That is actually a funny story. When I came for my first interview I thought I would become a developer, since I’ve had some programming experience, so it was a simple decision. But my interviewers were so passionate about trying to sell me a QA position that I changed my mind. No regrets!
First – to be observant. Quality Assurance is not only testing, not only methods and mechanics, but a state of mind.
Second – to always try to see the full picture. Try to get most of the data, always ask yourself “Do I know enough to make a decision?”
Third – to get your documentation straight. There should not always be hundreds of test cases or detailed and meticulously crafted Test Plans or requirements sections, sometimes just a note is enough. It helps. A lot!
Fourth – to work with people. This is a tricky one. In some circumstances, QA Engineer could be tempted to fill a shell “I’m just a tester, there is nothing I could do. I don’t make decisions here.” This approach seems safe, comfortable and, in reality, nothing but wrong. QA is about people. From the team members to end users, they are real people with real needs and traits. Good communication, established person-to-person processes, and a whole people-oriented approach solved a lot of problems that could stall a project.
Fifth – don’t panic! Things could (and almost always will) go bad, it’s a part of the job description. But always remember – you are not alone. Raise your hand, ask for help.
Some of them I’ve mentioned above: focusing on finding bugs, instead of figuring out why they appear in the first place. Hiding in an “I’m just a tester” shell is a cardinal sin.
I always try to learn something from my current project. Going a bit deeper than required is a good way to get new knowledge. Also, communication with other QA’s helps a lot. Different projects often require different approaches and solutions, and sharing this knowledge is crucial.
Best skill in 2021? Antibodies production! Aside from that – test automation skills are more and more required. There are still plenty of areas where manual testing is required and could not be replaced so easily (or even at all), but the effort brought by good automation is something no one can deny. If you’re not inclined to code and scripts – processes creation and management (e.g. SCRUM master position or something similar) is a good way to apply your managerial skills.
Mostly the books of Cem Kaner. I know, they are kinda old-school now, but when I was doing my first steps they were my guide to the profession.
Focus on people, on the community we are creating inside the company. I can tell from my experience – when you have a good team, there is nothing that is impossible.
New challenges every day. Different problems and clever solutions. Great teamspirit. And total absence of boredom and routine.
Since I have a couple of projects to handle, my everyday morning is all about coffee and team calls. There we plan our work, talk about potential blockers, and so on. After that I split my time between actual testing and documentation updates until, usually in the afternoon, I have a new set of calls with teams overseas to synchronize our efforts. Since I’m interested in a manager job, I also spend some time on processes improvement and communication within our QA team.
I read a lot. Mostly fiction, but occasionally it’s popular science content or something historical. Also I’m into movies, video games, or board games from time to time. At the moment I’m thinking about adopting a dog, and if it’ll happen, it will become my ultimate hobbie for several years.