What drives you to reach new heights? Curiosity? Perseverance? Amrita wasn’t a one-interview success story, but she kept moving forward, found her new company, and finally started her career in tech.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, and what is your background?
I’m from the East Coast—Maryland. Before the Careerist course, I had zero tech background. I did my master’s in sociology and used to work as a primary school teacher.
How did you find out about our Manual QA course?
I came across the course on Instagram. I had heard about similar opportunities, but I was also looking for an opportunity to join some sort of internship project in this sphere. The internship option offered by Careerist was the crucial reason why I chose you. I knew the internship could help me enhance my skills, and I have to admit it worked precisely this way.
When did you join the course, and when did you start your job search?
I took the course in October-November 2021. I did my internship and interview training with my mentor before the end of the year. So the job search started in early January 2022.
How long did it take you to prepare for the interview? I suppose it was a couple of weeks.
I wouldn’t say it was much time. I kept going through the list of questions and answers for two weeks to get myself ready. The constant revision helped me learn things better and boosted my confidence during interviews.
How did your job search go?
I did my best to apply for between 30 and 40 positions daily for all that time. Quite often, I saw repetitive jobs on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. I attended graduate meetings, which kept me motivated and pressing on toward my goal. By the end of March, I had already gotten an offer. So the whole job search took me around three months.
How many interviews did you have?
There were a couple of them, and the stories were always different. The first job interview I had was for someone with 7–15 years of experience, and that was quite weird because even though they were looking for someone very senior, they still invited me for the interview. I had no luck with that one.
The next interview was for a remote job, but it was with the QA manager. She was probably a new person in the company, and the job post was new too. It didn’t click either, although I was ready with my answers. Some things work and some things don’t, so it didn’t this time.
How much time passed from the start of the job search until interview invitations began to appear?
It was at least a month. To be honest, I was pretty frustrated and worried at that time. I didn’t have any idea how it was going to work. Maybe that was why I agreed to go to that interview where the company was looking for someone experienced. I knew I wouldn’t fit in, but I still wanted to learn what it was like.
Do you remember some of your interviews?
I had a couple of calls with HR for the second one, but I didn’t make it any further in the hiring process. It required hybrid attendance, and I couldn’t travel to Texas or LA for two or three days a week.
The third and last interview I had was to test my knowledge of how I would get over fear and anxiety; then, there was an hour-long technical interview. They required someone with an SQL background in testing. I did a Udemy course on SQL, but it didn’t help me much because I was so nervous I couldn't answer simple questions. I had a two-hour interview with the QA team and then the dev team. The next meeting was with the VP of the product, who kept asking if I had any questions. Last week I had an interview with the head of the engineering team, which was around 45 minutes. This time there were a lot of scenario-based questions on how I would test this or that. Despite the fact it was a long process, it felt incredible and positive.
Did you mention any API or SQL on your resume?
Yes, and I know it’s a bit more complicated than the rest of the Manual QA course. Since it was on my resume, they asked me about that. I did work on these questions. I spoke to my mentor, and she came up with some suggestions and video lessons. When it was clear, my mentor agreed we should include it in my resume.
There were scenario questions but not direct questions from the engineering team. They weren’t too complicated, however, and I could answer straight away, but I always took a bit of time to get to the point. The interviewers seemed to be happy with my answers.
Were there any tricky questions?
They asked the questions we had been preparing for. In the first interview, there was a question about testing a vending machine. In the third one, they gave me a page to test and asked me to come up with test cases.
They asked me which methodology we used at my last place, Agile or waterfall. I answered that it was Agile, and there were no more questions on that point.
Some interviewers like to give practical tests to assess your performance. Did you have any?
Yes, there were some questions on functionality and exploratory testing. They also gave me a test case to complete in 15 minutes. I followed all the steps we learned in the internship, starting with the test title, but I probably wouldn’t do it this way in the future because I had to skip some things; 15 minutes wasn’t enough time to finish it. Anyway, I was satisfied with what I managed to do at that time. It was a nice chance to elaborate on the things we have learned.
We advise joining the internship because managers notice when you have this hands-on experience. Well, it’s time for the most intriguing question: How much did you get?
During the interview, I asked for $70–80K, but they sent me a more extensive offer of $82K. There are benefits, limited PTO, and medical insurance, including dental services. That was much more than I’d expected, and I couldn’t wish for more.
Is it remote?
Yes, it’s in LA, but I don’t have to move there, so I still work from the East Coast.
We’re happy to hear you got such a good offer and didn’t agree or even ask for less than $70K. A smaller salary might sound good, but it’s usually better to hold out because you can get more. So always check the Glassdoor salary ranges before negotiating.
Note: Our course helps you get the maximum possible salary in the minimum possible time (two-to-four months in most cases), but there are always exceptions, since we work with many students.
So what do you test?
I do both web and mobile application testing.
And what about your team?
The people there are friendly. There are two other QAs, and I’ll be the third one.
Talk to your mentor before starting for more advice on the first week of work because your mentor knows you the best. The Careerist team is always interested in you finding a job ASAP. Don’t worry if you don’t know something. Do some quick research on the internet before asking any questions.
If you don’t like anything about a potential job, keep in mind that you can continue searching. Do you have any final words for your peers?
Trust the process and be more confident. We all get rejected, but you will find your perfect fit one day. So good luck to everyone!
Once again, congratulations on your new job. The most important part is to keep yourself focused during the job search, which usually lasts two-to-four months. The requirements for automation, Selenium, or any other reason you might receive a “no” for these two-to-four months shouldn’t distract you or make you doubt or give up. Once you find a job in tech, you are well on your way to a new life!