Non-Traditional Paths: Transitioning to Tech through Software Testing
Many individuals often reach out to me asking, "How do I transition from my current career into the tech industry?" If you're interested in software testing, you're in the right place. In this blog post, I will share my personal journey and provide tips and resources that have helped me successfully transition from Graphic Design to Executive Assistant to QA Consultant. Whether you lack a computer science degree or are new to the field, I believe this post will inspire and guide you on your path to a rewarding career in tech.
No computer science degree? No problem!
Don't let the absence of a computer science degree discourage you. I too did not pursue a Computer Science degree or complete my Business Management BSc degree. Instead, I started my journey as a Graphic Designer at QualityWorks and eventually transitioned to the role of Executive Admin to the CEO. It was during this time that I was given the opportunity to explore software testing on a small mobile project.
To kickstart your journey, I highly recommend getting ISTQB certified and learning the foundations of software testing. The ISTQB Foundation Level certification provides a solid base of knowledge and credibility in the field. I personally used a Udemy course to prepare for the exam, which helped me pass with flying colors and gain a deeper understanding of core software testing principles.
Enroll in a Software Testing BootCamp
While I did not attend a specific BootCamp myself, my journey served as inspiration for the creation of such programs. Software Testing BootCamps offer practical training in various aspects of being a Software Tester, including tools like JIRA, Scrum and Agile methodologies, and more. You can also consider pursuing secondary-level ISTQB courses that focus on these areas. Check out the learning paths available on the ISTQB website for further guidance.
Experience is king
Don't shy away from taking on small software testing projects. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work on diverse web and mobile platforms, each teaching me invaluable lessons and skills. Every project is unique, and you'll continuously learn and grow along the way.
For instance, my first mobile testing project highlighted the importance of mobile testing alongside web testing. I went on to join larger web-based project teams that initially overlooked mobile testing. By incorporating mobile testing into their strategy, we improved test coverage, discovered impactful bugs, and ultimately enhanced the overall product quality for end-users. Similarly, I once delved into databases and SQL, which was a relatively new area for me. My curiosity and fresh perspective led to valuable questions that helped the team solve significant architectural problems. To this day, I can confidently query databases and collaborate closely with developers, thanks to that initial experience.
Embrace every opportunity that comes your way, as there is always something new to learn.
Explore various roles in software testing
Furthermore, areas such as Usability and Accessibility testing leverage your design or UI/UX background and knowledge, making you a valuable asset to teams looking to enhance these aspects of their applications.
Develop your Soft Skills
In addition to technical expertise, soft skills play a crucial role in succeeding as a QA professional. Throughout my career, the following soft skills have propelled my growth:
Great communication: Effective communication fosters collaboration and understanding within teams.
Willingness to learn: An eagerness to learn new concepts and adapt to changes is vital in the rapidly evolving tech industry.
Leveraging prior knowledge: Your prior experiences and knowledge from different fields can provide unique insights and solutions.
To gain further insights into how I've utilized these non-technical skills in my QA role, I invite you to watch my presentation at the Saucecon conference in 2021, sponsored by SauceLabs. The video showcases real-world examples of how these skills have made a difference.
I hope this blog post has inspired you to embark on your journey into the tech industry. Remember, you don't need to possess highly technical skills, and it doesn't have to take several years to get started. Quality Assurance (QA) can serve as an entry point into a career in tech. It not only grants you a deep appreciation for software development but also brings a diverse perspective to future-proof applications.
Choose faith over fear, find your community, and play your part well.
Happy Testing! ☀️