The last Testing in the pub podcast was about leaving testing and why do testers move on or stay in the profession. I thought it was a nice exercise to think about why I left testing once and why I am back and here to stay.
Spoiler: I am not thinking about changing away from testing in the immediate future. I still feel like I have only just discovered testing as a career and profession that I enjoy and grow in.
But I did reflect a little bit on the subject and why do I stay in testing, but maybe change job relatively often and how did it come to this? Well let’s start at the beginning because I have left testing as a whole before.
Straight out of uni I knew one thing and one thing only, I wanted to stay in the Brighton and Hove area. This meant getting a job.
Being bilingual and having just studied German at university I looked into jobs which would utilise my language skills and found a localisation tester job for a 3rd party games testing company.
I passed their onboarding process and started to work there. It was semi-freelance in that you had to grab as many hours as you could to survive. But I loved the experience and often found issues that weren’t just language related.
I liked the fast paced environment of working on different platforms and types of games. There were a couple of issues though, the work was fun and didn’t seem like “work”, it was slightly unstable in that you had to fight for the hours on a project and I did not see a career path.
In the company there were leads who were mostly project managers for a certain language or game but there was no progression to stay in testing. This made the job seem like a dead end to me and I didn’t look into it any further when a different language based (sales) job appeared locally.
Eventually (because I hated sales) I found games testing again. This time as a full time tester. It still just seemed like a fun job and not a career but then something happened.
- I was working with someone (now an amazing friend of mine) who had been a professional software tester prior to this job and pointed me in the direction of great articles and testing practices. And she just made me think, a lot! In a good way!
- I had an amazing QA manager who made you aspire to be like her. She was awesome, inspiring and supportive even though she was based in Canada while we were in the UK. (Still sad we never worked closer together).
- I became curious and started to google more about software testing and not just games and localisation testing.
- I won a ticket to go to a software testing conference.
This all happened within 18 months and shaped my mind for the future.
After the conference where I tried to speak to as many people as possible I realised that testing was not just what we did. There are many forms, more engaging environments and also more challenging environments and I wanted to see more.
The next steps I took were to activate my twitter account and to start posting in the Software Testing Club forum.
Leaving – with a purpose:
Why did I leave that testing job? There was no room for progression. Learning was stifled, management wasn’t great locally and it seemed like every day was full of negativity. Don’t get me wrong I loved my role (mostly) especially when it involved doing more stuff with the teams abroad (as challenging as cross time zone working can be).
Being curious about actually testing software and not doing what seemed like a glorified editor job, I applied to as many positions as Brighton and Hove had to offer and eventually got lucky.
I would like to think that my enthusiasm and involvement in the community helped a great deal in securing the job. And I would also like to think that maybe I helped to start a small testing revolution that Emma is continuing. 🙂
Unfortunately due to personal reasons and when an opportunity occurred that would solve some of my personal issues, I left that job. If I could have stayed I would have but the other opportunity was great and my personal issues meant that long term I couldn’t afford the commute to the previous job.
So sometimes we leave testing jobs for other testing jobs due to personal reasons which is also fine I think. Maybe we can see this as location being a factor and maybe also renumeration.
This next job was a bit bigger and initially maybe more than I could handle but I think I did it to the best of my ability.
I hired and managed a small team of testers within a year of starting there. This pushed me a lot and I learned a lot and engaged with the community in a totally different way. I guess initially I spoke mainly to peers who were also testers that report to someone but not managing anyone and then suddenly I was trying to find good testers and also provide a good environment for them (shame the business wasn’t quite up to that though).
Leaving again again!?
The community can be such a great place to network. Attend meet ups and just strike up conversations.
This is how I came to leave again and end up where I am now. The challenges are completely different and I am learning a lot which was part of the appeal to move on to a new role. Also in the podcasts the guys mention that sometimes you move on to work with people you admire and respect and this was the case this time round as well.:)
So why did I leave testing jobs:
- No career progression
- No learning or development opportunities
- Location and renumeration (in combination with new challenges)
- New environments and testing challenges to explore
- Gaining experience
- No room for creativity
- Slow development progress
- Personal reasons
- Opportunity to try something new like managing and hiring
- Opportunity to work with great people from the community
Why haven’t I left testing?
- It is always challenging
- Problem solving
- There are inspiring individuals in the community
- The community
- Love testing and contemplating and thinking about it
- Love for technology
- Love for design and how it affects users
- Provides the opportunity to be a certain user (almost like acting which I wanted to do but was always too scared to)
Have you thought about your journey and why you are still in testing or not?