Thoughts on a career after testing
I have about six years experience in QA, all within the financial services industry. Prior to this I worked in operations in the financial services industry. I have been made redundant and am facing a dilemma.
My time testing has been spent doing manual, black box testing of desktop applications, I have only worked in a waterfall environment. I don't know why it's taken so long but I suddenly realised the industry is moving fast and I have been completely left behind. I guess being in finance the company worked I for was quite conservative.
I have no experience of Agile, no experience of automation and no experience of web testing. I have been teaching myself c# and Selenium in my spare time and reading about agile, but this is not going to be enough to convince employers and requirements for these skills are now common even in the finance industry.
So I am wondering rather than trying to convince potential employers I can put my theoretical knowledge to practical use, perhaps it's time to get out of testing and do something else, especially given that "test is dead". I was thinking perhaps doing UAT testing on a contract basis, or perhaps apply for analyst jobs.
Has anybody experienced a similar challenge? Any advice?
I think you first need to decide if QA/testing is something you are truly passionate about. If it is just a job, then perhaps the advice below is moot and the investment in automation is futile.
If you are truly passionate about testing and if given a choice would rather continue in the QA/testing world, you should put your Selenium/C# skills to use at your current job. If Selenium doesn't work for your current application, pick a technology that does. Sounds like your employer may not care for it, but doing so would show ownership on your part, facilitate self-learning, make your current job easier (if you do your automation right) and give you practical automation experience for your resume. The assumption here being that you are spending personal cycles on automating your existing processes without risking your existing deliverable. Small sacrifice for long term gain, IMHO. On a similar note, have you weighed the pros and cons of using waterfall in your current organization? If the cons outweigh the pros, have you made the case for an alternate methodology to your leadership? Have you expressed your concerns regarding lack of growth to your leadership? Perhaps there are opportunities here for you to take an initiative and create opportunities for yourself as well as your peers.
On the other hand, you have come to the conclusion that testing is not your cuppa joe, figure out what interests you and see what it takes to get there. Start with opportunities within your company (easier than convincing a new employer that you'd make a great PM/TPM, etc). Applying for a UAT test or Analyst job doesn't address your current concerns about lack of intellectual growth nor does it help you switch to a drastically different stream.
I don't claim to know your exact situation, so I hope I didn't come off too harsh. Good luck with everything. You are going to do just fine.
(I'm hiring Software Development Engineers in Test in Seattle, WA)
No that didn't come across as harsh at all, your advice is much appreciated.
Originally Posted by DigitalSymphony
Your suggestions regarding facilitating learning and development at my current role are not practical as I do not have a current role, I was let go due to restructure. I had the option of moving to HK but not practical for me.
So I am looking for jobs, and there are loads out there, but I would say 80%+ of roles require automation experience, particularly Selenium, the majority require agile, and the competition for the remaining manual roles seems very aggressive. I don't think it's a problem with my CV with regards to the manual roles as I have worked almost exclusively in S&P500 firms and I remember a few years ago I was looking to move jobs and secured three interviews quite easily, getting one offer before ultimately deciding to stay put. Maybe I am paranoid but it feels like there have been major changes in the QA job market in the last few years.
I do love QA, and yes there is the intellectual growth factor, but I need to be practical and is it realistic with all these automation and agile whiz kids out there to expect an employer to take a chance on me that I can pick up the relevant skills on the job. Maybe if I was willing to take a salary decrease. I guess what I am saying is increasing my chances of long term employment is more important to me that any particular role/career, especially considering I have a family to support.
Thanks again, yes I am sure I will be just fine
Send me a PM. I might be able to help.
I have friends in Manual QA move laterally to roles of Product Owner/Product Manager and Dev Ops.
I think the PM role is very interesting. With a QA background, you have a firm gasp of managing risk and will probably pick up enough engineering knowledge to know the risks and payoffs of various stories. The missing part making the leap form QA is usually more of the business and financial side. A few courses on business development will help you learn how to prioritize features and budget based on business situation.
Dev Ops you can apply your knowledge of different platforms. Generally in manual QA, you have experience setting up test environments. The next step from there is learning the finer details of provisioning and scripting machine/platform setup.
That is really interesting, it's exactly the kind of route I was thinking of, thanks, I will do some more research.
Originally Posted by dlai
I have actually been put forward for two roles on the UAT front in the last few days. Both agents said their clients are looking for people with previous operations experience so that does get me thinking that my ops experience is my unique selling point.
The money for these roles is very good, but they are short term (6 months) so will need to weigh up if this is something that makes sense long term.