Game QA Tester looking to pursue Software QA
I've been a QA tester in the games industry for about 5 years now. Was recently laid off and I'm thinking Software QA might be better for me at this point in my life. I've been searching and applying to software QA jobs, but have had no luck so far. I have a lot of testing experience and many shipped titles under my belt, but lack experience with some specific things to software testing.
I am seeing requirements such as "SQL" in most job posts. How can I get experience in something like that on my own? Are there any other skills or specific programs I should be familiar with?
W3Schools is a good place to learn about SQL
I would recommend learning php along side. (you'll probably hear the term WAMP or LAMP stack) Even though has been going down hill in popularity. Learning SQL with the context of PHP really helps you understand the concepts of how the data gets from database to application and back. Also PHP (in the form of wordpress, powers like 70% of websites out there today).
Reason I mention Php, is its very simple to learn without a framework, which lets you get your hands dirty with raw SQL queries. Framework approaches like Ruby on Rails will tend to have framework ORM abstractions over the DB, which reduces the chances of working directly with the SQL.
Alright thanks for the info.
Another question. Would getting certified help me at all in landing a software QA job? As previously stated, I have a lot of QA experience in the games industry. Tested on mobile/pc/consoles. Doing regression testing, usability, compliance etc. But I am unsure if all my game qa experience will help me at all in my resume/cover letters.
I've sent out apps to some software qa positions, but haven't heard anything back yet. So I am wondering if I can stamp some official certs on my resume, if that will help at all. THey seem to be quite pricey so I don't want to do it if it wouldn't be worth it.
Thanks a lot as I am pretty lost as far as software qa.
Depends on how how formal the country the company is based in. I think countries like India and Australia do favor certifications more than they do in the USA.
I've only interviewed at US companies, and most US companies don't really look at certifications. For the most part they are looking for someone who has experience, and that they can trust. In small start ups, they'll most definitely require experience because they don't have the time to train someone. So you might want to aim for an enterprise or an organization that has an established QA team. In that situation, you want to demonstrate that you have the ability to learn quick, analyze things, and be personable. But make sure to learn SQL basics (select, join, where clauses, order by, limit, etc...), most QA jobs in enterprise software will require a good amount of data validation.
I'm thinking given your background, if you were applying in the US. I'd probably attack it in several ways. What they'll look for in QA is generally an attention to details and the ability to communicate very clearly. I think you can be bold and attach a bug report or their product, to the cover letter with a list of bugs along with clear steps on how to reproduce them, and what sort of technical analysis of the bug you can give them. I think that would make a big impression, demonstrate your attentiveness to details and your technical ability to understand what is going on. For example, say a single quote breaks the submission of a web form, you may want to let them know that it could lead to an SQL attack, demonstrating you have a understanding of different security vulnerabilities.
Thanks for all the help! I think I will pass on the certs then. I do live in the US.
I did have one software qa interview a couple weeks ago. It was for a small startup. Around 15 employees. And they wanted someone who knew their stuff. Which I think I do. But I probably didn't communicate it well enough for him to believe. He had asked me to write down a test plan for their app's login screen. And I fumbled a lot. I KNOW how to test a system like that. And verbally explained everything that would need to be considered. But I have never needed to write out formal documented test plans before. So that is probably something I need to get used to doing.
For testing, in general, I'd recommend that you read Testing Computer Software by Cem Kaner. It will cover the basics, give some examples (though they may be a bit dated now), and explain why we do things the way we do. It was actually a requirement for all new hires at my first SQA job to have read it before they showed up on day 1.
Certifications won't even get you in the door, most of the places I've worked. Knowing how to write test plans, test cases, and defect reports is essential. Finally, I couldn't agree more that SQL is a high priority. It's almost certainly going to be used in every software development shop, in one way or another, so it's a good foot-in-the-door skill. We give interviewees a written SQL test first thing.
If you have 5 years experience as a tester, and have been in good stead, then you should have no problems getting Software Tester position as they are one in the same... What you did for the games industry really applies to any industry, as you are doing the normal things that most SQA people do. Creating and executing tests, using defect tracking software ect. Game software is like any other software, as it is software.... So do not sell yourself short. You can always learn new skills, and with SQL the best way to learn is the web, and or gasp the Library!!!. There are a million different beginner tutorials out there, and you can put it to good use by using ACCESS to start with......SQL is SQL is SQL. there are some nuances between the different DB's like MS SQL and ORACLE but most commands are similar. In ACCESS you can learn a lot by creating some sample tables in Excel with primary keys (ID is a good one) and importing them as tables, so you can have something to practice with. The key to really learning SQL is like learning any other programming language. When you have a good working example, write it down in a reference sheet. When you have to use it on the job, refer to your sheet. go through each of the types of commands. Of course once you start getting into complicated SQL like Programmatic SQL it is a learning curve, but for the basics it is really easy to pick up. This way you can focus on basic principles like select, inner and outer joins, sub selects (nested queries), unions, ect... Remember SQL is a query language so you are asking for information from 1 or more tables, then filtering based on your criteria. Extremely simple example: select FIRST_NAME from NAMES where LAST_NAME = 'Rogers';
Also do not be afraid to ask! If you have a good relationship with a software developer just tell them hey if you have a little free time I am trying to get better at doing this: If they have time I have found most are more than willing to help out if you get stuck. If I have a junior tester under me then I always make time to help them if they get stuck or are unsure with how to do a query. and in an interview, I have found the willingness to learn new things outweighs a skill-set especially for a lower level position. Now if your applying for a senior level then you better know your stuff
Last edited by russell5005; 11-12-2015 at 11:18 AM.
Senior SQA Engineer
SQL is pretty much easy to learn with - and I would recommend to do some research on API testing which is easy and have ample of opportunities in market for manual testing.
Automation - if you are interested, take either of qtp/selenium which has good market.