for many changing it is even harder. So cheer up – sometimes we need to take a step back in order to move forward.

Taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.

– Robert Brault

One thought on “QA story: How I became a tester

  1. Pingback: Testing Bits – Feb 11th – Feb 17th, 2018 | Testing Curator Blog

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