Dina is one of our successful graduates and she has kindly shared her story with us. Dina had many ups and downs on the way to finding her dream job, but she now has an epic IT career… Read her story and be inspired now.
What made you sign up for Careerist's QA course?
I had been working for over ten years as an accountant, and one day I realized that I was tired of the role and that I wanted some change in my life. I’d lived in New York for 6 years and I desperately tried to make some changes… but the biggest change was when I heard about and contacted Careerist...
I didn’t have any technical background, I didn’t even know what QA was, or who QA engineers were when I first contacted Careerist! I just knew I needed to take a bit of a risk and sign up for the course, and to push myself out of my comfort zone.
I took Careerist's ‘three-days free’ option to start off with. The trial period allowed me to see what the course was about and to tell me about QA. It turned out that the course was just what I was looking for. I liked the way everything was explained, and it was all very easy and nicely set out. The teachers, Lana and Natalia, were great too.
So, I instantly made the decision at the end of day three to take the 1 month long Manual QA Testing course.
What happened after graduating from the course?
I was mainly preparing myself for a few days after graduating, getting my paperwork, resume, and interviews tips in order. But it wasn’t long until I got my first job offer. In fact, I received my first offer just a week after graduating.
It was a nice job, $50 per hour and $90k a year. The interview wasn’t too complicated at all. I had one interview with them and they promised me a second interview, but then they called me and said I didn’t even need a second interview and the job was offered to me.
The interview itself lasted around one hour, and the questions were the same as the ones we had practised with on the course. So I was well prepared.
Unfortunately, the job was too far from my home, around a two hour drive away, and I wasn’t ready to spend four hours a day in traffic jams. So I didn’t accept this first job.
Another two months passed before I had another offer.
These two months proved to be rather difficult for me, and I lost a lot of my confidence. I began to think the first job offer was just luck, and I guess I just stopped believing in myself.. So, I called Max and said that me not knowing Java, Python, and automation was stopping people from hiring me. This was obviously a hard time for me, I just had to regain my focus and to see my potential.
Eventually, I got offered, and I accepted, a $75k job, where I worked 4 days a week for 7 hours a day. It was a nice location in front of Central Park. However, just two weeks after starting my new job I left this job to go to a new job. This new job offered me a salary of $90k a year at $45 per hour… it was for one of the biggest companies in the world.
Who offered you a job and what were the salary rates like?
A company in San Francisco offered me a very competitive salary, $45 per hour. But I declined it because it was too far from home.
Another one in Austin, Texas, also offered me a healthy salary, $40 per hour. As well as access to employee benefits like free food, and access to the pools and the gyms.
One more office in Boston (in the field of mobile testing), interviewed me and offered me a salary of $90k a year, including unlimited holidays.
In total I had more than five job offers, and I received them all just a few months after graduating.
You’ve had loads of great job offers, what’s your secret?
I remember Max telling me that I would look back at my interview days and laugh at myself, he was right.
Of course, at the time the interviews were hard work, and I had to put a lot of effort in. But, I can now look back and laugh, because without all of that I wouldn't be where I am today.
I guess, to be successful at interviews you have to combine having confidence in yourself with having a good resume, and knowing how to follow instructions. Put these things together and you have a recipe for success.
It’s mostly about confidence. You have to have confidence in yourself, or the person interviewing you will start to see holes and weaknesses in your interview.
For example, I was working in Manhattan when I had to do one of my interviews, I couldn't get home before the interview started, and I couldn't find a quiet place in the area. The park seemed to be too noisy for me, so I was sitting in a cafeteria doing my interview. I was accepted for this job! Why? I’d planned well in advance, so I knew what to expect, I just had confidence in myself. The location, and who was there was not all that important, it all came down to me and my abilities on the day. Confidence will come when you prepare in advance!
What were the most frequently asked questions in your interviews?
I remember many questions about writing test cases, how many cases I had executed, and how I went about executing test cases. I was also asked about the bug life cycle and bug reports.
Interviewers would often discuss previous work experience, and they would clarify some details about any projects I’d worked on. As well as, showing an interest in my location and my experience with Agile.
Another frequently asked question was, “Tell me about yourself”. It was a question they all asked, and I got used to answering it very quickly. I found the guidance from my career coach very helpful here. I practiced and rehearsed this question at home, so when I was asked it in an interview I could recite my story with ease and confidence. I didn’t stumble over the words in my story, I owned my story!
Do you have any advice for future students and graduates?
Be confident and listen to Max.
To be honest, when I was finding the job search hard Max helped me to figure out what I was doing wrong. He sat and went through my interview techniques with me, and he spotted small issues and weak points in my technique that I’d not even thought of. He also pointed out the moments where I seemed to lack confidence, so I knew where to really improve.
Listen to all the classes too. Seriously. I kept watching and re-watching my classes back, to make sure I didn’t miss anything… I often had a feeling that I’d missed something. I didn’t though because the course teaches you exactly what you need to know.
Learn about the interview questions, and try to get an answer sorted out for all the questions. Then constantly practice giving your answers to the questions out loud.
Remember, interviews are fun and there’s nothing to be afraid of, just head for your goal.