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How an English teacher after a testing school started to get $95K a year

Success Story
Jan 08, 2020
How an English teacher after a testing school started to get $95K a year

Ilona taught English at university, but due to unstable wage and interest to technological sphere she decided to change her profession. Here is her first person narrative about the lessons, internship, job search and her current salary. 

I came from Ukraine. In the USA I taught English to the foreigners in terms of the program ESl . There is no the definition “full-time” in this sphere. You don’t know, how many hours you will get in the next semester and will they do that or not in general. 

In order to get to a higher level of outcome, you should work in three cities, which actually I did. There are no perspectives of the career ladder. I worked on different projects in the sphere of content and localization. 

In addition, I wanted to try something new, especially when you live near Silicon Valley. 

I was thinking of bootcamps for a long time, but they were expensive for me. Opportunely I found the information about, where it’s possible to pay not upfront. 

This payment is post factum and amounts 10% of year’s salary. This fact helped me make up my mind. 

On one hand it is not little. On the other hand it’s worth, guys do a great job. In other schools you are charged for $3000 upfront, but I did not have spare money. 

Apparently, they are young, energetic and they do their best. In comparison with other testing schools, established by Russian-speakers, teaching at Careerist is in English, in a good English. I didn’t want to bring up the rear just because of lessons in Russian.

I liked Max’s charisma a lot.

I am a teacher myself, I can distinguish a bad teacher from a good one. The course was convenient, in the evenings, so I could go on with my work. I decided that if I couldn’t find a new job in 3 months, I would get back to my usual work. 

I enrolled at this course, but I was not sure if I would continue it. But the work of a manual tester appeared to be very simple. We studied what quality assurance was, how an average working day looks like, how to find bugs, how to set priorities, how to fill out bug reports and many other things. 

The course also included the materials on the work with SQL, peculiarities of job search. We studied good and bad examples of resumes. After the seventh and the eighth lessons we wrote our own resume, sent to the teachers to be checked and got the feedback.

At the last lesson we had to create an account on LinkedIn, where we had a wonderful resume with the description of our projects and our zone of responsibilities. 

I finished studying and started to look for job. I had over 100 screening interviews and 5 video interviews on the whole, sometimes I had 15 calls a day. A real interview is when you get an invitation to the office. It’s almost an offer. They last long, sometimes even three or four hours, just a test of survival. 

You should apply for jobs on your own. In the morning you apply for a job, get calls on the same day or the next one. They don’t call two days later. There is a feeling that the positions are held immediately. There are a lot of candidates for the positions which you can apply for in one click on LinkedIn. So I was applying for jobs where I had to fill out each field separately on the website of the employer itself. 

Once an Indian recruiter calls me and tells me about the position. Sometimes you sign NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Your resume is sent to HRs of the company. Probably, it is the way how tens of resumes are sent, so it’s very important to send the resume that suits the description precisely. Recruiters themselves often say “In your resume you should pay more attention to this, and the employer wants this … It should be corrected”. 

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I had a few resumes.

One was for localization, the second one was technical, QA; and the one more was combined for QA and localization. 

It’s not common to mention the address in the resume, but they ask to write the index, and you should be careful with it. Indian recruiters pay attention to your index and the employer’s one and how it’s far from each other. They do not understand the features of the USA, that in Silicon Valley everyone drives all the time. I changed indices for each position each time. If it was an offer in San Jose, I googled the index for San Jose and wrote as if I lived there. Otherwise you fail. 

Indian recruiters will also decrease your salary taking a good part of what your employer offers. 

Once after such a conversation with a recruiter where they offered 33$/h, I got the description of the position where there was 60$/h. It’s much better if you talk to the employer directly. 

I understood that I was lucky when a recruiter called me and said that she worked with the company directly. The salary would be higher and the work would be with the staff (not a “contractor”), they will give benefits, medical insurance and other things. 

When I came to the interview to the company, 5 people talked to me during 2 hours 45 minutes: a manager, two QA engineers, each one talked about half an hour with breaks.  

Nobody tried to overload me, I was excited after the interview. 

They asked technical questions, e.g. “Imagine that tomorrow is the release of the product and everybody in your team got sick. And you are alone. What would you firstly look at?”.

We talked about all of this at the course and we had a great cheat note for the interview, questions-answers, some students learnt them by heart!

I got an offer at that company for $95 000. It is rather big, located in San Francisco, creates websites for big clients, such as Google and Nike. 


At Careerist, we tried to create a dream school that we ourselves once wanted to get into, but could not find such important and necessary knowledge. Based on our mistakes, we created a solution that will help to avoid wasting time and focus on what is really needed: going through an interview, getting a job and the work itself.

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