Ninety-five percent of Careerist Manual QA training graduates have no tech background. Linus had some tech-related experience and a strong motivation to get a tester’s job. After three months of an active and precise job search, he found a project to join.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s in the Midwest (US).
Did you have any tech-related experience before jumping to Manual QA?
Oh yes, I had worked for two years as a Level 1 Tech Support Engineer at a business-to-business IT support company. It was pretty much basic things like answering phone calls, resetting passwords, and things like that. I helped set up new user accounts and worked with the active directory most of the time.
At first glance, it sounds a bit technical, which is cool, but actually, it’s not like you needed a computer science degree or any coding knowledge. How did you find out about Careerist?
I was just scrolling through Instagram and saw an ad there. I decided to join the program. I think it was back in August 2021.
If I may ask, what convinced you to join our training?
What got my attention is that it said that they could assist in getting a better-paid job in tech. What’s more, no tech background was required, which got my attention. I didn’t have an opportunity to leave everything, go to school full time, and entirely focus on my studies.
Was it hard to combine an internship and your regular job?
It depends on the hours you work. I could do my internship in the evening, and the mentors were very flexible too. Everything is recorded, so you can get to it anytime.
How did you like the program on Manual QA? Was it challenging to combine the training, your family, and work?
Once I started the program, I figured it was something I could do and still go to work because it’s in the evening and doesn’t take too much time. Moreover, I could join classes every evening, review the content, do my assignment, and then bring any questions I had to the class.
How long was your active job search?
The actual job search took three months. Before that, I didn’t follow the guidelines and failed to set up my LinkedIn correctly. Thus, I missed opportunities at first. I didn’t upload the info correctly to my LinkedIn profile, which was a problem. Once I fixed that via communication with my mentor, everything went smoothly. Literally, it took three months to get a job.
We’re happy to hear you’ve fixed it quickly and proceeded with the search. How was communicating with your mentor?
It was great. The mentor checked in on me at least once a week, always asking how things were going and what Careerist could do to help. The mentor helped me prepare by doing mock interviews and asking potential questions I might get in an interview. Then I received feedback on how I did with the interview training and where I needed to improve, which was also useful.
How many interviews did you manage to get within that time?
I’ve had over 25 recruiter calls, which led to seven second-round interviews.
So every third application brought you a call. How many jobs did you apply for on your own?
To be honest, I was very picky and specific. I filtered down to remote, then price range and something else, and submitted ten applications a day. The final count within those three months was between 60 and 70 positions.
Did you use the Job Application System (JAS) Careerist offers to its graduates?
No, I went on my own.
When did you get your first offer?
The first offer came within a month.
Wow! That’s amazing feedback for that number of applications. Anyway, it feels like you got more than one offer.
After all the interviews, I received three different job offers. Then I could choose based on the best fit and which one had a better financial offer.
The first offer I received was a $55,000 salary for a full-time, hybrid position. It was more of a startup company, specializing in window construction. The next company that sent me an offer was California-based. The fully remote position was about $65,000 on a contract basis. At the same time, I got a third offer from a bank, which I accepted.
It’s hard to guess the salary rate you’ve agreed on. Could you share a bit more detail on your current job?
It’s also a contract, which lasts 18 months. The workload is the standard of 40 hours per week at $48 per hour. After doing a bit of math, that comes to about $95k a year. Moreover, it was a bit more out of the scope of a tester. The job title says it was a Test Coordinator role. Still, I also got an opportunity to do some testing before.
I have to admit you’re off to kind of a great start. If it’s not a secret, did you negotiate your hourly pay?
For the position I have now, no. I tried to negotiate with the other two, but the managers came back to me with no increase, so I quit those two processes.
A relevant job title doesn’t always have “manual testing” in it. Let’s go back a bit to the interviewing process. What was typical about the interviews? Did you have any repetitive questions?
Each round of the interview was between 15 and 45 minutes long. The companies wanted to know my background in terms of testing knowledge. They tried to figure out whether I could tell the difference between functional and nonfunctional testing and whether I was able to identify defects. Of course, there were also questions about the tools I used.
Did the internship help you answer some of the questions about your work experience?
Yes, the internship works. I talked about the workflow and what I specifically did at my previous job. I felt the companies preferred hiring the person with the most experience. If the person didn’t have enough knowledge, they were up to choosing a candidate who was willing to learn straightaway and thus contribute to the project ASAP. That’s what I’ve picked up from all the different interviews I had.
Talking about the interview questions, did you feel well prepared?
The questions were spot-on points we had in another study guide Careerist provided to us. That’s what really helped me. I always reviewed questions, even when I didn’t have a scheduled interview, at least 30 minutes to an hour a day. That’s what prepared me to answer the questions well during the interview.
Can you mention some of the most common questions from the interviews?
Tell us about yourself, talk about the latest project you’ve worked on, and explain how to test something (a pen, a chair, etc.).
Did they ask you about any API-, SQL- or coding-related experience?
No, I had none of these questions at all. Perhaps this was because I was sticking to strictly manual positions.
How long have you been working there so far?
I’ve been there exactly for one month . The company sent me a laptop and a headset.
And how do you like it so far? How many QAs are there on your team?
It’s good. I test the web app. The transition was very smooth. There are four manual QA people in the team and no automation specialists. I’m already able to identify what’s going on—with the help of my team, of course. I’m trying to learn as much as possible and do my best every day.
Did you have any training within the first week, or are you still pushing through the onboarding?
The onboarding lasted for one week, and that’s it. I was shown platforms and tools and then jumped to the actual tasks.
What tools do you use at work?
We don’t use TestRail, but we do use Jira and Confluence.
What’s your working day like?
I joined in the middle of the project. I attend the daily meetings where we talk with the dev team and QAs and listen to the others to get a better picture of what is going on. We are free to pass if we do not feel like talking that day. Overall, I do tests and reports. There are test cases that have been prepared beforehand. I know what I’ve stopped and what needs to be done, and I simply follow the instructions.
Awesome. By the way, what’s your experience of doing a hybrid job?
Well, I was expected to work two days in the office and three days from home. I haven’t been in the office for the month I worked there. I have to admit that’s okay with the management.
Now it’s the best. You wake up, and in 30 minutes you’re downstairs. You don’t have to sit in traffic. Once you’re done, you can log off and be free.
You are pretty lucky to have an opportunity to spend more time with your family now. What are your plans for the future?
I’m planning to start learning automation. Maybe in the next six months, I will be ready to proceed.
Do you have any final messages for your peers?
Don’t give up. The system works. Follow the guidelines and keep applying. It’s just a numbers game. Check your instructions to make sure you’re going in the right direction.
Thanks for sharing your story. We hope to hear back from you soon in a new role as a mid- or senior-level tester. The market is still hot, and a well-prepared candidate will definitely get a job. And Careerist is here to help prepare you for that career switch and present yourself better than the average applicant.