What to do when you feel like your testing career has stalled?

Another brilliant question from our Slack AMA was:

what should you do if you feel that your testing career has stalled?

Which Bruce broke down as:

So many different scenarios that would cause this. I guess they can be broken down into two-ish types: when you know what you want to do next, and when you don’t.

If you have a goal you’re trying to meet but it’s not happening no matter what you do, it’s a different situation to if you kind of open your eyes one morning and realise you’ve been doing the same job for six years and you have no idea what you want out of your life but have the feeling you’re a passenger in your own life.

If you’re trying to reach a goal (eg becoming a scrum master or gaining mastery of a particular area of testing like accessibility) but you’re not getting the opportunities where you are, it might be worth considering moving companies to step up. It certainly doesn’t harm anyone to apply, especially if you are rejected - if you can talk to other people about why they declined your application then you’ve probably found the reasons you aren’t progressing at your current place either.

Another note would be whether or not you have this plan openly with your manager. Does your manager know that you have the goal? Are they doing everything they can to help that happen? Your development is on them, too. If there’s something you’re missing, they should be telling you and helping.

On the other hand, if you have no idea what you wanna do next, but you want to make some kind of progress then you need to work out what that means to you. You need to work out what the next step looks like to you personally, and that is a whole other kettle of fish.

Have you been in this situation before? What did you do?

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