Recently we held a meeting with some of our graduates. Let’s talk to one of them in turn to find out what a working day is like for him, and what challenges he faced along the way!
Lamar, can you tell us a bit about yourself...
I don’t have a Computer Science degree, but I do have a Health Science degree. I got my bachelor’s in 2017 and right after graduating I started working as a Clinical Administrator. Then the pandemic hit. I suddenly felt like my job wasn’t really for me. There were a lot of working hours. I just didn’t want to do it.
And then I stumbled across the course and I liked the look of it.
When did you join Careerist?
I started on April 11, 2021. I did my first internship from 11-14 May. I then did my second internship between the 17-21 of May. When I finished my internship I had a meeting with my mentor, and this is when we did some interview prep.
How did you prepare for your interviews? Can you share some things that worked well for you?
I went through the interview script with my mentor, and together we made sure I sounded as confident as I could when answering questions.
After that, a friend started helping me. He would ask me questions and then critique my answers. I dedicated hours and hours to this!
Then I started studying all the questions on my own. I had a document where I typed out all my answers in blue, so I could relearn all the questions and answers again. I literally re-wrote everything so that I could remember it properly. I then kept practising giving my answers, over and over again.
I’d constantly compare my spoken answers to the text I’d written down, I’d often spot points I’d missed out. This system worked for me.
Did you apply for jobs yourself?
After the course, I started applying for jobs on my own, but I also used the Job Application Service. I don’t know who applied for the job I got, but it was definitely a winning application.
Can you tell us more about the interview process you went through...
So, they called me up to go for an interview on July 21. It was two months after I graduated. It was an in-person interview, so I was panicking a lot and I called my mentor. She offered to go through my material once again - she asked me questions and told me where I could improve.
The next day I went to the interview and I was very nervous, because I didn’t know for sure what they were going to ask me or what to expect. There was a QA manager, a manual QA person and three developers present at the interview.
From the very beginning, I really liked their attitude. I guess that’s something you’ll pick up on when you go to an interview.
I didn’t have to start talking immediately, and instead they started telling me what they were doing and they explained more about their project. Each person literally started talking about the project from their own perspective.
When it was my turn, they asked me to tell them about myself, my previous projects and my experience with functionality testing. One of the developers asked me what my current work team was like as well.
They didn’t ask me how to do a bug report. There were no questions on API or SQL. There were a few questions about regression testing and I got a tad stuck.
I guess another tricky question was when a developer phrased a particular question in a way that was different to how I'd practiced hearing it. They basically wanted to know ‘What would you do if a developer says it’s not a bug?’ But just to make sure I was answering the right question, I clarified with them. This was accepted and not frowned upon, and so I moved on to answering the question.
Did they ask you why you wanted to work in QA?
Yes! I was completely bewildered by this. They wanted to know why I chose the QA field. I said I enjoy working with smart people. It was quite a weird situation because I was looking at the developers at that moment in time, and then I very quickly added ‘I mean, all the people present here are clever’. We all laughed at this joke.
Did you attend any other interviews with this organization?
That was the only interview I had with this company. They shook my hand, invited me upstairs to meet the rest of the team, and showed me some other useful information on a big screen. It was good.
Were the internships useful for you?
They definitely helped me to feel more confident, because I actually got to practise what I’d learnt, and I figured out how to apply this knowledge to projects.
Can you tell us a little about your job...
The office is in Alabama and it’s like 5-10 minutes from my place. They asked me to send them my salary requirements and that was a bit tricky. I didn’t have a starting off point, so I told them I wanted a yearly salary of $85,000 to $92,000. The next day a hiring manager called me and offered me a salary of $86,000 a year.
I started on August 16, a week after I’d signed my offer. I’d already been through security clearance by this date, but I knew everything would be ok.
Did you go to any other interviews?
I went to another interview before I got my current offer. But I got a lot of NOs.
In two months, I had two interviews and around six calls with recruiters. I will continue my job search in time.
You’ve just proven that hard work and revision pays off! Don’t hesitate to contact your mentor if you need further help. This job will definitely bring you a better work-life balance and we’re so proud of your success.