Back to list

From Legal Science to Manual QA. Success Story of David Colonia

Success Story
Aug 02, 2023
From Legal Science to Manual QA. Success Story of David Colonia

David Colonia, a Careerist student in the past, shares his story of becoming a Manual Quality Assurance Tester. In this interview, he shares his journey to tech and talks about what it takes to get there. 

To start with, could you tell us about yourself? I don't want it to be so businessy, though, so could you share what you value in life? What kind of person are you?

I am a very low-effort person. I try to get the best results by not necessarily exerting maximum effort. After obtaining a college degree, I got my first job after a long search, and I was having trouble maneuvering to the next thing. I was taking a bunch of tech-related tutorials, but the coding one wasn't making me a better result. However, once I joined Careerist, I saw results. Perhaps it was due to the focus on QA (Quality Assurance). 

I understand that testing was something familiar to you.

In fact, it wasn't that hard of a transition. I tried to join the tech industry before and was eager to grow within the field. Before joining Careerist’s training, I was hesitant about going back to school and spending resources on something that I was not sure was going to work. I struggled to succeed in the field I graduated from, but I am happy I found Careerist and trusted the pathway it offers. 

So what were you studying before?

Before Manual QA I was studying legal and political sciences. Basically, I thought I was going to get into law. However, it isn’t that rapid of a career path; I would have had to take an additional four years of law school. I realized I could earn the same salary from an entry-level tech job as I could make in a law-related job. The requirements for a law career are crazy, and I didn’t feel like I was ready to accept that challenge, so I tried to get into tech. 

That makes sense. The legal field sounds really hard. What about the other career you tried before you joined Careerist’s training—was it anything tech-related?

Basically, I was an app reviewer or content tester. That was a contract-based job at a big tech company where nearly everything was outsourced. Overall it was easy to get and easy to handle. It also gave me experience in terms of knowing which device does what. It was something that really got my feet wet with technology as a whole. Through college, I worked part-time painting apartments, townhouses, and things like that. 

It's awesome to know how your career has changed throughout the years. Who did you want to be when you were growing up? What was your passion? What motivates you?

I think my very first dream job was to be a firefighter. And then I wanted to be one of those people who goes to Antarctica and takes pictures of penguins. Over time I started to hate environments that were too hot or too cold, though, and I definitely wanted to be in a climate-controlled office.

In college, my career perspective changed as well. I did student government, and I learned what it was like to work on a team project and push certain ideas forward. Even in tech right now, that's kind of how I see it: we're making products for certain customers, something that benefits end users.

How did you learn about Careerist? Did you initially look for a QA course?

No, I didn’t. It was an Instagram ad; I’m quite impressionable that way. But that was the one that I clicked on. Careerist focused on one niche. They were pretty clear about the program and looked promising in general. They seemed to do much more than just the basics. So that's what really hooked me.

What was your first experience with our advisors? Did you have any doubts about joining the training?

That's a great question. I would say any time you talk to a salesperson, no matter if you're buying a vacuum or an educational product, you do have that little bit of hesitation. Looking at my alternatives, which required much more time and money investments, it seemed very doable to me. Having the option to complete the training online was just amazing since I didn’t have to quit my job. A lot of other programs or educational venues are going to require some kind of trade-off. 

Careerist is faster and more flexible, for sure. Moreover, we have mentors for you, people who can guide you and help you. Did you share your intentions to get into tech with anybody? Did you finish your law studies? 

Yeah, I did. I got a bit of help from the people around me with paying for my undergraduate work. Some family members were definitely skeptical about me getting into tech. They were unsure about the time it might take. There were a lot of folks saying that I needed to get a master's degree because so many people out there have bachelor's degrees. And so this was kind of a compromise. It wasn't necessarily that they were skeptical of this kind of program but more like they were thinking, “Your career path isn't focused yet.” 

Now you're like a big advocate for tech. Has your family changed their opinion about your choice yet?

Yeah, definitely. Compared to what I did before, it was a drastic change. There's always that chance—not everybody who takes a risk changes their life. I finished school and did what I needed to do, so I fulfilled everybody’s expectations.

Good for you. I love hearing about successful tech career stories like yours. Could you tell us more about what you saw in your previous time in the industry and what you knew about QA before getting there? 

If you're having to apply for a tech job or just getting introduced to the industry, you think everything is like software engineering. In my opinion, as a Software Engineer, you must be really good in the interview and have acceptable technical skills. So while I was looking for a low barrier to entry, I learned about many more ways to become a part of the tech world. 

I was halfway through my Data Analyst course when I ran into Careerist. I would say becoming an analyst was way too much of a leap, whereas it was a really easy pivot to QA from what I was doing before.

From your current point of view, how much understanding of tech do you need to get started?

If you can use your phone or laptop, browse to watch a movie, or send an email, that's really all you need. That's really the starting point. If those things come easy, then you have a whole world of knowledge to pursue. 

Speaking of a little more advanced stuff, you might need some knowledge of spreadsheets to input all the necessary information. The bare minimum for becoming a Manual QA is knowing how to create and conduct test plans. It’s no secret that job responsibilities vary and the job descriptions rarely match reality. Stay flexible, though, because there is nothing to fear.

Let’s talk about your Careerist journey. When did you begin your tech training with us? Were there any particular challenges you faced?

I started right when COVID hit. At that time everything went online and remote. I really like how clean the interface is, and the program was structured well. It was easy to access classes and everything was organized. QA is organization-heavy, but during the training it was no problem at all. Everything was good practice, even just turning in the assignments. There was a lot of framing, thinking like a tester versus testing, thinking like a designer or engineer, etc. 

The challenge was to prioritize issues. The internship gave us a basic understanding of what is an issue and what is not. I was doing really well with issue prioritization last year thanks to good initial explanations.

Sounds like a good jump-start. Let’s talk about your experience with the people at Careerist. What was your mentorship like? How was your job-search process? 

I appreciated my mentor’s patience so much. It definitely wasn't the worst job market back then. I think it's a little trickier now, but it was pretty optimistic for the QAs. 

My mentor helped me to keep focused. After some interviews, I was about to dive into certain topics, but my mentor guided me in the right direction. My mentor was always practicing with me, and we polished my answers well.

Yeah, that's a big part of communication, which many find very valuable not just in interviews but on a daily basis. It’s a good skill to be able to talk to people, know where you started with a task or project, and be able to summarize it. Yeah, that's awesome. What do you think about Careerist’s culture?

I would say it's better than a do-it-yourself mentality. You're going to have assistance and people around, and it's a supportive environment. Afterward, you're encouraged to keep checking in and keep up with what's going on. So from that first block, it's up to you to make that second block, but once you start building, it can go really quickly. There's also no such thing as a dumb question. Even if it is a dumb question, you'll get the answer. That's what I experienced. It's a very professional culture; there’s a lot of hope and a lot of straightforwardness, but it prepares you to be ready when you need to be. 

What about the job search? How long did it take you to land your first Manual QA job?

It did take quite a while to find a QA job, where the title said something like QA Engineer, but there were two similar, “QA-ish” jobs that I got before that. 

I got the first job offer maybe a month after finishing the course. And that was a pretty good pay bump, but I still wasn't a QA Engineer yet. It was still a contract-based role. It was my first time communicating with engineers, having product input, and seeing where a product goes wrong. After maybe a year I got my actual Software QA Engineer title and all that comes with it.

What did it feel like to land somewhere close to a QA job in a month? Did you have any fears at the time? If yes, how did you overcome them?

Definitely. No one likes to apply for a job and not get it. Many sites still have listings from six months ago that are already filled. At first, I didn't know what to do with a job search. 

Slowly but surely, though, I started getting more phone calls and eventually more emails. Once I saw that happening, I told myself, “Okay, I'm not going to take my foot off the pedal even if I don't get the job I was trying to get.” But you know, I'm really happy with the one I got at first and the one I have now, so I'm not mad at it at all.

Do you have any idea of how often and how much you were applying per day or per week?

I was on the low end, for sure. There were days when I applied for as few as 10 jobs, but on most of the days I applied for 20. I did stick to the habit of applying a bunch on Sundays and Mondays and not as much throughout the rest of the week. I think the job I have now I applied for on a random weekday, just for fun. So it really doesn't matter that much when you apply because you never know which application will hit the target.

Featured career
QA Engineering
Looking to earn a tech salary without coding? Join our intensive training and become a QA Engineer
Learn More
QA Engineering
$69-105K avg salary

Let’s wrap it up. What can you tell us about your team and your work life right now?

Thank goodness, I'm still remote. My team is located all over the world. An immediate team is in Argentina, we have another ad hoc team in New York. I've also gone to LA for an extended stay because that's where most of our company is headquartered. I also got trained over there on some hardware testing. 

When it comes to the job, there are a lot of buckets because the team and the company work on vendor cell contracts. At first, I was assigned to just one project. Now I'm assigned to a bunch of projects helping a larger company with multiple workflows. I enjoy having face-to-face meetings with different people from different experiences and backgrounds. 

A lot of the job is just having the confidence to know when something is going right and when something is going wrong from a QA perspective. And that's really all that's expected of me; I'm not expected to do any heavy lifting or any part of development. 

A lot of people work remotely right now. Have you ever experienced a hard time motivating yourself? 

Oh, definitely. Having my own time and setting boundaries is the hardest part of working from home. Even when I was in the office, it just depends on where you are. If you're at a startup, you're for sure in an incredible atmosphere of loyalty and friendliness. But as you go up the pay scale, you have fewer fun days and more of those days where you're just focused all the time. QA has its designated duties, and development has theirs.

That sounds awesome. So what about your future career plans? Do you feel like you would want to grow in QA, move back to data analysis, or pursue more of an engineering thing? 

Yeah, I'm sticking with QA, and there's no way I'm touching data analytics! I think I might go toward automation and DevOps; those are two areas that are both extremely lucrative and still within the realm of QA. I'm very team-oriented, having been there for a year. I just need to do what I do and do it very well. 

Well, David, thank you for sharing. What advice do you have for someone who's about to join QA training? What would you like to tell those who are still considering or not sure about their QA career?

Don’t listen to anyone who tries to discredit you. There are always risks, both big and small. Stay flexible and be honest with yourself. You can look for a career, but at some point, you will bump into something that’s going to change everything for you. Careerist was definitely on the lower end of risks for me, and it paid me off. I'm very happy I enrolled when I did.

David, thank you so much for sharing your experience with Careerist. We appreciate it. We hope you’ll have a fantastic rest of your day. We wish you all the best in your Quality Assurance career!

Immersive career training
QA Engineering
Looking to earn a tech salary without coding? Join our intensive training and become a QA Engineer
Learn More

Related articles






Subscribe to Careerist Digest to stay tuned!

Careerist guarantee your privacy. Read our terms and conditions