Changing career into testing

Hi everyone,

My name is Youssef, it is an honor to post and talk to you here. I needed some guidance from the testing experts out there.

I will start with my situation. I am currently residing in Canada and I have a master’s degree in Geology which should get me working in oil and gas industry. For several reasons, I wanted to do a career shift and do software testing. I have been studying vigorously for like 4 months now, I even got the ISTQB foundation and agile level certificates. I studied java basics and I am actively studying Selenium on udemy - which I think I am at a pretty good level at now - in addition to working as a freelancer on uTest.com (not really in it for the money, I just want the experience) and yeah I am working full-time at a restaurant.

I needed advice on what would make me more employable. Obviously I have no formal CS education or degrees, but I know that testing doesn’t necessarily require that. I plan on starting an API testing course on udemy pretty soon while continuously working on Selenium and automation. But what should I do more? I applied for some jobs but got no response, and although many of the jobs I applied to have a description that fits my current skill set, I just feel that employers skip my resume as I am only a few months old in the testing field. I saw a career coach and she suggested contacting testers on LinkedIn for an information interview so I did that but nobody answered. What do you guys think my next step(s) should be in order to land a job or make my resume more appealing to the recruiters?

Thanks a lot.

Hello!

I will try and briefly explain how I got into software testing and some ways it could apply to your situation.

My career looks like this: call centre worker - helpdesk worker - software tester.

That jump between helpdesk/tech support and software testing happened because I was lucky enough to work in a really small company. The company’s tester left, there were 4 devs pushing bad code and I was the only person who knew that system inside out.

I would suggest:

  • Try getting a full time role in tech in general. It will be very hard to get from restaurant worker to a software testing role. I appreciate it isn’t that easy, and money will be the deciding factor.
  • Go to meetups - even dev ones. Sometimes it isn’t always about what you know, but who you know. My career in testing progressed mainly because I knew people who were able to put me onto projects that would develop me.You may meet some senior/lead developers who have a vacancy on their team they aren’t actively recruiting for but will hire if someone fell into their lap.
  • Apply for all levels of roles. When I was a junior tester I applied for a senior test role and got an interview. Granted, it wasn’t for the senior role, but they saw my CV and realised I could fit on another team. I got the job.

Personally, I find December can be the hardest time to try and change jobs. Vacancies open up again in the new year.

It is hard but keep plugging away at it.

Good luck!

Faith

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My recommendation to a younger self: Forget about working as a tester.
Here’s why:

  • getting good at testing takes a lot of time to learn and practice; I’ve met maybe 2-3 out of ~150 testers, that I’d enjoy working with.
  • you’ll be paid very little - because of the high amount of incompetency of those bad testers;
  • you’ll be a slave to some bad managers that will try to force you to do what they want and think that testing is;
  • you’ll be blamed most of the times for the problems that the company has, and they’ll say that testing is bad, you need more automation to fix the problems;
  • you have high chances of being a slave for a consultancy company, who will lie to you, cheat you, not listen to your needs or professional career path;
  • there’s a decreasing market for testers and a high offer of testers;
  • it’s usually the CVs that look better that are hired, knowledge is secondary to everything else; as consultancy companies have to sell people on paper to their clients;
  • you have to be mentally strong - the better you get as a tester the more frustration and depression you’ll have;
  • it can affect your life, you’ll start to question and doubt things around you;

Hi Stefan

I don’t know where it is you have worked, but I hardheartedly disagree with your post.

While I believe it is important to give both positive/negatives to roles so people know what they are going into, most of the things you have listed are down to a poor company not necessarily the industry as a whole.

getting good at testing takes a lot of time to learn and practice; I’ve met maybe 2-3 out of ~150 testers, that I’d enjoy working with.

I agree, you have to learn and practise. The OP is clearly driven and I imagine with a year or two of full-time testing at a company they would fall under the bracket of testers you would enjoy working with. I’ve met around 3 testers I hope I never have to work with again, and the rest I’d be more than happy to.

you’ll be paid very little - because of the high amount of incompetency of those bad testers;

I disagree. I get paid very well if you compare average salaries for my location/age.

you’ll be a slave to some bad managers that will try to force you to do what they want and think that testing is;

If this happens to you - leave. Not every company is like this and not all managers are awful. Alternatively, you can change the culture of the company you work in. It won’t be an easy task that will be achieved overnight, but it is doable.

you’ll be blamed most of the times for the problems that the company has, and they’ll say that testing is bad, you need more automation to fix the problems;

Again, if this happens, leave. Or, rather than accepting the “blame”, teach the team where the problems are coming from. That is a new thread of it’s own though.

you have high chances of being a slave for a consultancy company, who will lie to you, cheat you, not listen to your needs or professional career path;

If this is happening, leave. There are plenty of companies that you can work direct for that aren’t like this. Consultancy companies aren;t the only companies that hire testers.

there’s a decreasing market for testers and a high offer of testers;

I don’t know what you mean by this. As the tech industry continues to grow, there will be a continuing need for developers thus a need for testers. A quick browse on Linkedin has shown me plenty of testing roles open.

it’s usually the CVs that look better that are hired, knowledge is secondary to everything else; as consultancy companies have to sell people on paper to their clients;

See above re my opinion of consultancy companies. Work direct with a company instead.

you have to be mentally strong - the better you get as a tester the more frustration and depression you’ll have;

I disagree. You have to be mentally strong when working for any bad company. Either you stick it out and try to change things, or you move on.

it can affect your life, you’ll start to question and doubt things around you;

I’m sorry you feel this way, and I hope you find the ability to move on from whatever company is making you feel like this. A career change could be another avenue.

4 Likes

@froberts beat me to responding to @ipstefan and has put most of my thoughts down. I’m really sorry you have such an impression of working in our craft. There are situations like that but for the majority I’ve met, testers are reasonably rewarded and generally happy with most things.

Back to @youssef.zahran, welcome to our community. You will find lots of great information here and in the Dojo. There are many great articles that might help you including these below. Good luck!

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Welcome aboard!

Testing has been one of my more satisfying career choices, and I hope that it works out for you.

I do, however, have advice.

First, your drive is admirable. If I were looking for a junior level tester, I would certainly invite you to an interview based on your request and background story alone. But we aren’t (and we’re in another country).

You seem to be going about it all well. I could ask if you have looked for tester meet-ups in your area, as they can be a good networking chance.

But my main advice is to keep working at it. 4 months is not necessarily a long time to be looking for work in a new field. My worst was 12 months looking as an experienced tester. (To be fair, I was being very picky and I had programming work during those 12 months. I also live in an area with fewer tech-jobs than a big city area)

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I just came across an article on freecodecamp about switching that you may find useful as well. This is programming/developer based but the main takeaways are similar to moving into testing.

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Hi Faith,

Thanks for your comprehensive response, that was really insightful.
I will try to look more into tech jobs in general, I have some meet ups in my city but the one I went to got cancelled. So, I will attend it next month hopefully.

Yeah, the end of the year might be not be the ideal time for hiring, but I am trying anyways, maybe something will come up.

Regards,
Youssef.

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Thanks for the input. But these problems can be present literally in every position/industry. I had a job where I literally did not sleep for 46 hours straight, so I know how it is to be under stress.
However, I think I can make it and start software testing. I think as well that the IT industry is expanding right now and there will always be a need for testers, but that is just me.

Thanks.

Thank you. I know that 4 months is not enough, I am just very desperate to leave my current job and start something meaningful. I did look up meet ups in my city and I am planning on attending one soon.
I am studying as well and will continue to do and hopefully something will pan out.

Regards,
Youssef.

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Thanks for all these resources, I know that @ipstefan’s response might not be very encouraging but it still good to see all the perspectives
I read Cassandra’s article before, it was like the very first thing I looked up when I was trying to get into testing. I will make sure to read the others as well.

Thanks again, have a good day.

Regards,
Youssef.

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Great response Faith

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@youssef.zahran Hi Youssef,
I would suggest you to go to adult learning centre https://www.stgabrielschool.ca/ and ask them you need job in software testing. They will coach you for 1.5 months and will provide a three month co-op in It based company. you will get experience in that company for three months and then may be they will hire you after three months or it will be easier for you to get job in your field because you have experience in canada and references.