Nika is a testing specialist who’s worked in the tech industry for over seven years. He currently teaches at Careerist and he has changed the lives of so many students! Read his story below.
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and how you got into QA…
It’s actually a funny story...
I was in my second year of college, I was still studying general education classes when I was offered an opportunity to join an internship at a startup. The role at the startup was for a manual QA testing position.
I was intrigued by what the company had to offer, especially the salary. My plan for college was to study journalism once I finished my general education classes and from what I was hearing about tech, I could make more than double the amount of money as a QA tester compared to a journalist.
The internship was for a summer, so three months of helping test the applications while learning the ropes on how software companies operate. By the end of the summer and my internship, I was trained up and could work with various QA tools and the startup offered me a full-time job. Staying in college and passing up on this opportunity didn’t make sense, so I decided to become a QA tester.
After years of working in the QA field do you still like it?
Honestly, to begin with I wasn’t passionate about QA, I was more interested in the money I earned.
I did get excited when I would find bugs, but overall - clicking buttons and making sure the products were working as they should didn’t exactly make me fall in love with the job.
But, over the years I learned a lot from my QA managers and leads and this helped me to love my work. QA is vital for ensuring great quality products and the best end user experiences, and I like this responsibility. Once you realize that the software is a business and that QA are one of the biggest backbones to ensuring that the business requirements are running successfully, it becomes a lot more exciting.
I now approach work with the mentality of “how can I improve myself this week” and for me, that makes work a lot more interesting. In my eyes, I've done a decent job at climbing the career ladder, but I've still got a long way to go. However, for today I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be in my life. Eventually, I want to become a QA manager, so I know that I need to keep working on my strengths and weaknesses.
But to sum it up, I'm much more passionate about QA now in comparison to how I felt about it years ago.
What do you really like about QA?
The more you grow in the QA field the more responsibilities you gain, and this is something that I've grown to love. I live for getting new projects and challenges to work on and having to figure out the best ways to adapt to those situations to ensure quality standards are met.
I think technology in general, no matter what your role is, will have more challenges and need for adaptability then almost any other type of career out there. This is what keeps it fresh and intriguing to me.
Also, for me, one of the funnest parts of QA is that we get to communicate with a lot of different types of interesting people (product teams, software engineers, designers, etc). They’re expecting you to come up with solutions and processes and be able to communicate the pluses and minuses of each of these things. This makes the role incredibly engaging for someone like me, because Communication comes very naturally to me, and being able to talk to so many different types of individuals at work makes my job very enjoyable.
You’re currently teaching at Careerist, why did you decide to become a teacher?
I became a teacher because I love to help people. It’s great being able to support people when they’re switching their careers from something they hate to something they love. I like to help people earn better salaries, and I want to make a positive impact on people’s lives. It makes me feel fulfilled and it makes me feel happy.
In the beginning, I was a bit nervous about teaching because I’d never taught before. But I approach things in life with the mentality that if I try my best to do something, then I will succeed in doing it. Of course this means that I have to put in a lot of time and effort into each thing I approach, but I truly believe that others can sense my hard work and diligence and that is what makes people so comfortable around me.
Since I had no idea how I would be as a teacher, this meant that I had to spend a lot of time practicing my lessons at home beforehand, and I’d prepare a lot to calm my nerves. I think I probably spent ~3-5 hours preparing for each lesson before my first time teaching that lesson. (Keep in mind our lessons are only two hours long haha)
But I knew that this would be appreciated by my students, so I knew that I had to put in the time to help them grow. I try to teach my lessons in a way where all different types of learners can retain the information, whether that is by providing real life examples of situations, or by going into the tiniest details of each of the subject matters, or by asking thought provoking questions to help them come up with their own answers. With a wide variety of students, this is the only way to ensure their success.
I’m always happy to hear positive feedback from my students and I love to read their success stories.
What skills do you think someone needs to start a career in QA?
I think that anyone can do this job, but communication and time management skills are important. The ability to learn quickly is also very desirable in the current job market and I don’t see that ever going away. It’s honestly not too challenging to become a manual tester, and anyone can learn the terminology, as well as, how to actually do the testing. It’s not rocket science, anyone can do it.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane… Can you tell us about your very first interview that you went to for a manual QA position.
In my first interview I met with the QA manager of the company. I told her that I didn’t know much about QA, but that I was an open-minded person and that I was eager to learn.
I told her that I would always try to improve my work and my skills, as this is what’s expected of an intern. I got the role but they didn’t pay much during the period (I think I was slightly above minimum wage). But three months later, at the end of the internship, I was offered a full-time position which not only 3x’d my expected salary after 2 more years of college, but also opened up a doorway for me to find a permanent home in the tech industry.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting a career in QA?
My advice to people who are unsure about whether or not QA is for them is to just give the course a go. There isn’t much to be scared about, and you shouldn’t doubt your abilities.
If you can devote a couple of hours every single day to studying something new, then you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know to become a manual tester. It’s something that anyone and everyone can do.
Could you finish this sentence: “A QA specialist is a person who…”
… is responsible for making sure that the health of the business/software requirements is communicated to the stakeholders and that the end user’s experience of a product is passing a high quality standard.
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us all! Over the past few months you’ve changed the lives of so many people for the better.
If you would like to read some of our student success stories you can do so by visiting our blog.