Should I go back to school?
4 years ago, I was hired as a software qa analyst (by luck without experience).
4 years passed quickly and I am starting to think about my career. Our QA department is small and everything is informal when it comes to documentation or testing.
The QA manager never asked us to create a test plan or to document our test cases. Everything was based on exploratory testing & making sure the product work based on the functional spec.
Every job posting out there ask for "experience with test plans, test cases, test scripts, test matrix, etc". I have never done any of this stuff and I am concerned. Initially, my goal was to learn on the job over time but there is nobody to learn off from. It's also hard to find another job without knowing how to write a proper test plan or test case.
My question is: should I go back to school for a 1 year?
I am also studying for the ISTQB Foundations cert at the moment (read 5 chapters out of 6) so far.
My opinion is to connect with a training school in India. I can provide a name but I do not want to sound like an advertisement for a particular company unless you ask for a specific one.
The classes are held on line. Either as a group or individually. You can learn in a way where you learn to do real work. Not material from a specific vendor or certification. You will be able to function rather than having a certificate.
I also find that a lot of the questions such as writing test plans on interviews and in discussions are by people who were given the task of weeding out candidates. They go on line and read about each topic. They make a check list of things that they hope to hear when a candidate answers. The information mostly sounds scientific and correct but is not useful in real life.
When in Florida, Don't Tampa with the code. I made this up.
I'm a big believer in both process and continuing education. Without a process neither you or your boss can advance because you cannot scale up your department. In the tech industry, if you're not learning and improving, you're falling behind.
I would recommend implementing a process. You can use your ISTQB study as the foundation, then adapt to adjust to the needs of the company. Even if you don't plan of switching jobs, it's good to have one anyways. It helps you have a good grounding and have solid estimates, a foundation to improve upon, and ability to substitute and train up new staff or temp staff when needed.
As for training, I would either take night classes or go to at least 2 conference trainings a month. ISTQB sounds like something good to get certified in since you're studying for it. Taking some classes in project management will help you since you'll pretty much be creating multi-person projects when you do more test planning and work with a team of people. A test plan could be thought of as a project. Being good with timelines and planning really helps. Especially since most project managers for software project usually defer or leave the testing organization and timeline to the test lead, and rarely do they like to get hands on with the testing planning.
Thanks for providing your opinion.
Is it a web-based online learning system where you learn by yourself? (like CBT Nuggets) or is it a real online course where a professor provide assignments, grade them, and learn?
In the meantime, I don't see myself taking a training school in India. I prefer a local school in Canada.
Originally Posted by bklabel1
Thanks for the advice.
You are right. There is rarely any promotion in our department. They plan to stay with the company until retirement. I still want to learn and be a well-rounded QA person. I've suggested a couple things a year ago but nobody seem to care.
Anyway, I am planning to get the ISTQB Foundation certification and probably the Agile extension cert as well soon. I might take a couple Saturday courses here and there.
Originally Posted by dlai
According to me you should learn on job.But as you said you are not being able to,then I would suggest you to switch to another job.For that you need to prepare well,join in an institute,get trained and switch to another job.