Are you feeling discouraged about your job search? Have you been wondering what kind of questions employers are asking in interviews, or what it's like to start your first day at a new workplace? We recently sat down with some of our successful graduates and asked them about their experiences in the job market. They shared their stories, insights, and advice on everything from job interviews to navigating office culture.
Hello, Bradley and thank you for coming. Tell me about your background - do you have any technical background?I don’t have a computer science degree. I obtained my health science degree in 2017.
What did you do before tech?
I started as a clinical administrator right out of college. Then I went on and did work with insurance right before the pandemic hit.
What made you change your mind and try tech?
During the pandemic, I realized I didn’t want to go back to doing insurance. It wasn’t really for me—a lot of work and hours, and I just didn’t want to do it. At some point, I stumbled across the course, and I just leaped at it. Yeah, that’s it.
So when did you kick-start your journey into tech?
So I started the training on April 11, 2021. After the training, I did two short internships: the first one May 10–14 and the second one May 17–21.
What did you do after your internships?
The day after I finished my second internship, I contacted my mentor. We started setting schedules, and I was meeting with her, going over the script, and just trying to get it down in the best way. We worked on moments where I could sound better and more confident during interviews.
Was it hard to prepare for the interview process?
When it came to interview prep, this was a whole lot of work. Honestly, I had to dedicate hours—like, literally hours a day. I was lucky to have a friend who was helping me. So I was studying in the mornings and afternoons, and then he asked me questions and critiqued my answers. I did that for a little while, and then I went on my own and just started writing down all the questions, so I had the provided document up on the left, I had my manuscript on the right, and I would write it, literally just trying to copy or type it out. I typed out all the questions and highlighted suggested answers in blue.
Did you repeat the last lesson to hear the answers, like how they sound?
Yes, I did do that. I probably didn’t do it as much as it was recommended because it worked better for me to remember them via typing them out. I just covered up the answers, read the question, and tried to type the answer myself. After that, I compared the answers to spot what I had missed or where I went the wrong way. This precise answer comparison and analysis worked for me.
Did you have any chance to use Job Application Services (JAS)?
I started applying on my own, and I also submitted for JAS. I went through that whole routine, and I think everybody knows how it goes. In tandem, we started applying, and I still don’t know who applied for the job I was later selected for, but it has worked out. So that was actually July 21.
So it took you basically two months of an active search to find a job.
My first interview was on July 21, and it was in person. So I immediately called my mentor, and I was a little panicked because I was like, well, I won’t have a document to look at or anything like that. My mentor calmed me down because I was afraid to get choked up. She set up our meetings again. I studied and came back with her. You have to be honest with yourself when it comes down to it; just go through the process.
How was that interview? How did you feel about it?
I went to the interview being very, very nervous. I think anyone would feel the same. The main reason was I didn’t know what they were going to ask me. There was an interview panel of a QA manager, another QA, a manual QA person, and three developers.
When people want to hire you, they need you, and you need them in the same way. That was what I liked a lot about them—the way they said they were looking for a good candidate, and you are looking for a good job. So when I went in there, they just started telling me what they were doing. I didn’t have to come in and start talking. They started explaining what they were working on. Each person around the table started talking about their part. After that, of course, they gave me the floor and asked me to talk about myself, which was their first question.
So everything went smoothly? What else did they ask you?
The nerves did get to me a little bit, and I didn’t probably do exactly what I should have, but I got through it. They didn’t ask me how to write a bug report, but the developer asked me what I would do if a developer told me it was not a bug. He phrased it a bit wordily, so I asked him to clarify—if he meant what do you do if a developer tells you it’s not a bug, or what do you do if a developer tells you it’s not reproducible? And they asked me to tell them about both cases.
They also wanted to know why I was leaving my last job and asked me about my strengths and basically why I wanted to work with them or why I chose to work as a QA. And I gave them that, and I told them I love to work with smart people. There was a funny moment because I looked at the developers when I said that. It felt awkward because QAs looked at me, and then I added that all of the people present were bright, and we laughed.
Did you feel the internship helped you to be more confident while talking about the team, project, or what you did at work?
It feels like it did. It made me feel more confident because I had actually practiced what we had learned. Even if it wasn’t more for myself, I just liked the opportunity to apply my knowledge. They were asking about the size of my team and so on, so the internship was very helpful.
Did you have any questions on API or SQL?
No, I didn’t get any questions like that, but I was prepared, and I can tell you it was even on my resume.
And then, after everyone left, they all shook my hand, and the QA lead stayed there. She brought her computer down because they wanted to show me what they were working on. So I actually got to see it, and then they took me upstairs and showed me everything on the big screens. I met the whole team, and I was kind of getting a feeling like you wouldn’t go this fast doing all of this if you weren’t going to hire me. I felt good about it. I didn’t want to assume, but it felt good.
And where are you located in the US?
I’m in Alabama, and the office is a 5–10 minute drive from my place.
How much money did they offer you?
Okay, so I’m going to tell you how much money they offered, but one thing I want to point out before I tell you the amount is this is the first time this has ever happened to me. They asked me about my salary requirements after the interview. That was different because they didn’t give me anything to go off. It was just like, “Tell me what you want us to pay you, and we’ll go from there.” So I told them between $85,000 and $92,000, which is very good for this area. Then the hiring manager came back the following week and offered me $86,000, which I took.
Wow, Bradley! That sound amazing! Thank you for sharing. And now it is Catalina`s turn. Where are you from, Catalina?
I’m in Washington, D.C.
Were you in tech before starting your Manual QA journey?
I had no technical background, so I started fresh. Before working in QA, I was doing something really different; I worked in data centers. Hence, it wasn’t tech, but it was semi-related.
How long did your journey take?
I joined in December and graduated in January. After that, I joined the internship and, after some preparation, started my job search in February. Overall it took six months.
How long was your job search?
It was pretty much three months, and seriously, it was only three months because I wasn’t as effective as you advised us to be. I was busy with personal issues and stuff, so I wasn’t really that consistent in my job search. I got some responses and, at times, no’s, but I kept pushing. In time I got better, getting maybe to the second round, but then it would die down.
The fortunate one just came like that. I had a two-round interview with the recruiter and then with a representative from, let’s say, the panel. They just said I was going to be interviewed by someone from Google because it was a Google project. When I had the interview, I thought I was supposed to have another one, a final round or maybe a meeting with a higher-up manager, but that was it. It ended, and after a week, I received an email congratulating me for being selected for the job.
So you got a job at Google. I suppose the interview was a complicated one.
No, not at all. The interview was straightforward for me.
How many interview rounds did you have?
Just two. There was one call with a recruiter, which was pretty brief, and one more. So, it was just the one.
How many interviews with other companies did you have?
I’ve had a couple of interviews with other companies, even Amazon. We got to the point where they tried to check some of my automation skills. I couldn’t get that one, but I was pretty confident there were a lot of manual opportunities, so I kept searching and pushing.
And yeah, when I got the interview with Google scheduled, I didn’t go to work that day because I was supposed to have it at 4:00 p.m. I decided to dedicate some time to the preparation, reviewing all the basic questions and the final lessons. I would say 99 percent are straightforward questions. Still, you need to know the material and answer fluently with confidence. Confidence is also a part of the game.
Is the job remote?
It’s 100 percent remote. I’m working from home now.
How long have you been working there?
I think it’s been a month or two.
What does it feel like to work for Google?
In summary, I would say that first of all the environment is fantastic—my colleagues and coworkers are very welcoming and helpful. It’s very approachable, and the job itself is straightforward enough because pretty much what I have to do is just regression testing—just going through existing features and new builds they’re about to release. Overall, I just go over the test cases.
Can you share with us how much money you got?
It’s $75,000, plus an awesome experience in my life and career in general.
Sharing success stories is an important way to inspire and support others who are looking for work. It can help to provide guidance, motivation, and a sense of community for those who may be feeling lost or alone in their job search. In this article, we'll share some of the inspiring stories and insights from our graduates, as well as offer some practical tips for job seekers.
If you're looking for guidance and support in your job search, we invite you to consider our QA training program. We provide comprehensive training and career support to help you build the skills and confidence you need to succeed in your career. Apply now and join our community of successful graduates!