What signals prove that you invest in your career?


(Rosie) #1

Triggered by @sgodfrey81 response to around the topic of certifications:

“As a test manager who’s been in the testing industry since 2001 I have some thoughts on this. I’ve only ever taken the ISEB Foundation course, that was back in approx 2003-2004. I don’t believe they are essential to the growth and development of a tester but I do agree with the sentiments above that they are a signal of an invested interest in development.”

It would be great to hear ideas, big or small of how software testers can show they are interested in their career and their own self development.

What can testers actively do?
How can they show it?


(Heather) #2

I’ve tried a few things for this within my last job:

  1. I badgered (asked a LOT) to go to my first TestBash and I explained how I thought it could help my career within the company (thanks for the help with that by the way).
  2. Within work I asked for a training budget. I explained the shortcomings we had within the team and proposed courses to help with this. I was unsuccessful but you never know if you don’t try, it worked for TestBash :slight_smile: I ended up paying myself for the courses I really needed.

For prospective employers:

  1. My involvement in local meetups was a major plus because it showed that while I was a lone tester I was still building up a network of contacts that could help me if I needed it.
  2. Similarly actively being involved in slack communities and on here demonstrated a desire to learn. I think this option is helpful for people who, for whatever reason, cannot attend meetups or conferences.
  3. Read. Read a lot. Or podcasts if reading isn’t your thing. Open discussions about what you have read/heard. This will help you learn and see things from other viewpoints.
  4. Take online courses. I’ve done this for languages and tools I didn’t use in my job but I wanted to learn. It looks good to potential employers that you’re thinking big but it isn’t for everyone.
  5. Write for Ministry of Testing. I couldn’t get a training budget but Ministry of Testing offered payment or a budget towards training/the Dojo if I wrote articles. My new manager was blown away by this!

I’m pretty early in my career so it’s a bit of a fight to prove oneself but that’s my 2 cents :slight_smile:


(Doron) #3

Be the best software testers you can,


(Viv) #4

Like @heather_reid mentioned I think if you attend local meetups and events it shows you are willing to invest your own time in your career and shows your passionate in what you do.

One of the things I noticed when applying for jobs a while back was that companies were looking for people with good attitudes and who were willing to invest in their own career - they often asked for any blog posts I’d written, my GitHub account etc, whether or not I attended local meet-ups or events.

I’ve also heard many times from previous companies I have worked at where people would moan because the company didn’t have time or money to help them get training they needed or to go to an event etc - there are so many great online podcasts,blogs, videos, tutorials etc now as well as free meet-ups and affordable events there’s really no excuse.

Sure some people don’t have time outside of work but perhaps use your lunch hour to read some blogs posts, join a community like this one or start a simple side project. I’m pretty sure many people who “Don’t have time” could ignore Eastenders or the football for an evening a week and invest in their career :slight_smile:


(Teemu) #5

My “active” doing is mostly reading, studying, and trying things at my free time. I’ve got active Safari Books Online subscription for that reason. And how to show? I’m quite active at Twitter. I could be more active at different social medias also.

My last activity at the Finnish SoMe-groups has been discussion about security implications of “My data”-philosophy. I didn’t know anything about it yesterday morning so I spent some time to investigate what it means. It’s good example of my activity and investment. I want to know about new things, I want to put time to them - not just work time, but my free time. I’m also willing to share my thinking. (But I could do that more…)

So more generally? IMHO active tester reads a lot, writes at least a bit of his thinking to different medias, and smiles. :wink:


(Cassandra) #6

Lots of valid suggestions already, which I won’t repeat. However, I want to stress that time and money are very big investments for an individual to make. In my last job, I managed to convince the company to part-fund TestBash - but I think that was only really because it was one of the cheapest conferences at the time and someone else had just got funding for an event, so there was perhaps a little pressure to balance that out. I still had to pay for the rest myself.

Every other conference, meet up or event I attended, I used my own money and holiday time. I’m lucky that I had that option, but others genuinely don’t. So I’d ask hiring managers not to assume that any lack of participation in these areas indicates lack of personal interest or investment.

This is one reason why I encourage every tester I meet at events, conferences, etc. to go on Twitter to get involved in the testing community and tester chat. If you’re not already browsing Twitter for news and gossip, you’re probably doing that on Facebook. Because it’s a more casual source of information and learning, I think it’s easier to bring into your routine as a habit (although I personally take breaks) and I think it’s invaluable for “meeting” great testers who can really help you learn and develop.

It can also help you raise your profile in the testing community. If an interviewer follows you on Twitter, they probably know what you’re about, or at least think you’re “one to watch”. Better yet, hiring managers might approach you because of what they’ve seen from you on Twitter. All-round great tool.


(Chris) #7

Agreed. When you’re good, and you show people that you’re good, they assume the investments you’ve made.


(Cassandra) #8

Oh, and starting your own blog. How could I forget :slight_smile: That takes up a lot of time too though.


(Jesper) #9

Some people browse the sports pages in their brain brakes between meetings, I scan Twitter for test chatter…

Also I would add:

  • attend webinars and other online events

(Cassandra) #10

Reading that snippet back, it could have been clearer. I meant that it’s a lot easier to swap out time you’d normally spend looking at rubbish on social media, and look at testing stuff on Twitter instead, like you do :slight_smile:

Webinars and online events are good too, although these are still a time commitment. I think Twitter is more flexible, as you can dip in and out. I went through a phase of saving up webinar recordings, but I never seemed to find a big enough block of time to watch them without being distracted by something else.

That’s also why podcasts don’t work for me - I get distracted. So I also think it’s good to remember that people learn and develop best in different ways. How someone talks about testing is also a pretty good indicator of their passion and interest level.


(Chris) #11

I suppose I’ll do what I always do.

Who are we trying to impress? The question of investing in ones own career and trying to communicate that we do are different. That makes this a communications problem, so I think we need consider the audience.


(Paul) #12

I went back to uni part time here in Sydney to do a Masters in IT (essentially a postgrad taught CS degree). I suppose in terms of signs of investment in career development, short of going to Harvard to do an MBA it’s the nuclear option. It certainly hasn’t been easy on my wallet :joy::joy:

My current employer was quite impressed with the fact i have a blog and a twitter. That seems to go down well with them.