What's your origin story?

There’s something special about being a tester, QA or quality engineering professional.

A high majority of us stumbled into the career. I know I did!


In 2003, I was a couple of years into working as a customer service agent at a Building Society (like a Bank with a different ownership model). I lived at my Mum & Dad’s place with no career path in sight.

I’m just milling around earning a basic salary wondering what I could do with that business degree. I knew I wanted to work with computers yet programming didn’t resonate as my brain isn’t wired for it.

“The people developing our new customer service system need someone to do some user acceptance testing on our new system. Who would like to do that?”

Most of my team shrugs except my hand shoots up. :raising_hand_man:t2:

“What’s user acceptance testing?” I ask.

Three weeks later, the Test Manager on the project asked me if I’d like to join the test team as a Test Analyst.

I’ve never looked back since! :smile:


Help us bring together a set of origin stories. We’re using this to help us create foundational content for a course.

How about you, what’s your origin story? :superhero:

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I totally love that idea of sharing our origins!

I was in a dual study programme at Deutsche Telekom (combined study at a university of applied science, mixed with kind of apprenticeship at the company), and for $reasons, the head of the “Test Factory” at Deutsche Telekom “collected” all students from that programme.

Some of my friends/ fellow students worked there, and it looked cool (first time seeing automated UI tests, and that totally got me hooked, and I am still hooked by it today!), so I though “Yeah, why not?!” and joined them. Learned a lot from very experienced people, took the ISTQB foundation exame (I was young and didn’t know better) and did my final study thesis (integration SAP test automation in our self-build regression test tool) there.

This was in January 2005, and here I am, still testing…

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I used to have a job as a developer on IBM iSeries, but I lost my job in the aftermath of Y2K/Euro, when there were quite a lot of “budget optimizations”. Since I don’t have a diploma, it was hard finding a new (regular) job as a developer, and doing temporary gigs did not provide me with a stable income, so I was trying to diversify my skill set by doing a course on web development.
During that time, I got the offer to work as a test consultant. I did not realize before that “testing” could be a job of its own, as I had to do my own testing in my previous jobs (in addition to “end users” doing some validation with a new release).

I kind of fell in love with the job during my first few years, as figuring out how stuff works was what drove me to love working with computers in the first place. And while coding scratches some of that itch, testing manages to scratch that a lot more :slight_smile: .

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Fresh graduate in 2018. Experienced a string of failures in software developer interviews. Cracked the only one for a testing role.
Later my colleagues in that new company thought I would consider switching to dev since QA for them was not something serious. 6 years later, here I am well versed in the field of testing and still learning.

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After years in a customer support call center, I moved to coordinating development activities. This often included some practical testing, as the software had to go on a master data CDROM to be produced at a factory in thousands of copies. One day, the manager came and told four of us that we would now be a “testing team” that also tested internal applications. That was in 2002. In 2003, I finished my master’s in computer science, which I had been working on on the side for some years, too.

Some time into my studies, I knew I would not be coding as my day job. I have been a leader of testing activities since around 2004. The diversity of each situation is one of the things I love about testing. I love that there is no “one model fits all” - although it can be a curse too.

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My story goes back to January 2021- Where I was working as an “Agency Support Consultant” for NHSP (think of it as an admin/ tech support role- mostly as an escape route from being a recruiter). I was getting more bored by the second, and shackled by the “need” to be on inbound calls.

I started learning to code, something I’d done a bit before in the myspace days, but nothing solid. I enjoyed it, I wondered if there was something there.

My music degree was getting some love in my hobby life (brass bands & street bands) but wasn’t getting any use professionally.
My partner was already working in tech as a product owner and knew I was cut out for more than data input and “are you sure you’re using the right browser?”
She suggested become a tester.
I did some googling and eventually got an advert for “The Coders Guild” advertising bootcamps- they were all of an evening and I had the time as it was Feb 2021 and many of us were still in the midst of lockdown!

The bootcamp was fantastic for me, the content, the learning, the free MOT subscription, I became a woman obsessed- but mostly the tutors (a few familiar names you’d know!) were brilliant.

After ‘graduating’ I applied for a few jobs- nothing solid, as due to being a fully grown adult (with a mortgage etc)- I needed to stay on a similar salary.
In steps Beth Marshall- she managed to persuade her manager that their company needed their first junior software tester- I was in!

The rest is history, I worked my butt off, kept learning and 12 months later landed an amazing role where I am now, at Glean- and I’m still loving and learning every day.

Kelly

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I’m a fellow stumbler. After a wide variety of jobs in my life, my brother-in-law (a Tester for most of his professional life) got me to send in my resume when they were able to hire on some new juniors. We’d talked about his work, my work, many times during family dinners, and he’d maintained for a while that he thought I’d be perfectly suited to the role.

So I joke that nepotism got my resume looked at, but I got myself hired from the interview, and it was then all of the skills I was able to translate from my older roles that have got me the promotions and recognition (and payrises!) ever since then… :stuck_out_tongue:

My time in retail sales lets me dig into requirements with my PO and BA’s to get a better idea of how they actually want to use a feature in the real world - once I know what they need, it’s easier to make sure that’s what we’re trying to give them. Additional customer service and escalations experience make it really easy to talk to any stakeholder I need information from, in order to deliver a better product.

I’d been in various Subject Matter Expert roles as well (both official titles and unofficial), this translates perfectly to keeping as much of a program in my head as I can, and spotting in advance where something new may cause conflict with the application as a whole.

I never really knew about Testing as a career path prior to all this, but I got very lucky that it pretty much encompasses all of the soft skills from my last 20-odd years of work that I either really enjoyed, and/or was really good at.

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I’m seeing a recurring pattern here: a lot of people stumbled upon this career and/or were in customer support roles before moving to testing.

It’s the same for me, after two years in support I asked if they had room in any other department and as it happens there was a need for a new QA, at the time I didn’t know much about this career choice at all.

Over time I became pretty much in love with software testing, the thing I like the most is that it satisfies my curiosity - I get to explore different products, see many (if not all) aspects of the development as a whole, and try a lot of tools and technologies, it never gets boring, thankfully!

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It is a very interesting topic.

After i graduated in 1999 by having a Bsc computing degree, i started my carreer as a s/w engineer.

Late in 2000 i started working in a s/w house, a big company, as a technicial of qualitative control for 1.5 year in Microsoft’s products. Unfortunatelly this company did not operate well and started fired people. After few years the company get closed.

This situation kept me away from testing and i started deal with web development. In the last few years the coplexity of the web technologies and my experience as a user, makes me to want to deal with QA and so, i attended a program in manual and automation testing and i owned a certification “Training and Upskilling program in QA / Software Tester”. During this program i found myself pretty comfortable with this aspect of computing and so, i’m turning my carreer into this area.

Nowdays i’m using the uTest platform as a freelancer tester but the projects i receive are too few. I also use the GitHub to upload my projects i do on my own in QA.

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Great initiative!

My story was back in 2011.
It was summer after my 4th year at university. A fellow student called me and asked if I could help another student with a database assignment.

I said - “Why not!”. So, I did the assignment and sent it back to the student.

Then this student asked me in the messenger: “Wow, great work. You have good skills. What about working with me? Have you heard something about software testing?”

I had no idea what testing was. But I found one book about it. I read it on Friday, and then was at the interview on Monday of next week. I passed it; my first official working day was the next day.

“This is, my son, how I met your mother … :smiley:

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I studied physics :scientist: and then worked on oceanography :world_map: for several years.
To me, physics and testing share quite a few traits: They are highly empirical. People run experiments and then interpret the outcomes in the context of models and expectations. On that (very high) level, they seem indistinguishable.

Oceanography deals with large systems (and WOW, are these systems huge), and no laboratory experiments are possible to understand the ocean-wide behaviour. In other words, you can only observe ‘in production’.

My first job in testing was (mostly automated) testing of an object-oriented DB management system (strangely, I learned about relational DBs and SQL after this job). I moved on with many other projects and topics, but I still find that testing is, in a way, the physics of software development.

I have not intentions of leaving software testing any time soon. :smiley:

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Testing is a second career for me. I worked in Sales forseveral years and was one of 40,000 laid off by the company. I look my redundancy and went to university. After my degree joined a data warehouse project as a tester. I enjoyed it and have worked in testing ever since. Testing has given me a great second career!

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I think mine started back at college, I was doing A levels (UK qualifications if that helps), maths, computer studies and electronics. No idea what to do with them, but they were interesting subjects. I was getting close to the end of my time, absolutely zero interest in going to Uni but with no other options.

I was walking through college when a corridor was closed and I got diverted through engineering. I just so happened to see an advert for a telecoms apprenticeship which seemed like a good idea. That was three years of learning how to commission telephone exchanges. And commissioning is basically a really dull form of testing!

But the bug (no pun intended) had bitten, and I went from that to software testing for BT, then onwards and upwards.

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I was bitten by a radioactive test case.

Oh, not that kind of origin story.

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I was in my second year of university studying games design when I heard about software testing.

One of my uni mates was discussing it as an option they were considering to do after university.

Back then I had no idea what software testing was and the routes to get into it.

I did a few modules that were related to software testing and the software development life cycle.

Originally wanted to be a developer or designer but have been in testing for ten years

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I started out as a librarian.
In the beginning you often get part-time jobs or maternity substitute positions. After one of those at a library with especially challenging users and bad hours I felt it was time for a change. I didn’t want to end up in the same situation at an other library. Then I saw a job opening for a software tester at a library software company on a librarian mailing list. Even though I like computers and had four semesters of IT as part of my studies I probably wouldn’t have applied if it hadn’t been advertised in that mailing list. The job description contained a lot of things I didn’t know or couldn’t do. Turns out the manager had graduated from my degree programme just a couple of years prior. And that’s how I ended up in testing.
If I had know about software testing earlier, I might have chosen that career path from the beginning.

tl;dr Used to work in libraries, now testing software for libraries.

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In 1998 I had to choose between a dev and test role. I chose the test role as it involved 7 months on expenses Nantes and Paris and the soccer World Cup was about to start! Haven’t looked back since. In passing I do have a degrees in Engineering and Applied Maths but do prefer working with and exploring things that are ‘almost there’. I find testing creative in that way.

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Love this!

I started my career as software developer, as I couldn’t find a job in telecommunications engineering when I was finishing my degree. It was meant to be just until I could find something more related to my career. During that job I worked with the testing team for a bit and loved that. In my next job, at a very small company developing home digital devices, still as a developer, where they weren’t doing much testing, I suggested my boss we should do more testing. My main reasoing was that devices controlling things like lighting, electric and heating, should have a better quality control. He agreed and made me the manager of the new test department of the company.
I loved the opportunity to set all from scratch, learning and figure out how to improve our test processes as we implement them, including test automation for certifications.
I had to then train new people joining the company as tester. I’ve been working in testing since then, always learning and skilling up!

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I landed in an IT support role and stuck with it for 15 years. When I was done with that line of work, I spent many years taking a break from working (been working since I was 14) and also trying to figure out what to do next.

I gave web dev a try, but couldn’t get very far with self studies. The next thing I tried that worked out some was UX Research. But, a bad market persuaded me to give Technical Writing a try. I landed a freelance job with a small company doing technical writing, and a few months into it started doing some testing for them. I then went full blown into doing testing.

Testing uses just about all of my past work experiences (IT support, UX research, some programming, even technical writing). The only pain in the butt has been learning software QA testing in more detail. After 1 1/2 years of a lot of learning and being able to apply what I learn on a real world product, I have a solid foundation in testing and plan on doing it until I retire.

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I started as an analyst programmer in the late 1980’s, COBOL, Pascal and Unix shell scripts.

I very quickly discovered that as a junior AP my job was to do the stuff nobody else wanted to do. That meant testing applications, and writing user documentation, both of which I discovered I enjoyed far more than writing code.

After a decade or so of manual testing, we all went Agile of course, and I found myself writing code again, even though my title was “Tester”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love automation when it’s the right amount and frees up my time for real work (Postman and Playwright are my go to for automation currently) but I can’t help thinking it was more fun when we were expected to just smash things up. :slight_smile:

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