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From Direct Support Provider to Manual QA. Success Story of Ali

Success Story
Jul 13, 2023
From Direct Support Provider to Manual QA. Success Story of Ali

Ali’s journey was not easy and took a lot of preparation. He struggled to master his coursework and did several interviews before getting the offer he wanted. This story is about reaching the stars after finding the right path.

Where did you learn about Careerist? What has made you accept the challenge of a career switch?

I ran across Careerist on an Instagram ad last October [2021]. The remote job opportunity attracted me. 

Did you have any relevant background before?

No, I was a direct support provider. I worked with kids and people with autism, helping them get facilitated into their community, and learn basic skills. Before that, I worked at Olive Garden. Nothing tech-related.

When did you start the course on Manual QA?

I joined the course and then went through the internship and mentorship. The actual course ended at the beginning of November. Between November and February, I didn’t start studying. I let a lot of time go by because of the holidays and other personal stuff. I didn’t really have much time to focus. But I started focusing between late February and early March. 

What did you think of the Careerist Manual QA course? Was it difficult? 

The course was straightforward and explained everything, but I needed more reinforcement. I went to a third-party resource to brush up on the information about QA. Careerist has great instructors, and I watched the videos over and over again. I found the classes very informative.

When did you start applying for jobs? 

I sent my first application at the beginning of May. 

When was your first interview? And how did it go?

Within a week, I got my first interview with a company. It didn’t go well because I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the criteria and everything, but there were still a lot of variables I couldn’t predict.

Even though I prepared well, I felt nervous. Despite knowing the correct answer, I answered in a very unconfident way. If you don’t speak confidently, it doesn’t matter if you’re saying things the right way. That company didn’t get back to me, but I wasn’t mad because I saw it as an opportunity to improve. I felt the jobs are out there, people are hiring, and the program works. Moreover, I saw everyone else getting jobs. I told myself that I was no different and could get one too.

What happened next in your job search? How was the following interview?

So I kept applying, and I got another interview in June. This time it was with Paramount. They had a data analytics QA vacancy. I lacked experience, and they had other applicants with more relevant resumes. However, that interview showed me that I was improving; they gave me positive feedback after two rounds of interviews.

Then I stopped applying for jobs because I wanted to focus on learning API and SQL. I felt insecure about not knowing those tools, so I learned API but haven’t learned SQL yet. Honestly, it felt really good learning how to do API testing. In August, I had the JAS (Job Application System) start applying on my behalf.

How many job applications did you submit from May through July before adding JAS?

I think I applied for 330 applications throughout these three months. In the beginning, I was really red-hot about applying myself because I didn’t trust the JAS. When I passed this work to JAS, I used my time to learn, master skills, and increase my knowledge.

Quite a wise choice. How many interviews did our JAS system bring you?

I had an interview in August, right before I got the job I have now. Again, I didn’t get the job, but I made it through two of the five online interview rounds. They gave me a mock website and asked me to find bugs. I didn’t do well on that because I was overthinking it. 

Did they want you to find functional issues with the website?

Yes, the UI issues—spelling errors or misalignments, truncated things, and so on. They also gave me some fake websites to test the text boxes and buttons. I remember the links were not correct in the footer. 

Do you remember your successful series of interviews?

A day or two after the last interview, I got a call from another recruiter, followed by a conversation. Then we scheduled a meeting with the director of QA.

I was well prepared and studied the company’s website, trying not to let this one slide. That interview went well, and they wanted me to do the second interview the same day, right after I spoke with the director. I wanted to be better prepared, so I asked to schedule the meeting for the following day. The next day, I talked to the head of product strategy. It was a great conversation, and they asked me to speak with the CEO. At that point, I knew I had the job. They got back to me in a couple of days and told me I had gotten the job. 

I’ve already received my laptop, and I’ll start next week. My mentor sent me instructions for the first week at work. 

Did you get a remote job? 

Yes, the company is based in San Francisco, California, and I live in New York.

It’s a startup created three years ago. They’re growing really fast and expanding their QA team; I’m the 2nd QA person on board. They’ll train me and then move me to QA lead or QA manager based on my performance.

How much are you earning?

My salary is $75,000 a year. It’s full-time, and they’re talking about stock options. They gave me $20,000 in shares.

Sounds pretty good. What is the company’s specialization?

They deal with mortgage software. At present, they’re updating and upgrading old software. I’m doing some extra research and learning about the industry.

Indeed, that’s a good strategy. Extra research is okay at this stage, but don’t force it too much. 

Do you have any final words for your peers?

I re-watched the course multiple times, and it’s more than enough to get started. I looked for external sources to see if the course was missing anything, and I must admit that it lacks nothing. The study guide is as comprehensive as it gets, and the resources are to the point.

I went the extra mile just because the industry I’m entering is new to me. I had failed many interviews and was trying not to fail again. I doubled down on preparation. Again, it’s my case, which is rare. A company might like you right away. Just keep going and keep applying. It has changed a lot for me, and I’m looking forward to starting a new job. It doesn’t matter who you are; you can really do this.

We hope to hear from you in a couple of months so you can tell us more about your insider experience. Thanks for sharing your story and motivating many more to change careers and get started in tech.

​If this success story has inspired you and you're eager to embark on a promising career in tech, don't wait any longer! Join our QA Manual training now and start making your own success story. Click here to enroll today.

*This interview was edited for clarity.

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