Despite having a tech education, Jenny worked for a long time before joining the industry. She is one of those tech graduates who have chosen Careerist to kick-start their way into tech. In this interview, Jenny shares her personal challenges on the way to her tech career.
Did you have any technical background before joining the tech industry?
Yes. I started out that way a long time ago. I have a bachelor's degree in graphic design. Then I continued with software development, and I also have an associate's degree in software development and web development.
With my associate's in software development, I had a tough time finding a position. I didn't have an internship, so I didn't have that boots-on-the-ground experience to help me find a job. But one day I found a Careerist training on software testing, and you know, joining Careerist was probably the best move I've made in my educational journey.
It’s a pleasure to hear that. So having a technical education, it was still hard to find a job. Where did you come across Careerist?
I saw an ad on social media. I attended the first lesson and understood I needed to try it.
Did you get what you aimed for in terms of a job and a salary?
I'm currently a contractor for Apex. I work with an associated bank. It's a remote position—I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but the bank is out in Wisconsin. My salary is $35 per hour, which is exactly what I wanted.
So it's what we communicated. Tech companies are looking for people with a technical background. You can look for more in a couple of months by having more hands-on experience. How long have you been there so far?
I've been in this contract since the middle of February, and it was supposed to end in June, but it keeps extending. The software I'm testing is extremely buggy. There are many issues, and I seem to be the most effective tester on the team. I manage to find a lot of the bugs and seem to be a leader in documenting and analyzing the problems.
It sounds like a great place to gain experience and broaden your background. Did they train you in the first week or two?
A little bit. Honestly, it was more ad hoc testing, which is a kind of exploratory testing. Basically, it was clicking the buttons and looking at how the images appeared—just going to the website, checking it out, and seeing it work. You’re looking for what works, what's functional, or what looks misaligned and any typos, different colors, or font differences. It’s all about being aware of what you're looking at and what looks right. Some people also call it monkey testing.
Has your testing approach changed since starting your job?
There have been a lot of changes. We started out testing in Angular 1.7, an older version, and we recently turned on Angular 11. The latter one is still in beta mode, so it's not quite ready. We're finding defects in our product left and right, so it's a kind of a hot mess. Indeed, that's a part of our regression testing, but we kind of feel like we're back at ground zero with starting from the beginning like this. Overall I don't really interact with code. It's just the type of programming encoding they use to make things look different, which sometimes affects your job.
It's worth noting that Angular is not necessary to become a tester. Have you always worked remotely? Is it a new experience for you?
I've worked remotely before, but that was more of a customer service role. Manual QA is my first tech job/remote testing position. Some days I wish I could get out a little bit and socialize. Anyway, I find the job in tech less stressful.
How long was your job search?
I think I searched for about three months. To be honest, I had a few interviews, and since I'm a nervous person, I would always forget things. I knew the material well, but I would forget what I needed to say and talk about, but the more I practiced, the better I got with my answers. Gradually I became more comfortable and able to talk during these interviews.
Did you get any other offers except this one?
Shortly after I accepted this position, I had other interviews scheduled, but I decided to cancel them. Personally, I decided once I committed, I would stick with it.
Do you remember some of the interview moments you celebrated?
I was interviewed by Apex previously, and they really loved me. I think they had personality and technology tests and kept me on file due to my high success score.
Then this job opportunity came up. They invited me for an interview with the company, and that was just one interview. The hiring manager was great and asked some good interview questions—questions we'd prepared for with Careerist. He even asked what traits made me better than anyone else and what qualities helped me go above and beyond. I answered that a big part of that was my willingness to search for answers. Knowledge of developer tools is another strength that would help me communicate the issues with the development team.
Actually, it's not obligatory to have a tech background to answer this question. Any QA is a voice of the customer, and they will advocate for the customers. The tester makes the best possible user experience for the company's customers.
Can you remember any interview questions on tools?
I would say many testing environments are similar in setup, so you can navigate with zero problems. They asked me if I knew what ALM was; it is a different type of testing environment and a little bit similar to Jira.
And what things do you use on an everyday basis?
We use Excel a lot. We use Excel, Word documents for setting up reports, and screenshots. These tools are definitely your best friends, as well as the description of what you have seen in the screenshot.
In my case, they would like to see what is working and screenshots of things so that they can see and compare the differences when the system changes. Being short and informative is the best policy.
Did you try video recordings for bug descriptions?
They have security measurements in place since it's a fintech project. At our company, we cannot take videos, but screenshots are okay. There is a screen recorder, but it shows a Windows hazard when you try to record your screen. When capturing a screenshot, it kind of talks about it, and you just have to clean up a little bit.
How busy is your day? Do you have a lot of things to do?
I mostly work eight hours a day, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. It depends on what needs to be accomplished that day.
We typically start with a morning meeting, followed by a breakout meeting about what we're working on that day, what we're trying to execute, or any issues we may have. Typically we have a couple of meetings a day.
We also have a defect meeting in the afternoon to discuss bugs or past bugs that need to be fixed. Once or twice a week we meet with the developers, who are contracted out, and we talk about more specifics, like what we're finding and seeing and comparing the requirements with the results.
How do you like your team?
I have to say the team I work with is great. It could not have been better, you know, the first position with a team. They are very kind.
Do you have any final words for your fellow graduates?
Document as much as you can, and be very thorough. Go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. There is no such thing as a questionable defect—if it looks off, you can discuss it with your team and ask questions.
Thanks for sharing your testimonial. We’re happy you've made it to tech. Indeed, we think you won't stop at Manual QA and will be climbing the career ladder in the future. We hope to hear back from you soon with another story!