QA as a career path?

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#1 kathy025   User is offline

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QA as a career path?

Posted 01 July 2015 - 08:50 PM

I've been a QA/Software Tester intern since May and honestly, there hasn't been any "eureka" moments during the experience as opposed to when I'm coding and learning something new and exciting in short intervals of time. It appears what I'm doing as QA can be easily done by someone who isn't even in the ComSci/IT field. Some testers here were previously call center agents, accountants, and in business admin. There isn't much growth in being QA - this coming from a current employee in the company (for 6 years) I'm an intern in.

Before a war is waged, I don't mean to offend anyone or incite a QA vs. Dev war. I chose to ask this question for clarification and objective (!butthurt) comments on the matter. I'm not sure if it's due to the fact I'm an intern that I feel like I'm doing menial "testing jobs" (e.g. account registration, log in, etc. - something anyone can do) so I want to hear what QA is supposed to be like - professionally.

Who is in Software Quality Assurance here? How is it as an IT career path?

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#2 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 01 July 2015 - 09:10 PM

I am not QA not have I been , but look at it this way; your foot is in the door. Your first step would be to move from intern to employed. Then, if you don't like what you are doing, work to move into another role, if you want to dev, talk to them and make your name known in the department. When a position comes available, apply for it. Just because you are in that position now, does not mean that you have to stay in the same role.
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#3 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 01 July 2015 - 09:27 PM

I was offered an internship doing QA and Java EE. In other words, I was offered the chance to rent my soul for the summer. I'm much happier doing what I do now. Folks I know who have done QA or been lead devs/PMs have all said that QA is quite monotonous. I would say your observations are spot on. If you're not happy, I'd try to move up or move on.

That being said, for an internship, this is still a good skill to have, as painful as it may be.
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#4 jon.kiparsky   User is online

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 01 July 2015 - 10:51 PM

Both of these areas, QA and IT are good areas to show some skills that are appreciated in good developers. A QA person has to understand the requirements of the program and the behavior of the user very deeply to prepare good tests, and they have to be systematic thinkers, and good at keeping track of their work. And frankly, they understand the importance of passing tests, which is kind of important. Someone who's very good at QA has earned my respect, and I'd certainly consider that a reason to talk to them about moving on to dev work. It's not a qualification for the job in itself, of course - you still have to know something about how to make programs that work - but it suggests that you're worth having in the room.
IT is a different skill set - there, you're managing people, trying to make sure that problems get solved. It's a good role to learn about the importance of priorities, and the impact of different sorts of bugs on the end user. A good IT person, I think, would be great to have in the room when the product owner is ordering the backlog - they're the one who will point out which bugs are going to be pain points for customers, and which ones not so much.
Again, if you're doing this and you do it well, it's concrete evidence of "smart and gets things done", and those are words to conjure with in development settings.

Okay, so you've wowed them with your people skills and your ability to work on technical problems. That means you should have good relations with the dev team, so you should talk to them about what you want to do. Ask for a lunch meeting with someone on the team to find out whether it's possible to make this move happen, and what you'd need to do. This can be a pretty casual thing, if you're on a chatting basis with someone (you ask them if you can buy them lunch and interrogate them for a little while, ha ha only serious) or it can be a more formal thing, where you're reaching out to someone you don't interact with much and asking them for a few minutes of their time to talk about your career development.

Most people, it turns out, are flattered to be asked for this sort of favor and will try to help you out, if you're reasonable about it. On the other hand, your part of the deal here is to be a good interviewer. They're giving you a chunk of their time, which is a very scarce resource. Have a goal in mind, what you're trying to get out of this time they're offering you, and help them help you. Be prepared with more questions than you'll have time for, and let a bunch of them fall on the floor. Guide the conversation, don't try to steer it. Let them know what it is you're after, and then have a nice talk. If you can do this well, then they'll come away thinking about ways to get you on their team, and wondering why they never thought of this before.
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#5 kathy025   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 02 July 2015 - 12:54 AM

Thank you everyone for your insightful comments.

I just received the 57 test cases for the desktop application I'm doing regression testing for in a span of 10 days.

QA does appear to be monotonous - repetitive test cases with minor alterations. I hope I didn't pursue Software Engineering just to end up with MS Excel. :splat:
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#6 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 02 July 2015 - 07:34 AM

<offtopic>
Two of my managers have now said that "Outlook is now my IDE." These are people who used to be very heavily involved in the designing, coding, and testing of things.
</offtopic>

jon.kiparsky comments are right on the money about skills and roles.

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 July 2015 - 01:51 AM, said:

Most people, it turns out, are flattered to be asked for this sort of favor and will try to help you out, if you're reasonable about it. On the other hand, your part of the deal here is to be a good interviewer. They're giving you a chunk of their time, which is a very scarce resource. Have a goal in mind, what you're trying to get out of this time they're offering you, and help them help you. Be prepared with more questions than you'll have time for, and let a bunch of them fall on the floor. Guide the conversation, don't try to steer it. Let them know what it is you're after, and then have a nice talk. If you can do this well, then they'll come away thinking about ways to get you on their team, and wondering why they never thought of this before.

Pick up a copy of What Color is my Parachute? There is a chapter that covers exactly this type of thing. Be very respectful of their time. As I recall, one of the strategies recommended was asking for 15 minutes and setting a timer or your phone or watch for 14 minutes.

Beyond the value of that one chapter, the book is actually a very good book to help you figure out exactly what kind of career you are looking for. I highly recommend it.
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#7 AnthonyMcqueen21   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 05 July 2015 - 01:23 PM

View Postkathy025, on 01 July 2015 - 07:50 PM, said:

I've been a QA/Software Tester intern since May and honestly, there hasn't been any "eureka" moments during the experience as opposed to when I'm coding and learning something new and exciting in short intervals of time. It appears what I'm doing as QA can be easily done by someone who isn't even in the ComSci/IT field. Some testers here were previously call center agents, accountants, and in business admin. There isn't much growth in being QA - this coming from a current employee in the company (for 6 years) I'm an intern in.

Before a war is waged, I don't mean to offend anyone or incite a QA vs. Dev war. I chose to ask this question for clarification and objective (!butthurt) comments on the matter. I'm not sure if it's due to the fact I'm an intern that I feel like I'm doing menial "testing jobs" (e.g. account registration, log in, etc. - something anyone can do) so I want to hear what QA is supposed to be like - professionally.

Who is in Software Quality Assurance here? How is it as an IT career path?


Well its a good start like many on this post i agree with its a foot in the door in the good general direction don't get discouraged at least you are in the field not many can proudly say that. :rolleyes:
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#8 MikeTest123   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 20 July 2015 - 09:00 PM

View Postkathy025, on 02 July 2015 - 12:54 AM, said:

Thank you everyone for your insightful comments.

I just received the 57 test cases for the desktop application I'm doing regression testing for in a span of 10 days.

QA does appear to be monotonous - repetitive test cases with minor alterations. I hope I didn't pursue Software Engineering just to end up with MS Excel. :splat:/>


I think I understand the reason to your boredom at your internship - to be honest executing 57 regression tests manually is usually the kind of 'grunt' work given to interns or offshore testers, no offence. But to answer your question - QA is a genuine career path, it leads to several paths, some go down the automation route, some testers become developers or product managers. However if you are bored of testing after just 2 months, you might want to reconsider your career choices. But if you stick it out, there is more to QA Life than regression using Ms Excel sheets. Do some research API testing and automating UI testing using selenium, you may find your Eureka moment after speaking to some successful testers. To be honest, the jaded tester who is unhappy after 6 years did not make a plan for their own career growth.
Good luck
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#9 kathy025   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 12 August 2015 - 06:01 PM

Yes, the 57 test cases appeared like a project no one wanted to do. It was a turnover project and the application was far from intuitive and was confusing to navigate. It was dry and tedious.

As a student, I believe internship is the best time to explore career choices as students are not legally contracted to the company yet. We intern for a total of 6 months so I've already completed the first 3 months as QA. The remaining 3 I plan to spend as Junior Dev. This way, I get to experience both sides which doesn't seem to be a bad thing.

I've already left the company and I'm currently entertaining interviews from other companies, wish me luck. :)
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#10 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 12 August 2015 - 07:48 PM

Good luck... Think of it this way, you are already used to testing applications. So, you know how to do things that a lot of developers don't!
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#11 jon.kiparsky   User is online

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 12 August 2015 - 08:27 PM

Best of luck with that - a round of interviews can be grueling after a while, but as astonecipher points out, your prior experience is an asset that many people don't have, particularly at the early stages of a career. Sellable points are the ability to find edge cases and cracks in the code that you're working on, and the habit of looking for them. This will make your code much more bulletproof, and it'll give you an edge in code review.

If you can transfer some of that experience to writing good unit tests, this is even better. A junior person who understands unit tests has a nice edge.
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#12 kathy025   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 24 March 2016 - 07:21 AM

Hi guys,

Sorry to be bumping this topic but I'd just like you to know I have landed a job as QA under the Mobility Testing team. Now I don't know what that is yet but it's a solid company with good benefits so I couldn't pass them up easily. I hope that wasn't a bad move. This is a different company from where I interned as QA and I start at entry level after graduation.

Recently, I noticed there's an increasing demand for QAs.
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#13 MikeTest123   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 24 March 2016 - 08:32 AM

Hi Kathy

Glad to hear that you have been sticking with the QA path ! Yes, there certainly is a lot of demand for QA on the market, but not just QA, there is high demand for developers, dev ops, scrum masters, project managers, product managers etc. You get the picture! There are a growing number of start ups with a lot of seed money from investors, the mobile platform has also exploded in a good way. There is now a solid market for mobile development where as it was a somewhat novelty niche area about 7 years ago.

I think that you have made a good choice in taking up the mobility testing role. There is a great deal that you can and will learn, for example:
-UI/UX design
-Selenium IDE / Jenkins framework
-Automation
-API testing
-Tools like Testrail, Jira, Postman, GitHub, Hiroku , Charles Proxy etc. the list goes on.
-Android / iOS testing

Think about which direction you want to - immerse yourself in that area, there are tons of youtube tutorials, conferences and meetups, so many avenues for advice and direction.

Good luck!
Mike
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#14 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 24 March 2016 - 08:09 PM

Congrats on the new job! That's exciting news. :)
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#15 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: QA as a career path?

Posted 24 March 2016 - 09:25 PM

Congratulations!
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