Leo has already been working as a QA for seven months. He hesitated before joining the course because it sounded too good to be true. Today he lives this new American dream and proudly says he works in tech. Recently he contacted us to share a bit of his insider’s view of a job in tech.
Let's start with a simple question: Where are you from?
I am originally from New York, where I was born and raised. Technically my background is in accounting, and that's what I have a degree in. When I joined Careerist, I didn't have any specific skills in terms of QA. I dabbled in software development boot camps to learn a little bit about certain things.
When did you study at these coding boot camps?
I did a little coding studying here and there—a few months before joining Careerist and also about a year before that—but I never got super serious about it.
So you were experimenting with the tech world, so to say.
Yes, you can definitely say that.
You were trying to become a developer, and what was it like at the coding boot camp?
It was just too complicated for me, and it just didn't really work out. Well, I wouldn't say it was too complicated; it was just the pace of the boot camps. The way I learned was too slow. It took me too long, and that was the issue.
Sometimes that happens. How did you find us?
It was through Instagram. At first sight, it was just too good to be true. I was reading the ad, and I was simply astonished. I told myself I didn't really trust this; I'd been through boot camps before, and they never worked out.
After that, I just called Careerist and then spoke with the sales guy or whoever was in charge of customer service or sales. The conversation with him intrigued me. It seemed as if he wanted to help me get into the tech industry and what he said was highly reassuring. After talking with him, I knew it was the real deal compared to everything I'd experienced before.
How long did it take you to pass the mentorship?
Each part of the process took one month. The course was one month long, and the internship was one month long. There were two internships in one and then the preparation with the mentor took about one month. That's when I felt super confident.
Even after preparing together with the mentor, I was still studying all those interview questions every day, no matter where I was: on the train, eating dinner, or any other single spare minute I had. I was also creating different ways to answer certain questions I might be asked in interviews. I tried to personalize those replies a little bit so that I didn't sound as robotic.
That’s quite a good pace. I feel a lot of dedication from you in that. How was your job search?
It was actually quite interesting because I used JAS and also applied myself. The number of applications always depended. I applied for 10–20 some days; on other days, there were like 10. I applied on LinkedIn and JAS was to apply on the rest of the platforms I'd picked.
I kept track of every single job on a personal Google sheet, which really helped me. There are times when, let's say, you get an email from a recruiter or whatever the case may be, and you're going to need that job listing. You might also need to read exactly what the job requires and do research on the company.
In my case, I think it took between four and five days to get a random call, but it wasn't for a QA job, but rather for some other random contract job. In between, I received automatic rejections via email.
It was a bit less than two weeks when I got another two calls. One call was from a small company in the New York City area, and another was from a FAANG company.
So which company did you start with?
I started to interview with the smaller company. The first interview was with the recruiter, who wanted to know more about me and my experience. He wanted to know how comfortable I was with using different software like TestRail, Jira, and Postman. After that, the recruiter moved my resume on to the hiring manager, who was very happy to interview me. The hiring manager asked me fundamental questions about how to write a test case and a bug report.
It sounds like you were surprised at how simple the questions were.
Yes. Next, I had to meet the product manager and one of the other senior-level QA people on my team. The final interview was with the CTO, who wanted to know more about Postman and how to test APIs. I got him a couple of breakdowns and where I might need that.
You had three more interviews after the initial interview with a recruiter, didn’t you?
That's right. The whole interview period moved pretty fast. I did the interviews very quickly because at that time I was actually working part-time. I had scheduled days off to do all the interviews. There were quick responses from them too. I suppose they heard what they wanted and gave me an offer on the same day as my last interview.
How much time did each interview take?
I think it's about an hour because it was 30 minutes with each person if I'm not mistaken.
To sum up, how much time of active job searching did it take you to get an offer?
It took me two weeks to get an offer.
Wow, you're fortunate. How much money did you get?
I got $90,000 for a full-time job. I was supposed to work hybrid—two days a week at the office—but I got COVID and didn't recover quickly enough. Now everyone in my department is working remotely.
And what about the other interviews you had with the FAANG company?
The other interview was with Amazon, and it wasn't an easy one. It was for a full-time position but not necessarily for just Manual QA; they wanted me to do automation. First, I did an assessment, and then they moved me on to the next interview. It wasn't a success, but it was still a good practice and experience. I have an idea of what to expect there in future interviews.
How was the first week?
The first week was almost all onboarding, which actually lasted the first three weeks or so. It was pretty much about learning about the company and getting familiar with how they do things. I would say that it was a great first week. I had a blast, and it was exciting learning about different software and things and the workflow.
Did you feel overwhelmed with everything happening during the first few days?
My manager was very supportive, but they didn't want me to jump into certain things too quickly because of onboarding. So I had to know the story of the company, the product, and what each department does.
How long did the onboarding process last before you jumped into the testing?
The onboarding took three weeks, but I continued to learn many things. Overall it's very straightforward. All you need is that initial practical ability to learn quickly and adapt.
What was the most challenging part at the beginning?
It took me some time to get used to the templates and samples they use. The point is I have to write test cases that align with the department however they decide on that. My manager assisted me a lot with that.
In terms of software, it's very basic. I learned to use Slack very efficiently, connecting it to my Google Calendar so that I could get notifications and people would see I'm in the meeting. I also integrated Jira with Slack. It's very straightforward and something you might Google.
We use pretty much the same software Careerist taught us. Once you get into the company, you'll have your own Jira and TestRail profiles, and you'll likely have access to more things you probably didn't know you needed.
Do you test a web or a mobile application?
I’ve only tested mobile so far but they want me to do a deployment, which DevOps usually does. They gave me a mobile device to push it out on. I'm trying it on Android and iOS, and I'm also testing APIs on the mobile app.
Did they teach you how to do DevOps deployment?
It was a little bit complicated. The iOS version took me two or three months to master. In terms of Android, it's not necessarily super complex. There is no need to know how to code. It's more about understanding the processes of how to do it efficiently in the given timeframe.
How long have you been working there so far?
I've been working there for seven months now.
That's quite a long time. Are you happy about your career change?
It's very glamorous to be able to work from home and not spend time commuting. It feels nice, especially when you tell people what you do for a living. It's like you're living a dream.
We are happy you feel like that, and we are pretty sure it depends on the team and the company. We’re glad to hear you've found your place. What are your next steps? Do you have any plans for the future?
My plan initially was to stay at the company and learn automation. Since I'm on the mobile app team, I would have to know mobile automation because it would definitely strengthen my skills. I want to stay as a manual QA for maybe a year before I decide what the next step would be.
Any final message to your peers?
I just wanted to tell everyone to stay motivated. Even if you're having a bad day or whatever the case may be, just be as nice and friendly as possible. If there's something that you really don't know, or if you are asked a complex question or something you simply don't know, please be honest. Try to create something, but it's something you can learn once you get a job. Get creative with your answers, and try to be as confident as possible.
We hope to hear from you again! Thanks for your motivating example. The Careerist family appreciates that a lot. A story like yours is always very inspiring.