Lina is an experienced manual QA tester, who sadly lost her job because of COVID-19. Due to staff reductions in her team, she lost her occupation and all the benefits that went along with it. But luckily she has since found other employment.
Lina is here to tell you what it’s like to search for a job before and during COVID-19.
When did you start your QA career?
I graduated a year ago, and after applying for about fifteen jobs a day I managed to find a job pretty quickly. I got my first job about two to three months after finishing my course.
I worked onsite for a big company in the Bay Area. I was there for about ten months.
To my biggest surprise, I was working alongside three other Careerist graduates. One of them was in my team and the other two were in another team. We still keep in touch and support each other.
What was your first job offer like? Were there any benefits?
The offer I received was a salary around $70,000 a year. Basically, I would make $35 per hour, and I’d work for eight hours everyday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
I rarely had overtime. But they did provide me with a Macbook and free food. I also had around five Android devices to do mobile testing on.
What was your first job like?
It was simple and straightforward.
A few people taught me for the first three weeks, and I was okay with that. Later on, I was writing bug reports and then moved to test case creation on my own.
My QA lead assigned tasks to every individual, so I always knew what needed to be tested. I worked with various beta versions of products.
How did the pandemic influence your job?
Many people were laid off in my company, and I was one of them.
The Careerist graduates I used to work with also lost their jobs.
I started actively applying for around 30-40 jobs a day after I lost my job. I used sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. The market was different after COVID-19, so I had to apply more frequently and I had to try harder to get a job.
I had about eight or nine interviews in total and I got three offers. It took me two months to find a job during COVID, which I think is pretty fast considering the circumstances.
What was your second offer like and did you get any benefits?
I was asking for $45-$50 per hour, and I wanted a $90,000 a year job. But the second time, I was offered a full-time position for a salary of $100,000 a year. I felt great about this.
What happened to your Careerist colleagues?
One guy got a $70,000 a year offer. The girl, who does mostly manual and partly automation, got a $120,000 a year job offer. And the other girl got a $110,000 a year job, for a remote position in LA.
All of us are still working as manual testers.
Can you tell us something about the interview processes you had?
There’s nothing to be afraid of.
The questions are the same, but sometimes they are asked in a different way. Recruiters always ask about your previous job and company experiences. I remember questions about bug life cycles and how to write bug reports. So, I recommend that you learn about these questions and prepare some answers.
Questions do depend on the company as well. So, some things could be specific to them. Like you should learn two or three sentences about the company you are applying for, just in case they ask you “Why do you want to work for us?”
How long were your interviews on average?
The first time around, my onsite interview lasted about 30 minutes and it was done. Then they invited me for lunch.
The interviews for my second job were online and on Zoom. I had two rather short interviews, but the final one lasted for about four hours. It was time consuming but not too difficult to handle.
What was the most technical interview you went to?
I was once asked to give an example of a test case, or bug report, from my previous place of work. I found it helpful to find a bug in my old company's product and to show it to the recruitment team. It helped me a lot, but such things don’t work for all interviews.
I found the technical interviews quite simple.
For my first job, they asked me to test an application and to create test cases for it. For the second job, I had three rounds of interviews. The first two were simple, but the third one was more complicated, because it was half-technical.
I was shown some pictures and asked to create test cases based on this information. I used negative scenarios, and I tried to think about things that were not completely obvious.
Do you have any advice for future students and graduates?
Be confident, stay positive and follow the instructions you get from your mentors. That’s the true key to success in this situation.
Thanks for sharing your story with us! We wish you all the very best with your new career, and we hope that you get many more good offers in the future. We’d love to hear about how you get on!