Anastasia is one of Careerist’s youngest graduates! At just 21 she set herself the goal of completing one of our courses, and finding a new job in a brand new industry. She’s going to share her story with you today, so be prepared to be inspired!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, please...
I’m 21 and I’m from Tampa, Florida.
I didn’t have any tech background before doing the course. I actually have an associates degree but it’s in general arts, so it has nothing to do with technology. I also used to work as a warehouse associate, I was the person who’d carry a fridge or a TV to your car.
So, you’re one of our youngest graduates, can you tell us when you graduated?
I started the course on March 17, and graduated in mid-April of the same year. I joined an internship that lasted 2 weeks after that.
How did you find out about the course?
Actually, my brother told me to look for a job. He advised me to check out jobs that were more skill-based because I was working at Best Buy at the time.
I started looking around, and the first random thing that popped up was Careerist. I read about the courses on offer and I said, ‘Okay it must be destiny’. I joined a course and that was that.
Did you apply for jobs yourself or did you use our JAS service?
I applied for over 300 positions in just one month all by myself.
It took me three weeks to find a job and they hired me two weeks later.
Every single day I just kept looking for jobs, just scrolling and searching for new positions I could apply for. It was hard work.
Did you start getting callbacks from the very beginning? Some people start getting their first calls within 4 or 5 weeks, you seemed to start getting them earlier...
Yeah, my first call was three days after I’d published my LinkedIn profile. From then on I started getting calls every week.
During the whole job search I managed to secure six interviews and two of them were multi-level interviews, which turned out to be successful. So, in the end I could choose between the two options. I picked the one I liked best.
In total, I had six different interviews with six different companies.
How many interview rounds did your multi-level interviews have?
I had five rounds with the Tempa company, and three rounds with another company.
It’s not common to go through five interview rounds! Did you get a good offer at the end of it all?
So, one company offered me a salary of $80,000 a year, and the other offered me a salary of $70,000 a year. I’ve actually taken the $70,000 offer because I didn’t like the people at the other company.
The job is in Tampa and I have an option to work remotely or to work onsite. At the moment everybody is working from home.
Do you get other benefits with your job?
They have snacks, coffee and water at the office. It’s remote and full-time.
They also have health insurance and we get company stock. We get paid leave and there’s plenty of holiday time to take. Actually, there are 16 holidays, or something like that, along with 2 weeks of PTO . There are a lot of benefits but I just can’t remember all of them because frankly speaking, I didn’t pay much attention.
Sounds like a dream job...
Yes, it’s great and the office looks beautiful. The team is amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better job
What kind of testing do you do? Web, mobile testing or both?
Actually, it is web, mobile and virtual reality headset testing. The company I’m at actually makes headsets for students studying medicine. Basically the headsets get sent out, and the students use them to practice their skills. That way they can learn everything from home and it’s all done by popping on a headset.
So, I test the headsets, the mobile app and the website. They’re moving from a website to mobile testing at the moment though.
How were your first few weeks at work? Were they quite stressful for you?
I met the team at the office. Everybody was very welcoming and really nice, nobody gave me any problems.
I got my laptop and two virtual reality headsets too. And I must say, it’s just a great overall environment. It’s a fine job to do.
As the weeks go by I find that I’m listening more and asking less questions. And when I do ask questions I try not to rush through my queries. I find it helps to ask questions after you’ve done some investigation on Google or Youtube first.
Did they ask you about API testing in your interviews?
No, but I mentioned it because they asked if I had experience with automation. I said I only have experience in testing endpoints, validating the response and deciding if everything is okay.
This reply worked.
How did you prepare for interviews?
I didn’t watch any lessons again, I just noted down some skills I need to brush up on.
My weak points were ADB and Xcode. So, I studied the documents we were given, and I created a Google doc that listed down all the questions linked to these topics on it, but I didn’t record my answers on this document. I then practised giving my answers out loud and I memorized everything.
This helped me a lot during interviews because this was my biggest problem.
Did the interviews go as you’d expected?
The questions were the same as the ones in the question document you gave us, but they were often reworded.
So, they would ask the same questions but phrase them slightly differently. So it’s important to understand the question first and foremost before you give an answer.
But other than that I had a lot of companies asking about how I would communicate with the developers at work. And that one was hard for me to answer because I mean, I don’t know…
These questions usually went something like ‘How would you communicate with our automation engineers?’ or ‘Tell me about the last time this happened’.
Looking back I suppose I could’ve told them that in my job I’d be filing bug reports, therefore, I’d be communicating daily with them. After fixing a bug you usually have to verify the fixes on a new version of a product, and if something doesn’t work you have to discuss this with the developers and the product management team. QA engineers are there to assist teams and to help find issues that may have been created and missed by the developers.
So, overall would you say your interviews were more technical or general in style?
Well, the second interview for my current role, after I’d spoken to the recruiter, was more technical I’d say. The interviewer asked me about some technical issues. They shared their screen with me and they were doing some coding. I had very little experience in watching people code, but my basic experience was enough to answer the questions they asked.
What was the hardest question you had during your interviews?
For me, any question that related to personal experience was difficult. On the other hand, I understood the majority of the technical questions, so I was able to answer them. If you really study the questions document you can use your common sense to answer the questions.
Which questions should graduates pay more attention to?
They definitely asked me the toaster question, and also about how to list devices in ADB. They also asked me whether I knew how to debug an issue that wasn’t on the list but was in a document.
They obviously ask questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’ or something like that.
Other questions were related to:
- Different types of testing
- Unit integration
- How to write a bug
- How to write test cases
- Benefits of manual vs automation
- If there’s a low-priority bug and no one wants to fix it, what would you do?
But my memory is kinda blurred, so I'm just trying to remember as much as I can…
Do you like your new job?
The team is very diverse. I work alongside a lot of women, which is not common in the industry. I work from 9 to 5, and I have a fixed schedule. We do lots of regression testing as a team, and this is where attention to detail really matters.
In the job description for your current job, did they mention Java or automation?
I don’t think so, I only read about what qualifications you needed.
What’s your advice to everyone?
Be confident, because if you can sell yourself the interviewers won’t have to ask you too many deep questions.
Some companies see talent over experience, so you should definitely try to sell yourself and your skills as best as you can.
Sometimes a Bachelor's degree is required, but I didn’t have it and I still succeeded.
Also, don’t go and work for a company you don’t like, make sure you feel comfortable with your future team.
And finally, negotiate your salary. The target salary for me was $60,000 but I actually negotiated it to $70,000.
It’s great to hear that you’ve found yourself an amazing job in Florida! Your story is awesome and I’m sure it will inspire many individuals! We’re so happy for you!