While at STAREAST a few weeks ago I mentioned that I was an “accidental tester”, someone who had gotten into testing more by chance than as part of a conscious and planned decision.
After talking to a few self defined “accidental testers” I kept asking people in the conference about their own personal paths into testing, and I found that just about everyone I talked to became a tester from different sides of the working spectrum.
But I see this as am advantage. We are testers because we like to test, and many of us are even pretty good at it. I don’t know many testers who endure working for long in our profession otherwise.
We should not let the fact that we did not get into our profession following a “standard path” affect our self esteem in any way.
A good tester needs to be a self-learner by nature, he won’t have a chance to survive otherwise.
NoUse4aName - I'm not sure there is a standard path to becoming a tester. It's one of those careers that can start from just about anywhere, and one that mostly doesn't have degrees saying that you know how this works.
I personally fell in sideways after attempting careers as a geologist, teacher, and software developer. Others I know got there via customer service, technical documentation, straight out of college because there weren't any entry-level developer jobs but they loved it and stayed... Just about any intelligent, moderately computer-literate person can become a fantastic manual tester - about the only pre-requisites are good communication skills and the ability to isolate and define problems. Neither of those are degree-specific.
I came from the "business side" because our tech folks couldn't talk to the vendor business folks and vice versa. Ended up being a project manager on that project. I didn't own a home computer at the time and was a history major in college. Learned QA by fire, then automation and here I am 13.5 years later working in QA.
Patience is like bread I say.... I ran out of that yesterday.