I’m very comforted by the number of people who, like me, got degrees and then were unable to get work in that field xD
I like telling long stories so here it comes! tldr at the bottom.
I did my degree in Earth Sciences (geology without palaeontology, which is the best bit of geology T_T) but moved home after completing my degree to help my parents because dad was ill. Wasn’t able to do a masters in my specialism (medieval building stones) or get a job in buildings conservation because of not having a masters. I worked at an iron age hill fort, dressing up and teaching kids various ancient skills. Two years later, my dad got a lot better and my friends asked me to move to Bristol.
I had 0 savings, 0 skills/experience and I was about to be offered the supervisor role at the hill fort - a role that was being created for me, to stop me from leaving xD I thought about what I wanted my future to look like, and decided that I needed to leave home and go to the big city where the streets are paved with gold. Since I didn’t yet have a job, and my parents don’t earn enough to be a guarantor, my friend’s mum offered to be my guarantor so that I could rent a flat. Basically lived in poverty for another 2 years, paid rent/utils and had maybe £3-5 left over for food per MONTH while working 2-3 zero-hours contracts at a time - hotel morning shifts, afternoons at a science workshop schools programme and nights at a fuel station. I’d also worked at a childrens’ care home because I have a lot of experience with children from that sort of background, but was forced to leave after I reported a colleague for unnecessary use of force and then assaulting me at work. When I did my 99-second talk at TestBash last year, I talked about testing myself and coming up worthless, and this is why. I was working so hard all the time, giving my all to every crappy job, and I still couldn’t afford to eat or take a bus into town. I lived in Brizzle for 2 years and didn’t even know what the city centre looked like because I never left the house except to go to the library. xD
After a while, the schools workshop people took me on full-time as an operations manager and everything got better. I’m pretty good with people, so I suspected if I kept going then eventually one of the companies I worked for would offer me a supervisory or management role xD I did it for six months, working 50+ hours and driving 1000+miles a week, doing a bunch of school assemblies, after school workshops and weekend birthday parties, on top of staff (interviews, paperwork, training), bookings and office management duties. And I was still only just earning enough to live by, because the salary was 16k a year and I was being taxed at basic rate due to a mix up that HMRC insisted they couldn’t fix until the following April - now I had £40 a month for food!
A developer friend of mine asked if I would like to come work at the company he worked for, because they were looking for a QA. He’d asked me that before and I’d declined, because I had no idea how software development worked or what the job would involve, or anything. I didn’t even know that words like ‘agile’ and ‘waterfall’ had meanings other than flexible and water falling down a lil cliff in a river. Luckily, he asked me at a house party when I was tipsy so I was like fiiiiine and the next day I had an email from the QA Manager asking for my CV.
The rest is history! Now I have been testing for a year and a half, and I’ve not been this happy in a role since I worked at the hill fort. The community is amazing, and I am so determined to progress and work hard because I’m grateful just to have been given the opportunity to move into testing.
In terms of career progression, I have goals that I’m reaching for, and am following a roadmap but I have been doing it all alone so the progress has been slow, so I don’t feel like I have the opportunities I should to progress into a better role within testing. Working on that with my manager though!
TL;DR: I DID NOTHING RELEVANT AND THEN A FRIEND TOLD ME TO COME WORK WITH HIM SO THAT I WOULDN’T BE POOR FOREVER