How to Make a Career Switch to a QA or QC Role
Some advice on moving into a career from software development into the world of QA or QC.
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Good software is key in today's everyday operations, from professional tasks to personal activities. Developers often have a constant output of builds and other patches, but software needs to be filtered and tested first in order to ensure its functionality before it reaches the user. This sounds like a job for a quality assurance and quality control individual. People in this position are often well-compensated with fair salaries - which are constantly rising — and there exists a certain amount of job security for QA management. Let's say you want to make a career switch into this job. What types of things do you have to consider to make a smooth transition? Let's take a closer look at how to successfully make a switch to a QA/QC role:
When to Make the Move
If you're a developer or have a similar job in the industry, it will be far easier for you to make a career switch to QA/QC, as you'll likely have a number of the skills needed in the new role. However, if you're starting fresh and want to become a quality assurance professional, it will take some time to achieve. Demand Media contributor Stacie Borrello noted that you ideally should have a bachelor’s degree in an area that's technology focused. You'll also want to pursue technical certificates. Gaining certifications will help you improve your skills and put you ahead of other potential candidates that do not have such accolades. Once you have a degree and certificates, you can start making the move to the QA role.
How to Change Careers
The "how" of moving roles may take some time as well, but there are a few steps you can take to successfully transition your career. You should begin by applying to IT employers, including consultants and software development firms. Borrello also noted that financial institutions and large corporations will be good sources when job searching. If it's your first time in a QA/QC-type position, you'll want to start at an entry-level role to get yourself acclimated with the organization's tools, teams and processes. Landing the job is half the battle; from there, it's all about gaining experience. The more knowledge you have, the better it looks to potential employers, which is why the certifications and degree are so integral for a first-time QA member.
Let's address developers and other professionals that are already in the IT realm. You likely already have a degree of some sort, or you have the experience that employers are looking for, so half of your work is already done. Now, you just need to apply yourself, consider getting certificates and ensure that you know what test management software businesses are using. Staying up to date in this way will significantly help your chances of being hired and your experience as an industry professional will be invaluable as you make the transition.
Making Necessary Preparations
You have the degree in hand, the certificates reinforcing your resume and you have sent applications out to potential employers - what other preparations do you need to make before you launch your QA/QC career? Eliminating myths about QA and software development will be critical to your performance and ability to meet business needs. Industry expert Ben Morris noted that many organizations believe that all bugs can be mitigated, that everything should be automated and that only QA should be testing. However, these points are all misleading and can significantly damage a QA team.
In an agile environment, all stakeholders from QA to developers and users are invited to test the build and provide feedback. You'll need to welcome this type of collaboration opportunity on a constant basis. You should also know that while you won't be able to eliminate every defect, you can handle a large majority of them. The expertise offered by other team members could prove invaluable to developing solutions. It's also important to understand that while automation is a major asset, not all tests can — or should be - automated. Computers can't catch things like how easy it is to navigate an app or if the feature functions as it should. You'll still need to have manual testing knowledge up your sleeve to combat these challenges.
Making a career transition is a major change for any individual. By following these tips, you'll not only be prepared to take on the challenge, but will have the tools you need to do the job successfully.
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