8 Replies - 1653 Views - Last Post: 25 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

#1 KBoogle  Icon User is offline

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Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:30 AM

I'm currently employed as QA in a software company and there is opportunity to get some training for Release Manager that's come up and I've jumped on it.

My current boss isn't very happy about it, claiming something about having invested a lot into me. Problem being I've not had anything invested into me. The one year that I've worked here I've not received any kind of training and have gained a total of 0 technical skills that I didn't have already. You see, in this QA department nobody has any kind of technical skills. We are simply given software to test from a user's perspective and we file bugs based on what we see happening on the screen. We are not given even the most basic of tools to help with finding what's causing an issue. Instead we file it as soon as we see it, and then it goes on a merry go round between client team, cms team, server team, then finally a week later turns out it was a configuration mistake during the last push from DEV to TEST. If we had the tools and training we could have found this out ourselves and had the issue fixed the day we found it, but that's not how it works around here.

In fact around here we have people employed that don't know how to change the font size in MSPaint or fix their screen resolution with multiple monitors.

TL;DR I don't see any future for myself in here - I already feel like I've wasted a year here having learned nothing to show for it. When it comes time to find a new job (and with the way our projects are going that doesn't seem far away from now) I'll say I've worked for 2-3 years here, but I wouldn't have any kind of technical skills to show for it. Nevermind writing test cases, maybe I'm wrong but I don't consider that as a "technical" skill.

So here comes an opportunity to finally get some training, get some skills that can benefit me not just right now but also in the future. Is there any reason why I shouldn't jump on this opportunity?

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Replies To: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

#2 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:38 AM

Most companies will never really tell you this but they want the QA department to stay dumb. You closely resemble the end user who has no idea about the internal workings of the product and would be fumbling through it like you. They don't want you to be digging into the code to find why the bug is happening or for you to be throwing out ideas on how it might be fixed. That makes the QA process better in that if you are running into it, the end user is running into it. You are essentially an internal focus group.

Having that said... you want to grow and there is nothing wrong with that at all. You should be wanting to grow and if you see some training available, take it. Your boss just doesn't seem to want anyone knowing more than them on anything. When you know more, you will look good to their boss and that means they appear to be standing still.

I don't know how many books I have seen that say "Make your boss look good and they will take you with them on their way to the top". That is just full out crap! What happens is that they will "attempt" to take you with them but if they are asked to dump you half the time they won't take a second thought.

It is a dog eat dog environment out there my friend, and learning something new and looking good makes you the bigger dog. The smaller dogs aren't going to like it.

Just keep in mind though that you don't want your boss hating on you too much, but if you see a chance to jump over them by learning some new skills, do it. It is all about biding your time, making sure to cover your back and maximizing your move when you decide to do it.

:)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 20 February 2013 - 10:40 AM

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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:53 AM

Quote

I'm currently employed as QA in a software company and there is opportunity to get some training for Release Manager that's come up and I've jumped on it.

My current boss isn't very happy about it, claiming something about having invested a lot into me
...
Is there any reason why I shouldn't jump on this opportunity?

Isn't happy as in just miffed and will get over it in a week, or isn't happy as in actively trying to block you from going? If it's the former then just make sure to keep saying positive things about 'being more useful to the company' and 'helping out more effectively in releases'.. if it's the latter then cinch up your sack for some rough times and pursue growth, or back off and just fade into the gray cube wall for ever as you stagnate with the rest of the lifers.

Martyr2's right - most places have the QA sequestered and locked in their own padded areas. They are a few steps above the drooling idiotic masses that actually use the software, and have the bonus of being under the corporate thumb. Yeah.. I did QA for about two years and then bailed.
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

If your manager doesn't want you to develop your skills, that's a bad sign. There's not a lot of ways that can possibly be good, either for you or for his department, and working for this person can't really work out well for you. The best way to not be working for this person in the future is for you to develop your skills so you have more choices next year than you do today.

If your boss doesn't like it, you should talk to the person over their head. Be calm and reasonable about it, but your position is, if you know more, you can be more valuable to the company, so this is something you should do.

Now, in fairness there can be practical objections to particular training at particular times - for example, a three-day offsite seminar in the end stages of a release might not be ideal - but that's an issue for smart negotiation. The question is, what training should you pursue and how, not should you pursue further training.
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#5 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 24 February 2013 - 02:00 PM

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#6 KBoogle  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:00 PM

Thank you for your replies. She was so unhappy that she was saying that I either stay in QA or go over to the DEV department. However the director above her apparently put some pressure and she agreed that I could do 2 days training and 3 days in QA, provided I could keep up with my QA work.

I'm surprised you say the QA departments are usually purposefully kept with minimum skills. I thought that was what "Testers" were for, and "QA" was something a bit higher level. In fact here where I live it looks like most jobs with QA openings actually do want to see some technical skills. At the end of last year a lot of people here were let go, some of which haven't been able to find a job yet. One tells me all the jobs she's applied to want her to show more technical skills than she's got (although a few of them sound like they are looking for a programmer to write automated testing with the salary of QA).

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 20 February 2013 - 11:26 AM, said:

View PostKBoogle, on 20 February 2013 - 11:30 AM, said:

Is there any reason why I shouldn't jump on this opportunity?


Because you're so unsure of yourself, and skiddish that you have to ask strangers what to do with your life.
Perhaps the new added responsibility will be just too much for you.

Had you considered a career in the Army? They will tell you when to wake up, when to eat, what to do every hour of the day so you don't have to make those decisions yourself.


I appreciate your harsh honesty, but there's no need to be rude about it. What's so wrong in asking advice from people that have been in IT for many years and have probably experienced a similar situation?
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#7 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

I never said there was anything wrong with your question.
You asked a question, I quoted it, I answered it. I addressed no other part of your post but the question you asked, and I never said anything about it being a bad question.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 20 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:21 PM

To be fair, you also made some pretty harsh assumptions about the motivation for asking the question. After all, it's entirely possible he was simply making conversation, or more plausibly that he was trying to work out how to address the problem, and felt that hearing other voices on the subject might be useful.
It seems a bit of a reach to assume that his intent was to get advice to follow - I had assumed that he was simply looking for a way to sort out ideas when faced with a vexing question.
I mean, we're not talking about an established professional who could presumably walk off of his job tomorrow and have his pick from a dozen the next week - that's the life of a career programmer. Five years on the job and you have to put "saying no to recruiters" down as an entry when you calculate how you spend your day. A kid working a QA gig and looking to advance has presumably got less experience in workplace politics than you do, less margin for error, and a lot less resume and connections.
Is it really that surprising that he wants to have someone else's input into the decision?
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#9 wordswords  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is more training/skills ever a bad idea?

Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

I think it depends on which company you work for. At the BBC we have three different QA roles; QA analyst (which is manual testing), Technical Test Analyst (which is automated testing/some manual QA) and Developer in Test (which is a developer role, but working in QA, mostly automating tests).

I would definitely recommend you get more developer experience, as QA testing long-term can be very dull for some poeple, and if you want to get paid more and - to be honest - treated a little better, and you have enthusiasm for a more developer role such as release engineer, then go for it.

The QA manager sounds a bitch, and if she has issue with you taking up the new role, then that's down to internal politics only, she should be angry at whomever offered you the training, not you! She probably values you as a resource but don't let it put you off taking hold of your career.

This post has been edited by wordswords: 25 February 2013 - 04:17 PM

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