Although I am a frequent visitor to SQAforum, this is my first post. I have to say what wonderful community it is.Advice/suggestions/tips given are helpful. I am hoping that QA gurus can help me.
A little background of myself- I am in QA engineer(manual testing) for past 9 years. Worked in various domains. Past 2 yrs working for a product based company with decent pay (above average pay).
Till date I am considered as a top performer. But off lately, I am feeling very low in my self confidence. I don't feel motivated enough and I am seriously doubting my capabilities / what I am worth for.
I don't feel to look out for other opportunities as I feel I may not be able to sell myself. I don't have any automation experience or any fancy QA certifications .
I can't talk to my boss as he is out on vacation for next 5 weeks (plus I don't want him to know that I am lacking motivation).
I love QA, no doubt on that. But something is making me to be laid back...be non-proactive. That wasn't me a year ago.
Any advice on how to work on motivating self and improving QA skills that will make you stand out from the crowd ?
It sounds like you're a bit burned out - you mentioned you get decent pay, but nothing about whether you enjoy what you're doing.
If you are enjoying your position, then there's a good chance you're feeling a bit stale and need a new challenge to excite you.
You mentioned that you have no automation experience - is there room in your current position to learn automation? Some other diversification options include gaining some side skills, such as project management experience or test lead experience (which can often be done by simply offering to help out and shadow your boss/project lead/lead). Another option is to learn some of the related technologies: if you're testing applications with database interaction, you could aim to learn more about how databases work and how to query them (which has the added bonus of giving you extra paths to trace through when you find a possible bug). Or if your employer has a dedicated testing lab which is managed by the testing group, you could learn some system administration skills to be better able to optimize your test systems.
I personally find the best motivator is something I enjoy doing. No matter what it is, if I can find something to enjoy, that will carry me through everything else. For improving QA skills almost anything can do that - in my experience the most powerful tool of any QA person is an inquiring mind that isn't afraid to ask "what if we did it differently? Why do we do it this way anyway?"
I appreciate your openness.
I have been working in QA for 30 years. 18 or more years in automation.
For me, the feeling that you have gets worse with time. Students in school learn new technologies. My eyes and back hurt so much that when I go to study I would rather do something else.
I have gone down the route of challenging myself and it worked for a while. However I don't always want to enjoy being challenged and in a state of looking for an answer to a problem. Having a constant challenge can be a drain. I think about the idea of what I'm working on while going to the gym, hanging out with friends. I dream about the topic. I can't do this for 30 years at a time.
It it nice when I have projects and work that I enjoy. But they are not all fun.
Some days of work are fun. Other days I want to quit and work at Starbucks.
I found automation to be more enjoyable than straight manual testing. At first it looks easy because you can record and replay. Then you start seeing that there is more to it. Then I wonder how everyone on this board knows so much that I don't. Then I get to work with new people and realize that I do know more than I thought that I did.
I go hour by hour and try to enjoy the experience.
I felt being expert in one thing is very rewarding instead of knowing 50 odd things though you bear the risk of sudden demise of that one thing and finding yourself as a lead actor of " The Terminal".
But still I advocate to be a expert of something instead of jack of all trade, it may boast confidence like anything.
Knowing security, performance(with many tools), automation(with many tools), vpat, database(with many database), mainframe(with many terminal),web development(with many language), web-service and so on with multiple domain knowledge like finance, insurance, retail,LMS,ITIL....will still count as average in comparison to the people who are better in one thing ( including BA or SA role).
Last edited by Yogi_Shukla; 08-16-2013 at 02:29 PM.
Being an expert in one or a few things is great as long as those things stay around. I was once an expert at International Morse Code. I don't see many job openings for it any more.
I agree that knowing something very well is often more valuable than knowing many things lightly.
I can speak Spanish, Chinese and Russian very poorly. It is only useful when I am at a party and start speaking all of them at once. People think I'm a computer or have Google piped into my head.
But outside of that gimmick it is usually a useless talent.