I think we’ve both been lucky / proactive in forging good paths for ourselves early on. I found the testing community and MoT very quickly because I went looking for it, but most people don’t; at least not until much later in their careers.
My advice isn’t so much for my past self as it is for others (and I do often give this advice!):
- Get involved in the community
- Join Twitter and follow testers, developers, POs, anyone involved in software development who shares thought-provoking posts
Note: You don’t have to agree with people on Twitter to follow them. Expose yourself to people you disagree with, or who often shed light on alternative perspectives to yours. Being challenged and exposed to diversity helps us grow immensely both as testers and people.
That being said, I’ve been a professional tester for less than two years, so perhaps I’ll come up with some advice for myself as I continue developing. I’m already speaking at conferences, have my own blog, and am often asked to write for others or appear as a guest (proof that success doesn’t depend on how long you’ve been in testing!) but I know there’s a lot more to learn. That’s one of my favourite things about being a tester