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A QA is Not a Type of Person

How a negative feedback can be turned into a positive one.

Photo by Émile Perron on Unsplash

Few years ago, I decided that is time to try to make a change in my career. I was working in a company which helped me growing professionally, but also personally. But everyone around me was advising me to make a change, try something new, or at least to go to job interviews, just for being always up-to-date with what companies require these days from their employees.

So I started going to different job interviews from my area: QA. I have to admit that it was interesting to see that, indeed, the market is changing everyday. In this area, it’s so easy to be left behind! It’s a continuously learning process, something that many people don’t see.

It was fun to meet new people, to see different job interviewing approaches. There were appointments from which I left with a huge self-confidence, and there were some which made me doubting about everything I believed I am.

From all the job interviews I had, there is one that I will never forget. Is the one which gives me strength to keep learning and keep doing what I do every time I feel I lost my path a little bit.

It was autumn, in Bucharest. If I remember correctly, this was the 3rd or the 4th job interview I was having in that month. I met the interviewer around 20 min after I arrived(as usually, I like to arrive way earlier than the appointment time, in order to give myself few moments to prepare for the meeting). She was a lady, this kind of business woman, looking strong and prepared for anything that can come up. I liked her attitude, it’s the one that I believe is needed in this area.

The job interview was totally normal, discussing about both sides’ expectations, my past and present experience based on my CV, but not only on that. The corner questions were there, of course, and also the classical annoying question “Why do you want to leave from your current company?”. I could talk about this question for a day, but I believe it can be done in a different article.

So, after an hour and half spent in the meeting room, it was the time to close the appointment. As always, the job interviewer will thank you for coming and will mention that you’ll be contacted regarding the feedback resulted from this appointment. But before telling me the classical “Goodbye” sentences, she said something else. She was believing that a QA is a type of person. That all QAs are the same and have to have the same characteristics that define a QA(from her point of view). She believed that a QA doesn’t need too many communication skills, but more technical ones; that a QA has to have a set of tests that need to be executed and nothing more; that a QA has to own the full knowledge, and not to gain the knowledge. Who can say that has the full knowledge anyway?

I remember I was listening to her and thinking how much I cannot agree with her. I believe in constant improvement. I believe that in these days, when technology gets to be developed so fast, when every day there are new discoveries made in all kind of industries, the human being has to constantly learn. It happens the same when we talk about QA.

Every day you can discover new testing methodologies, you can inspire from what others already accomplished and you can analyze how can you apply other’s knowledge on your product. Even if you’re using automation in your testing activities or not, every day you’re exposed to different technologies, that you have to want to learn, in order to improve yourself and to bring a plus to your company. I also believe that communication, social skills, are one of the mandatory requirements that make a QA being great in his/hers activity. As a tester, I have to talk daily with developers, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, people from Business departments(and let’s not forget that the last ones are not always very technical). I need to know how to ask valid questions, how to properly ask for the code to be delivered in time, without risking to create a break between developers and myself, and how to transform technical into non-technical, in order to make sure that, no matter the other’s background, he/she can understands what I am trying to say.

I come from an area that had nothing to do with technical background. Still, I proved myself and everyone else that is never too late to learn new skills. If you want, you can work in any industry you’re interested into. Maybe you’ll have to work harder than others in order to achieve the same level of knowledge, but is not impossible and definitely the satisfaction will be greater.

So no, a QA is not a type of person. A QA can be more technical than other, but can also be more sociable than others. That’s why some QAs end up occupying positions that are more related to human interaction(Scrum Masters, Project Managers etc), while others go more to the technical part(Test Designers, Automation Engineers, Automation Architects etc).

Every time I have doubts about how far I got in this industry, about my level of competence, I remember what that woman told me in that interview. Knowing that I prove the contrary, that I find pleasure in being deep involved into testing area, that I can bring quality on the product I’m testing on gives me strength and ambition in wanting to develop myself even more.

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