How to get your first software testing job

Want to kick start a career in software testing? A wise decision.

Getting your first software testing job can seem like a daunting task to take on. Which it can be, but that ultimately depends on you and your willingness to learn.

New terminology, new techniques, and possibly, even new ways of thinking.

But don’t let that put you off. In fact, it’s extremely rewarding. You get to work with the latest advancements in software technology. Are encouraged to think creatively about your challenges. And best of all, have the opportunity of working with some really amazing people.

But with no testing experience. What is the best way to get started?

Are you interested in testing?

Before you take on the task of preparing yourself for a future in software testing. Firstly, ask yourself. Are you dedicated to learning about testing?

Many people come to software testing to use it as a stepping stone prior to a software development role. But in my opinion. That isn’t the best path to take.

Taking a role which you know you’ll eventually want to move out of means that someone else with a genuine passion for QA and testing will lose out.

Kayleigh Oliver – Please Stop using QA as a Stepping Stone

If you want to be a developer eventually. I’d highly recommend spending your time trying to pursue that path.

Testers should be passionate about testing. Motivated to learn about how it contributes to the software development process. Testing is not an unskilled position, and although in some places it’s seen as ‘a foot in the door’ of a company. This way of thinking plays down the role of software testers.

In my experience. Companies are lacking good, talented software testers. If you want to land your first software testing job. In brief, software testing needs to be interesting to you.

Understand first why software testing is a thing

Firstly, you need to begin with understanding the purpose of software testing. What are the ideas that drive the thought processes of testers? What are we trying to achieve? And what are industry trends?

A good place to start is with the hundreds of conference talks on YouTube. Read blogs on software testing. Read books on the subject. Listen to podcasts and consume everything you can to broaden your understanding.

Throw yourself into the testing world and build a foundation with the bricks of knowledge that you gain along the way.

Get familiar with the fundamentals of software testing

Now that you understand the core of why we test software. You should switch your focus to now being familiar with the building blocks of software testing (black-box testing, white-box testing, regression testing, to name a few).

You will need to understand these fully, as these will be the basic knowledge that you will reference throughout your career.

Reflect on your background and augment your skills

One of the great things about software testing is that it combines so many skills. From people management to experimentation, to a technical interest and ability. If you have a background in a particular skill. It can likely be used in the context of software testing.

Let’s say that you have a scientific background. I bet you’re superb at running experiments, analysing results and forming conclusions.

If you have an interest in art or music. I would take a hunch and say you’re highly creative. Able to think innovatively and tackle problems with new solutions.

Yes, there are always new ideas and methodologies to read and learn about. But what most companies are looking for in my experience are people who are creative, imaginative. And have unique skills that they can apply to the software testing process.

Get some practice

If your friends are software developers. Why not ask them to build you simple software to test?

This will allow you to exercise everything you are learning. With the plus of it being in a real-world environment. Another option is to find some open-source software on GitHub and practise testing with that.

Just make sure you are creating a log of everything you do. Whether it’s on your own blog. Or using GitHub itself. This will enable you to have a public record of your testing activities.

Start applying for junior roles

Now is the time to take stock of everything you have learned until this point. Put it all down in a nicely formatted C.V (ensuring to include links to your GitHub/Blog) and start sending it to recruiters.

It may be tough initially. You might be put off by hardly any response. But don’t be disheartened. Keep trying.

All the while, keep practising, keep blogging and keep learning. When you do get asked to attend an interview. You want to make sure fully prepared for success.

What now?

Hopefully, by this point, you have your first job. Congratulations!

But this is where the real work begins and where you need to push yourself to become the best software tester that you can be.

Nobody else is in control of your future at this point. So decide on what you want to do and go after it.

If you have a programming background, that may well be towards automating parts of your job. Having an interest in streamlining processes and contributing in that way.

If you have an interest in people and human interaction. You may be drawn towards the management side of things. And therefore have an interest in exploring those opportunities.

The number of things that you can do is almost endless. But this is your career now. You’re in the driving seat, and you need to make sure you get the most out of it.

Posted by Kevin Tuck

Kevin Tuck is an ISTQB qualified software tester with nearly a decade of professional experience. Well versed in creating versatile and effective testing strategies. He offers a variety of collaborative software testing services. From managing your testing strategy, creating valuable automation assets, or serving as an additional resource.

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