Anton is a Careerist graduate who has kindly shared his story with us. Check out his story below and be inspired to start your very own IT career today.
Did you have much IT experience before you completed Careerist's QA course?
Before I started my course with Careerist I had very limited IT knowledge. Basically if I had to fix a minor IT issue I could, but I had no major in depth knowledge of the IT field, and I did not have a formal IT education behind me either. My previous job wasn’t really connected with IT, so there wasn’t a reason for me to go and learn more about IT, other than the basics, of course.
What happened after you finished your course with Careerist?
As soon as I finished my course I started to actively search and apply for jobs in the IT field. I also built up my LinkedIn profile.
After this, I started getting interview offers, which were typically one-to-one interviews. I was very enthusiastic about my interviews, and I initially had a lot of calls to deal with, which was great. I went through around 20 online interviews and had 4 successful interviews around the Columbus, OH, area.
My goal was to find a job in this state, as I wasn’t able to move. I knew a remote job was for me, and I still do not regret my decision to work remotely.
What was the job search itself like?
The job search wasn’t too complicated, it was more about learning time management and patience really. Some interviews took a little longer than others, and sometimes there was some waiting around. But I learnt two valuable skills from my interviews: time management and patience.
How did COVID impact your job search/interview process?
The COVID situation did make things a little more difficult. For example, I had one video interview and all the other interviews were phone calls. So, it was a little different to what it would’ve been like pre-COVID, but I learnt to adapt.
I also didn’t get to visit all of the offices I had interviews at, which again was different but this wasn’t a major issue.
But on the flip side, the pandemic has made working remotely even more appealing to people and business, and the job market is showing that there are more remote positions available for individuals, compared to previous years. So, there were lots of opportunities out there for me.
At one stage during the COVID pandemic my motivation to look for a job decreased, and it was quite difficult for me to keep up with interviews after so many failed attempts. But, I guess I always knew my goal, and I knew I had to continue my job search so that I could reach my goal in the end.
The online meet-ups I attended really helped me out a lot when I felt down. I also decided to take a small vacation and I returned to job searching after that brief pause. This helped me to regain my focus.
How long did you spend searching for a job?
In total I spent three months searching for a job. Two months before I took a vacation and one month after the vacation.
How did you keep yourself motivated throughout your job search?
In the beginning I was super excited, but after the vacation I came back with more energy and more determination than ever to find a job!
During my job search I learnt that experience is empowering. For example, the more interviews I did the more knowledge and understanding I gained from them. I began to see exactly what recruiters were looking for, so I was able to talk, complete questionnaires and video chats, and ask and clarify details with confidence. My interview techniques only got better with practice.
A lot of the stuff that comes up in interviews is rather repetitive, so you’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s going on, and you should know what to expect before you actually go. Technical questions are a must and you have to be proficient in this part.
What does a typical QA interview look like?
A lot of my interviews were pretty similar. The interview itself was typically 50% technical element and 50% questions, and they lasted around 45 minutes.
They all traditionally started with, “Tell me your story” or “Tell me about yourself”. This helps to ease you into the conversation.
Next, they ask you about your QA experience, internships, and if you have any previous job experience. If you choose to provide a sample of your work you need to be ready to answer extra questions about what you have shown them. For example, “What kind of test did you do on this project?”, “How many test cases were there?” and “What tools did you use?”
Were there any difficult questions in your interviews?
A tricky question that did come up was about ‘any difficulties I had experienced in a previous job’, and ‘how I overcame them’.
One of the difficulties I mentioned was that I had to work across many different time zones in a previous job (I had to communicate with a number of sources in India and eastern Europe on a daily basis). This was important to the recruiter because when working in QA you’re traditionally working in a team, so you all need to communicate together and this could be across time-zones too.
The next part of the question, “How did you handle this difficult situation?” was to demonstrate to the recruiter that I was able to overcome the said issue, but more so how I managed the issue overtime too.
What advice would you give to someone who is going through the job search/interview process?
Try to smile as much as you can in an interview, this is polite and friendly. But there is no need to keep a silly smile on your face throughout the whole interview.
Create a quiet and safe environment for the interview, even more so if you’re doing it from home. For example, don’t let the kids run in and interrupt you, this will only make the recruiter question your ability to work remotely.
An interview is not a test, but you must answer your questions in a confident manner.
Stay focused on the interview and the question being asked, and don’t go overboard. Give factual and accurate information, and try not to rush into details until you are asked for them. If you feel like your interviewer needs extra information add some further details.
Always look through the job description and think about all of the possible scenarios and questions you may be asked, and consider some questions that you may want to ask too.
A final note...
I’m glad that the recruitment process is behind me, but I’m proud to say that all my hard work and effort did pay off. I managed to find a $70k job that pays $35 per hour in Columbus, OH, in just a few short months. The location, salary, and job conditions are just what I was looking for. Plus, I know that should I wish to grow my IT career in the future I can do so with confidence.