What career advice would you give to your younger self?

Imagine you have the power to time travel. Yup, I know that's a little silly. Yet imagine you meet your younger self at the point where they are about to start their career in testing. Ignoring the shock of your younger self seeing you, what advice would you give them to help set them up for success? Please also ignore the fact that your future/now self would already know what advice you would've been given. :upside_down_face:


Stay in development :upside_down_face:. Learn how to code in Python.

Hey, man.

First, buckle up, champ. From about 2016 on things are gonna be pretty rough on a global scale.

Second. No matter how impossible that dream career in the arts sounded at 25 it is infinitely more difficult at 45 with a mortgage, car payments, and children. The greater financial freedom is an illusion as it comes with the requirements to maintain your finances and also eats up all your time.

My tears consist of your dead dreams.

Hope you’re well,



I’d tell young Mirza to get into IT a few years earlier, try hard to start spending more as soon as you start earning more, and maybe invest in BitCoing while it was very low in value. But, as the saying goes, all generals are wise after the battle! :sweat_smile:

Dear Simon,

You think you can do this all by yourself, muddle your way into becoming a testing specialist and work out how to be a people leader.

You will do all that and that’s great. But consider this. Join the testing community now and don’t wait 10 years to do it as I did. Don’t get caught up in the world of the specific places you are working at. Yep, they’re great and you’ll be treated well – yet they aren’t the be-all and end-all.
The Testing Community is where it’s really at. You will learn and discover so much more than you think is possible. And you’ll feel great about giving back much sooner than later.



Start earlier with RST (from Bach and Bolton). Their work helps me much. (I’m aware of the problematic discussions with them)
And also coming earlier to MoT and this nice club :slightly_smiling_face:

Don’t worry about hitting your current career goals or feel bad if they don’t come to fruition. In time you’ll get new (and better) goals that you can achieve.

There will be periods where you might feel lost or dissatisfied. Try and make a difference rather than find a different path. Get MoT membership and get involved in the community. It can start to transform your career

Also cut down on the pizza.

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I stumbled into an amazing manager when I first got into testing. Within the first month or two I attended both an AST conference and a three day RST course. At the time, I had no idea how lucky I was.


1 - Maybe become a software developer for a few years before QA. Even mediocre developer is ok.

2 - Change your job often, say 1.5 to 3 years. It gives more experience and higher pay. Don’t waste time in asking for a promotion or raise even after doing good work.

3 - Team work is valuable, but its overrated. Think about yourself first just like the others.

4 - Mentors are rare. Good mentors are almost non-existent. Seek them out to accelerate your career progression.

5 - Don’t chase every new, shiny tech thing. Its a waste of time. Fundamentals are usually enough.

6 - Stay in touch with upper levels and shamelessly advertise your work to them and to your team. Otherwise, most people won’t know what you do for the team or company.

7 - Learn the basics of saving and investments. A good amount will help you move jobs easily or withstand bad surprises.

I could go on and on…

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  1. Learn to type faster, to write more clearly, and to be nice to others more of the time
  2. Stick to your strengths but work on weaknesses, see point #1
  3. Advertise your skills, but never take a job offer that over stretches you just for the money it may offer, never go for money
  4. Get outdoors more often, and. Wear sunscreen

My advice to earlier me is:
You may really love it here now, but at some point in the near future, your employer will become extremely toxic. That will be an outstanding time to leave. Leaving at that point may be a scary thing, and you may think that things will improve, but the alternative is scarier.

  1. If your employment situation is bad (insecure temp job, low pay, bad boss, etc.) make leaving it your first priority.
  2. Quit your studies. Even if it’s fun.

Career is long term; Job is short term.

Don’t worry too much about your current job.

Work on upskilling for your long term career :rocket::rocket:

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  • Actively look for a community and approach people there. Try to learn from them and share what you learned. Don’t waste the first formative years in your career trying to figure it out by yourself.
  • Prioritize your mental health. Always. If that means leaving great coworkers behind because of a toxic boss: do it. If that means going to therapy: do it.
  • Be okay with getting out of your comfort zone but don’t stretch yourself to the point of breaking.
  • Own mistakes - externally and internally.
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Try to get an all-round experience. Work a couple of years as a Business Analyst, then a couple of years as a developer, do a degree if you can and then get head over heels into testing! Start with manual testing, automated testing and then make your career as a Performance Tester.