Troy is among the growing number of people who have decided to switch careers and try something new. Having been a technology fan, he decided to go in that direction and is now a Manual QA professional.
Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
Twenty years ago I got a degree in computer science. After that, I was in law enforcement for many, many years and didn’t do much concerning computer science. I taught myself how to write in Java and HTML and played with computers a lot. While I was in law enforcement, I became the IT guy for the department and decided to leave it at some point and come to QA.
How long was your job search?
It happened between the first and the second week right after graduation. I got a phone call from a hiring manager. It was from a job application service. He talked with me for about 20-30 minutes and said he wanted to schedule a Zoom meeting with his team lead.
So we went from there, and I talked to him for a little while. The weekend went by and on Monday morning I had an offer.
How many interviews did you have before you got an offer?
That was the only interview I ever had. That was it!
How much money did you get?
I was asking about something between $70,000 and $80,000. Right now my compensation package is about $76,000. I actually start the automation QA class tomorrow, and I don’t think this number is the maximum I can make.
You’re definitely on the right path. Can you share a little bit more about the questions you were asked during the interview?
There were actually two interviews. In the first one, the hiring manager called me and asked some personal questions to get to know me better. He also asked me about what I was familiar with.
In the main interview with the lead, I’d say they asked half of the questions that I was expecting. The majority were personality questions.
After accepting the offer from the hiring manager, I had a call with him and he said, “You know, you may not have everything that we’re looking for, but you have a lot of it and you’re willing to learn.” He added that I was the only person to ever send him an email before and after the interview. He said it made me stick out.
Editor’s note: In 99 percent of cases, sending an email to the hiring manager before an interview is not recommended, nor is adding a hiring manager to LinkedIn before you get a job offer.
You surprised us with this, but I can tell you it’s not a rule. It’s an exception, a personal feeling of one manager out of 25,000 others. But still, I’m sure what got you this job was your confidence and knowing the answers and what they wanted to hear. Those were the reasons why the personal touch worked for you.
I don’t think I sounded desperate or anything. And if he hadn’t contacted me first, I wouldn’t have sent him an email beforehand. Plus, all the emails were nothing more than “I look forward to talking to you on .”
We know from experience that in seven out of 10 interviews, hiring managers ask exactly the same questions. Has this been your experience as well?
Exactly the same questions—they asked me things I was expecting.
In short, there were questions on Jira, operating systems, and API, but they never asked any really difficult questions. Moreover, the majority of questions were close enough to the questions I did know how to answer.
Where are you located? Are you going to work remotely?
I’m on the East Coast, and I’m going to work from home. I got my equipment today and I’m starting the day after tomorrow. They have already sent me the equipment: a Dell laptop, two monitors, headphones, a keyboard, and a mouse.
We hope you will enjoy it. It’s also worth noting not all Manual QAs are working remotely, since some companies are starting to go back into the office.
Careerist graduates have found jobs across 39 US states. Are you working in the same time zone as where you live?
Yes, nothing has changed for me about it. They seem to be laid-back people, and the job is straightforward enough.
Editor’s note: In January 2022 alone, 52 Careerist students got jobs. In 2021, there were 340 Careersist graduates who joined the IT industry.
Any final words to those who are still in search of their dream job?
Going into the interview, just think of it as practice, and it will keep you calm. This is what worked for me. Just don’t get surprised by the results during the first few interviews.
We are really happy that your results match what we promised you. We are also sure your story will be motivating and inspiring for many others, especially those who haven’t worked in the IT industry before or performed any technical jobs in the past.