What can make one decline a good offer? Can you say “no,” knowing you can find a better job? Anne could and never regretted it. Today, she works as a QA Analyst for a large company involved in UI testing, which makes her story even more gripping.
Could you tell us a bit more about the beginning of your Careerist journey? How did you find us?
Actually, I found Careerist in 2019 on Facebook. Back then, it was called Job Easy. I wasn’t ready to start the training at that time, but I eagerly attended the webinar and liked the opportunity. Early in 2021, I bumped into a Careerist ad again on Facebook, and I was like, “Wait a minute, I know these guys!” I decided to start the training, so I immediately signed up. The following things then happened fast: classes, internship, career coaching, and finally, getting a new job.
Sounds like a whole whirlwind of events. Did you have any technical background before joining Careerist?
No, I didn’t come from anything technical; I have a degree in political science, which is totally far removed from QA.
Actually, it’s a background that might be a strength, since any QA needs to communicate regularly with developers, product managers, and many others. Did you manage to get a remote job?
Yes, I work 100 percent remotely now. I was very determined and didn’t give up searching until I found a fully remote position.
Sounds like a dream job. How long have you been working in tech now?
I started working in mid-April 2022, so it’s already been a couple of months of full-time work. I got the offer in February and had to wait for a little while until they kickstarted the new team on the new project.
By the way, are you located on the west or east coast?
I’m in Dallas, Texas. But I work in PST—California time.
If we may ask, how much do you make now?
Of course, I’d love to share because I was surprised at how much I managed to get. I was interviewed by the company’s recruiter, not an agency or an external person. Initially, at the very start of the interview, I asked for $75,000, and she upped the amount to $85,000 by the end of the same interview.
Honestly, I hadn’t done my homework; I didn’t check the rate before the meeting. After the interview, I found out she gave me top dollar for that position.
It’s definitely a very unusual situation. What was your search strategy? How long did the active job search last?
It took me about four months to get a job. I tried to keep focused and not slow down, and eventually I came across the right company. There were also companies that would have hired me, but were only offering onsite work. Because I was determined to get a remote position, that might have slowed the process.
How many interviews did you have during these four months?
, There were about six or seven series of interviews. There were also plenty of screening calls from recruiters, who usually told me they would send my resume to management and get back to me, but never did.
There were companies I was very hopeful about, like one in Dallas where I went up to the point of talking with HR. It was a $75,000 offer with only a 25-minute drive to the office, but I backed out because I didn’t want to work onsite during the pandemic.
The more I interviewed, the better I got at the interview process. Towards the end, I wasn’t even going through the interview questions beforehand anymore – I knew everything. My single preparation before the meeting was getting dressed five minutes ahead of time and switching on the computer.
To win, you might have to lose a couple of times. But once you are well-prepared, motivated, and focused, you will get the job. Did you see the same questions you were prepared for? Was there anything you weren’t prepared for?
The questions were exactly the same as what we had prepared for with our Question-Answer list. Among the most frequent questions, I encountered:
- Tell me about yourself
- Tell me about a challenge at work
- Tell me about an interesting bug
I always had the same stories in my pocket, and my answers got better and better every time I retold them.
In one interview, the interviewer went too far from everyday SQL usage and started asking questions that were too in-depth. But that was a single case.
And what was the interview process like?
The interviews for that position in Dallas were set for two hours in a row. I had a panel of two people for one hour and then another panel of two people immediately after for another hour. Right after that, they were able to decide on the spot, which is good and saves time for both parties. So after I finished the two-hour interview, I was handed over to HR, but I never signed that contract.
With the company I actually ended up working with, I had the recruiter interview, and then she sent me to another interview. So I was interviewed by a QA manager, a QA director, and then one more director. I never met the team, though, and I think that also was good since they didn’t have to decide whether I was a good culture fit or not.
There was also another—a hard one which I hated. Sadly, I paused my interviews for a couple of days after that. The interviewer was asking me questions that were too technical and that I couldn’t answer. In retrospect, I should have stopped that interview instead of going on, but I went through it.
Was automation in the job description at the company that hired you?
No, not at all. In fact, there are no automation positions in the company. The interview was chill. Nothing technical.
Sometimes you feel like it’s not going well during the interview, but then they choose you. We would never advise leaving an interview. Prepare and be confident.
Could you tell us what it’s like to be a QA?
I’ve got a rather unusual but exciting job—I check emails. My work is focused on checking for grammatical errors, alignment or misalignment, etc. I work for an advertising company and these things matter a lot.
The work itself is easy. They trained us well, and I use a tool that helps check the email’s layout across various browsers and operating systems simultaneously.
Wow! It sounds like UI testing.
What is your job title?
I’m working as a QA Analyst.
That’s amazing. Usually companies focus more on functional testing. Many don’t care about UI. Do you use Chrome DevTools?
No, I’m not using anything technical. I compare a list from the creative team with the result. What I do is just compare. No testing tools, just checklists where I mark pass-fail and that’s it.
Chrome DevTools is handy since it’s hard to catch everything with the eye. How were your first days at work?
Again, we had a lot of training. There was plenty of time to learn our roles and responsibilities. I worked with another Careerist graduate, which brightened up my onboarding. We are a very small team of four: 3 QA analysts and the QA director. All the people are new because the team was formed for a specific project. The QA lead belongs to our client's advertising company, and we report to the QA director. It’s fast-paced, and we don’t have sprints.
What is your daily routine like?
We have a Scrum call in the morning. We are also assigned our work the night before, so we already know what we need to do the next day. Everything is pretty structured. It’s a huge company with 20,000 people working worldwide.
I work the hours of my company, and it’s not flexible; it’s fixed. I have a lot of time in the morning to do personal things.
Thanks for sharing your story; we appreciate it a lot. Even more, thanks for a ton of motivation. We’re happy you found your place in tech! Indeed, you are doing an interesting and somewhat rare job. Enjoy, and keep up the good work!