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Success Story: Dan

Success Story
Apr 21, 2021

Dan is one of our most dedicated students who worked exceptionally hard during his job search! Dan actually managed to find a $90 thousand job just one month after graduating in Chicago, IL, and he started working there a week ago. But, to our biggest surprise, he has decided to leave this job already!! Let’s talk to him to find out why he has made the decision to leave his role.

What’s your background?

I’ve been living in the US for 3 years, and I’m currently located in Chicago, IL. 

Before starting my QA journey I had no tech experience, I was a cable guy who was going about the place installing antennas. 

I got bored with doing this and I decided to look for something different.

I was actually helping my friend to find a job online when I saw an ad for Careerist, and I decided to take action. 

The course price wasn’t too high for me and I knew I could afford it. I decided to take the opportunity and to see what would happen.

Tell us about your job search.

After graduating I took 2 weeks to prepare myself for the job searching process, and during this time I got more confident about doing interviews.

The most important lesson I learned during the job searching process was: when you start believing in yourself you’ll find a job!

It took me about 6 weeks to get a job.

I’ve already been in my new job for ten days, and I have to say it’s pretty easy, nothing hard, I just relax, observe, and enjoy.

Did you participate in the Careerist internship?

Yes. I can see that the assignments I’ve had at work are pretty much the same as the ones used during the internship, the processes like stand-up meetings are the same, and a lot of stuff on the agile process was asked during my interviews. So, what I learnt during the internship was very useful. 

What tips would you give to new students?

Just listen to the Careerist teachers. 

Careerist teachers are always right. I doubted many things at the beginning, but it turned out that everything that was said during the lessons was true. 

Before interviews, go over all the questions on the Careerist interview questions database and get familiar with them, so you know what to expect in the interview. And every weekend I used to re-read the interview questions, just to refresh my memory, in case a new company contacted me, this is a good idea too! 

I watched the Careerist videos 2-3 times and I listened to the interview recordings that are available, so I was well prepared. 

Just apply for jobs on all the websites out there, especially LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the most important one, I received about 80% of all of my interview offers through this site. 

What questions do they ask in the interviews?

The same questions as you will find on the Careerist interview questions database. 

You have to practice your interview questions, so you can be confident in your interviews.

How long did it take you to find a job after graduating? Would you like to share some tips? 

Five weeks is all it took for me to get a job. In that time I had around forty technical interviews.

I had lots of phone calls, and there were days when I had breakfast at 6pm because I didn’t have any spare time during the day to eat. Some days I was getting 15 video calls a day, it was pretty tiring. 

Some recruiters did tell me that I could not be a QA engineer, and that I could not work for their company. I wasn’t actually upset, I just said that ‘next time I’d have better luck’.

I contacted the Careerist team a few times for advice and they helped me a lot. (I just want to thank you Max for all the support.)

My advice:

I suppose if you apply for 50-100 jobs per day, you’ll find a job in 2-3 weeks. 

I also didn’t keep my cable experience on my LinkedIn profile. I only mentioned my relevant tech experience. 

When you use LinkedIn there are two ways that you can apply for a job. The first way is to go to the Jobs page and apply for a job manually. To be honest, I applied for all the jobs I saw because I didn’t want to waste any time. I literally just saw any relevant QA title and I applied for the job, I didn’t even read the description. I didn’t care about the job requirements. I just applied. 

The second approach is one that Max told us about. And this approach is when you start adding relevant people to your LinkedIn network. At the moment I have around 2,000 recruiters in my network and they all have my resume. Even now they send me information on new job openings.

Did you attend the graduate meetings on Thursdays?

Yes I did and they helped me a lot. 

In my most productive meetings I would constantly ask questions. I would write down all the confusing questions I had beforehand and I’d make sure I’d get an answer to them in the session. Max was very good at pointing out which of my many questions were very important.

Can you tell us about one of your interviews?

During one interview I had there were several stages to it: the first stage was a phone call with someone from the HR department, the second phone call was with the manager, product manager, QA manager, and HR as well, and the last call (40 min or so in length) was filled full of simple and easy questions. Throughout all the calls, I tried to answer as confidently as I could, even when I wasn’t sure if what I was saying was what they wanted to hear. 

I got sent an email after this particular interview, it was just a few days later, and they offered me the job. 

I accepted, and I was going to get paid $45 per hour.

How was your first day at your job?

I was scared, and I didn’t know what to expect. 

On my very first day, I was acting like an experienced QA, I was taking notes and not asking too many questions. I asked about 1-2 questions on super difficult stuff.

I am now getting used to and learning about the processes at my job. If I don’t understand something there are people around who will clarify things for me. 

Tell us about a typical day at work

My usual day is about 8 hours long. And I usually take a few phone calls, talk to my colleagues, and then I test the functionality of a web app on a desktop or a mobile phone. Sometimes I test HTML emails. 

No one micromanages me and nobody stands next to me and watches everything I do. They trust me. They explain the task a few times and then I’m just left to try to figure out the work on my own.

I also work with two other Careerist graduates, and it is so much fun to work with someone who has the same background.

My current team is made up of 4 QAs and 12 developers. We are a pharmaceutical advertising company, and we have different departments and teams.

Why are you leaving your current company?

Honestly, I’ve got a better offer from another company. 

Another company offered me a longer contract, and this was incredibly appealing. Aside from the longer contract, the location is great as it’s right in the heart of Chicago, just next to the Trump Tower.

How do you feel about changing your job frequently?

Honestly, it depends on the conditions you are offered. For example, six months is a nice amount of time to spend with one company, but if you get a better offer you don’t have to miss out on this opportunity. Just be mindful of how this may look when you go to future interviews, plan an answer in advance.

If you are going to break any contracts to go to a better job, then it’s good practice to let the manager know three weeks before your leave, and try to follow any mandatory procedures. Ideally, it should only take you up to three to four weeks to finish in a job. However, you can leave in a week or two if you are eager to start your new job.

I feel that leaving a company so soon after starting for the sake of getting a better job is okay in the US, and it’s a common practice for tech specialists as well, especially in QA.

In your opinion, why did you fail some interviews?

1. I went into too much detail in my answers. My advice: don’t go into detail until you’re asked to. For example, if they ask you “Did you use ADB technology?” the answer should be, “Yes/no, I did/didn’t”, and you should only expand on this if they ask you to provide more detail.

2. Don’t talk too much or for too long. That was my main fault. Short answers are key to success.

3. Not being confident enough.

 What are your plans now?

I aim to stay in the new role for a couple of years. I would like to work in a few companies, I’d like to learn all the different tools and processes, and I’d love to gain more experience.

Final thoughts...

Finally, I just want to say that anyone can succeed in the QA industry. Take me for example, I’m 22 years old, I only came to the US 3 years ago, and I know very basic English. When I first started out I had no tech experience, and I’d get nervous during interviews, but I still managed to land myself an amazing job. 

Don’t think that QA is beyond you because it isn’t! Believe in yourself and think positively. And don’t fall in love with a company until they offer you your dream job.

I always wanted to be on the other side of the Careerist meetings, I wanted to be the one to hold the microphone and talk to students… And I’m proud to be here today.

Everyday we change the lives of our students; we help them to learn something that they think is impossible to learn, we give our students tips on how to conquer interviews, and more importantly, everyday we hear about a student who hits the jackpot and lands themselves an amazing job in an awesome company.

Good luck to all present and past students!

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