What was the turning point in your career?

This is a follow up question to this question - What Does Your Career Timeline Look Like?. Here, I saw some replies in which the authors had challenges before finally getting/switching to a QA job which they liked and which was good for their career. In some cases, they just hadn’t discovered QA until I guess good luck.

What was the turning point in your career ? What made that turning point possible - a mentor, good friend’s advice, MOT membership :wink: , degree, good luck, landed a job where you could learn a lot etc. ?

I haven’t really had a turning point in my career or life, so I don’t have anything to share. But, I’d like to have a mentor and challenging opportunity. But, the first part is easier to get when you are fresh out of college or are switching to QA from a completely different field. Otherwise, no.

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‘When I was young’ ~14-15y old I used to play around with video games trying to find glitches & bugs and started doing it as a volunteer. After my studies I wanted to become a tester for video games, unfortunately in Belgium that’s not easy so I went into software tester. I worked as a tester internally in a company without access to a mentor, nor trainings etc … but I was afraid to hop companies. At some point I didn’t really learn anything new anymore and my day to day job became a routine. After working 5 years internally I wanted to know more and grow so I changed employer and went into consultancy, best thing ever happened to me! I had some demands for myself when I swapped of course.

  • I want to follow trainings
  • have a mentor, specially to develop my social & technical skills
  • I want to grow as well on professional and personal level

And I found it! :slight_smile:

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The turning point for me came with a new role and boss who, rather than being my mentor, allowed me the freedom to explore the craft to better apply it to our project.
It was early in 2009 and while I was working as a full time tester I wasn’t happy. At one point I was actually told off for talking to a developer, trying to clarify some odd behaviour I wasn’t expecting, and was ready to leave. A role became available in the Business Intelligence (BI) team for a test specialist. This was my introduction to agile as they worked as one development team with different and complimenting specialisms. I was to the the test specialist and my responsibilities included pairing with developers, looking at overall quality and suggesting improvements. It was chalk and cheese to my previous experiences and when I asked for time to learn from talks, conferences, books etc. it was welcomed rather than being viewed as a distraction.
I’ve never really looked back from that point. My confidence grew to the point of speaking at Agile Yorkshire in 2012. I wrote articles, improved processes and was happy at work for the first time in a long time.
Essentially being given freedom and trust made the world of difference to my career as I would have moved on from testing without it.

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My turning point came whilst I was self-employed and not getting a lot of regular photography work coming in. A friend told me that his organisation was looking for contract testers and that I ought to throw my hat into the ring based on the 15 years’ experience I’d had in a previous role.

I interviewed for the role and that experience must have looked sufficiently good for me to be taken on for a three months contract (which turned into four months). That was a sufficiently high-profile client to make my CV look good, and although I wasn’t able to move effortlessly from contract to contract, I was able to get enough work to build up a track record until I applied for and secured a permanent role with another company in 2014.

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I had graduated with a degree in Games Design and was working at a video game retailer. I broke up with my boyfriend and needed a “proper” job ASAP so I could support myself. I applied to be a game tester at a small company, with the hopes to become a game designer there, and got the job. After a taste of game design, it turns out I hated it and was was much better suited to testing. I then discovered the games industry wasn’t for me and switched to websites, and found that to be much better for me.

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I started at my company 5 years ago and tried my best to improve anything I saw that had an issue or was a bad experience both within our company (e.g. bad or no onboarding) and for our customers.
My turning point was 2 leaders, one in customer service where I worked when I started and the other in engineering where I am now, who saw what I was doing and wanted to give me a shot as our new QA person. They took a chance on me and made a case to upper management, fighting to not only open up an internal QA position (we hired outside companies before) but to let me learn and decide how things should be operated in that position.
@raghu is there something you want to pursue or do that you aren’t currently? If testing specific, I’d recommend checking if there are others who have done that same thing from other companies who could speak to you. Personally, I’ve been doing the virtual coffees from the MOT Slack and found a few people I’ve been able to chat with when I have questions about growth specific to testing.

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In my first testing job, I had been promoted from support. I had been supporting Mac/Apple based products and systems, so the transition was not that rough. About three years in I saw that the company was de-emphasizing the Mac/Apple market (this was the 90s, prior to S.Jobs’ return). There was an opening to join the flagship product line, which was part of the ‘taking over the world’ MS-Windows based products and systems. I got the job and transferred teams. I sensed this was a big chance for my career to take off, so I really poured myself into learning as much as possible about Windows OS internals and their networking stack. I was successful in the role. At that point, I knew that my approaches to learning about systems, and then applying that knowledge in testing efforts would have portability to other contexts/situations. I’d like to say I carried that confidence to all future roles, but to this day I still struggle with some Imposter Syndrome from time to time.

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My first testing job, which I got into completely by accident, was great. It was exactly everything I could have hoped for in work or in a team. For 3 years, I was totally excited to go to work every day.

After 3 years, the company disolved our department, so I got another testing job in the same company.

I hated it. After a year, I burned out and decided to leave testing. So I went back to my old work for a year.

About half a year into that, I got the chance to software-test something we were developing, and I had so much fun with that, that I knew that it wasn’t the testing which burned me out, but the team. So I went back into software testing, searching for the right team for me. It took a while, but I found the team and I’m excited to be working every day again.

So the short answer was… My turning point in testing was in stopping testing.

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I got made redundant at a company because I was only a beginner when it came to test automation (funnily enough, only the intermediate level people were kept, they also got rid of the senior).

Up until that point I hadn’t put in much effort into learning test automation, but after that experience I made sure to develop an interest and get good enough at test automation so I could have it as an option if a project would benefit from it.

Previously, I had put Test Automation on this pedestal and thought it was really hard. And tbh, I still find it hard to get things set up etc., but once that is done, then it does get a lot easier.

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Getting unceremoniously fired during my probation at my last job. It was my second job as a tester.

I got a junior tester job at my current place with additional scrutiny - they didn’t know if I was a risk as I’d just been sacked, but gave me a chance to prove myself on a long probation.

5 years later I’m head of test, on the leadership team for my region and setting the agenda for more than just testing. As it turns out, I’m glad I was sacked: that place had a toxic culture which taught me a lot about the kind of workplace I didn’t want to be a part of. Now I create an environment people want to work in, advocate for and promote my team’s achievements, and spend as much time as I can putting power into the hands of the people doing the work.

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I didn’t have a turning point, rather it was a constant, gentle nudge towards improved listening and collaboration with peers. I credit the patience and persistence of a many managers that helped move me into both testing and testing leadership over a multi-year period.

Joe

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I’ve got two turning points - the first was when I saw a job ad that would pay me to take a Computer Science HND on day release with time made available in working hours for all coursework (much more interesting than the HR and Accounts work I was doing at the time). The second was the threat of relocation after about 15 years as an Oracle Dev. I’d worked for the same company for 13 years and needed some interview practice so, on spotting a job ad for a support role in a similar company, I applied. Surprisingly got offered the job in the interview but as I’d no intention of taking it, just put it down to good experience. 6 months later the CEO of the company phoned me out of the blue to ask if I’d meet him to discuss introducing QA to a very rough and ready Dev team with some very “interesting” coding and analysis practices - that interview opened a new door, a quick read of Kramer’s book and 17 years later I’m still there as Dev Manager working with a great QA, Test and Dev team and still getting plenty of hands on time for QA/test and analysis work.

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There were probably two main turning points for me.

One was the first time, as a QA Technician at a games company, finally being allowed to work in the studio with devs in an Agile environment. It was the first time that I saw the job as actually making a difference. I had been a tester for seven years.

The second would be my first conference, I saw that this was a profession filled with passionate, diverse and wonderful people, and that this was a legitimate career. This was after I had been a tester for nine years!

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Like other’s have mentioned, my career has been pretty step-wise as well, with the work put in earlier leading to pay offs later. A few of the milestones:

  • company I was a support engineer with imploded, so ended up applying for and getting a mid-level manual QA role
  • applied for and got an internal promotion to an automation engineer
  • moved to a company that was doing agile and embedded testing

Not sure what the next step is going to look like, but figure I’ll keep plugging away and when the next opportunity presents itself, I’ll try to make the leap

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