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From HR Manager to Automation QA Lead: Laura's Success Story

Success Story
Jan 30, 2023
From HR Manager to Automation QA Lead: Laura's Success Story

Laura wanted to find a remote position so she could spend more time with her family. Her success shows that there is nothing special about pursuing a job in tech—as long as you want it and are willing to put in the time and effort. Having no technical experience, Laura was able to not only master testing but become an Automation QA lead.

I'm happy you decided to join us today and tell us your story. So tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Do you have any technical background? Where do you live?

I don't have any technical background. I live in Texas. I started my QA journey almost two years ago when I started the Manual QA training with Careerist. That was the first one I took when I joined. It was 2020. I had the training and the internship. It was pretty nice. I remember I had four offers. One was for Google, but they didn't give me a good enough salary, so I accepted another one. My salary was $105K for a Manual QA position.

How long was your job search? 

Three weeks. The first week was pretty slow, but the second and third weeks were intense. I had several interviews and offers. I accepted an offer from one of the e-commerce companies, so it was an excellent opportunity. So it was a start, and then this April, I received Automation QA training. Then within one week of starting the job search, I got an offer.

Wow, you're very lucky because the job search can usually last for months. How many jobs did you apply for? 

I applied for around 30 positions a day. I was pretty confident, I kept on pushing, and I did everything you told me to do. I followed up with my mentor. I prepared for each interview. I took additional training on API and SQL just because I wanted to. Honestly, when I received the offer during the interview, I was not asked anything in particular. I had one call with the VP of Engineering. It was supposed to be just for 30 minutes, but I had a solid feeling I would get this position. He didn't even ask any complicated questions. It was mainly behavioral questions like “what kind of team player are you,” “what do you like to do,” and “how would you approach .” 

What kind of coworker are you?

Oh, I'm a great team player. If I weren't a team player, I wouldn't be where I am right now—my story doesn't end there. After the automation training I did in April, which lasted about four months, I didn't even start applying for jobs. I just customized my LinkedIn profile as an Automation QA Engineer. The recruiter texted me. Her message hit me pretty well. She said I could be a great fit. I had three rounds of interviews, and I accepted the offer. And now I work as a QA lead.

Do you work as a QA lead doing QA automation?

Yes, I'm doing QA automation, and I have two QA engineers under me. They do manual QA.

How do you feel about automation? Was it complicated? Was it very sophisticated? Is it something anyone can do?

If you put in the time and effort, anyone can do it. But you need to have the right mindset—don’t decide before you try it. I like automation so much. It simplifies my job. I'm going to continue to be an Automation QA lead. Now I'm learning back end automation. It was a great push to start over with a brand-new career. It was a significant change for me and my life because I was an HR manager before. So I know how to deal with interviews, what to say, and what to ask. The essential skill set you need to have for any interview is confidence. If you're confident, they won’t ask you lots of questions. You have to stay positive and confident and answer. Don't say anything extra.

Awesome. And you mentioned being an HR manager. Was it HR in tech or HR in something else?

I was an HR manager in the oil field.

Okay, you mentioned you didn't have any technical background before Careerist. You didn't know any coding or tools. How long was it before you started learning about automation after getting the job?

Yes, I was already working as a Manual QA. I received the training after one year on the job. I felt like I needed to try it because I signed up and told myself, “Let's go and try.” And I loved the training we had; all of the tutors were amazing. Everything takes time, and nothing is easy. But if you want to get the things you never had, you have to work hard—as hard as you ever did before.

Tell us, after one year in manual QA, how was it to start learning automation? Did you like it? Was it simple? Did you get some kind of help or support? 

Manual QA is a pretty straightforward job. You don't need an MBA or a Ph.D. to land the job. You do have to be positive, though. And the job itself is very basic. You write test cases, execute them, report, find the bugs, and report them. The most complicated thing people think about is the interview, and it is. You have to pass the interviews. The job itself is not complicated at all.

Was the position you got in Manual QA a 100 percent remote job?

Yeah, it was a 100 percent remote job. My goal in moving to QA was to be home with my kids and to spend time with my family.

Do you remember what kind of questions you were asked during the interviews or which questions were repeated? 

They were mostly all the questions that you gave us. It was mostly questions like, “How would you file a test case?”, “How do you organize your work?”, “How many meetings do you have?”, “How do you contribute to the team?”, “How do you deal with engineers?”, “How do you prioritize and manage working on different projects?”, “How do you test?”, “What kind of tools do you use for testing?”, “How would you test a phone?”, and “How would you test a pair of glasses?” 

Thank you very much. What were you doing? Web testing? Mobile testing? Both? How was it?

I was doing web testing. We only support web browsers.

Do you focus on functionality, UI, or both? 

Yeah, both functionality and UI, and since it was an e-commerce website, we had so many integrations with different platforms like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, and Facebook Ads. So I learned a lot about my team, specifications, how I can grow within the company, my role, and the value I provide. 

Thank you. Do companies want to see younger people? 

Nobody cares about your age. You cement your identity as soon as you show yourself to be a pleasant person to work with. That's all that matters.

Did you use our Job Application Service (JAS) or just apply yourself?

I used JAS and I was also applying for a lot of positions myself, mainly on LinkedIn.

Were you asked to write test cases during any interviews? If yes, for which device?

I never got asked to write a test case.

Did you get any questions about test cases during the interview?

Yeah, they asked me things like, “How do you write test cases?” and “What do you cover in your test cases?” And I would say, “I'll just write the test case, verify this button is visible, verify if you click on that button, this one will appear verified.” It depends on the device and the application. In one interview, I was given homework. They gave me a URL to test a browser application, and they just asked me to write bug reports.

What is your typical day at work in manual QA?

Every day we have daily stand-up meetings. Then, because I'm a QA lead, I join a leadership sync meeting, which is twice a week with a leadership team—basically the VP of Engineering, the CTO, and product managers. And then I maintain my automation cases. I write scripts based on them.

Do you write cases every day? What is your approach to writing test cases?

When I was a single QA Engineer, I tried to build everything from scratch because I was the only one and the reason my boss hired me was that he said, “I want you to focus on documentation and writing down tests.” 

Laura, thank you so much for joining us. Do you have a final message for graduates?

First of all, thank you, Max, for your support, and thanks to my mentor, Nadia, and my Manual QA teacher, Lana. Nothing is impossible. You should believe in yourself. Just work for it. Never give up. I wish you guys the best of luck.

We are very grateful to Laura for sharing her Success Story. We are convinced that her story will inspire more than one person to start something new and change their life for the better.