I've been working in QA about three months. So far I've got an idea of what goes on here, written a whole bunch of test cases in Quality Center, broken software from day one, helped get some requirement/test changes to improve the end product tested, etc.
Yesterday, I sat down with our interim QA manager, and it seemed to me that I've just gotten my feet wet. I had a short two day course in the methodology, but I don't have a path for where I should be going with this. I want to be more useful than just testing stuff.
The one thing I think I should be doing is working on a large project from the getgo with someone who knows the ropes as coworker/mentor. Make input to the requirements and break things down from there all the way until the project is complete.
I'm interested in being certified at some point, but I'd much rather be busy with the hands on skills to be a real good QA analyst with solid experience and knowledge. I can always add to the alphabet after my name, but the skill is what I want to be really useful here.
I seemed to have neglected to ask a question: does this sound like a good way to grasp the different facets of the job? Besides being a stepping stone, what is the advantage of certification on a day-to-day working basis?
The chance you take by just working a project and learning from someone is that the guy you are learning from may not know what he is doing.
I hate to say this but the people that post on this forum are not normal everyday QA Managers. Maybe "abby normal".....8-) The people on these forums normally have a good grasp of almost everything "QA". You probably will not find that this is true in the real world.
Many of the people who call themselves QA Managers at various companies moved up through the ranks and really don't have a solid grasp of the concepts you will see discussed in this forum.
Be careful who you learn from. I would suggest you read a few books or take a QA process improvement course so you have background knowledge. Don't take what your QA manager says as if it came from the good book.
You've already taken the most important step: wanting to learn and improve.
Certification will help you because it will force you to learn at least some of the concepts required for good QA. The certification helps a little when getting a new job but the knowledge you get from attempting certification is the most important piece of the puzzle.