How to Stay Happy in Your Testing Career
Testers tend to focus on skills, learning, providing information, and getting the job done on time. They want careers, good compensation, and the ability to find work as needed. Of course these are important considerations, but I find that they miss an area that surveys only occasionally touch on, which is job satisfaction.
I extend the satisfaction theme even further. I believe a tester should have fun, find their job challenging, and look forward to an interesting career. I say this because when I talk about my life’s path in test, people ask how I did it.
The main point in life is to have fun. This does not mean every workplace task must make you happy; there will be stress and maybe even some pain, but the big picture of how you work should result in happiness. If it does not, consider changing something.
How do you change your future test path?
The high-tech world of computers and software means those of us working in it must always be learning, building skills through practice, and looking to the future. The tools, ideas, and systems of forty years ago (when I started) were vastly different than today, and the systems of tomorrow will be even more different. Are you at risk of being caught in a skills-practice gap?
To keep my career and skills on track, I have always had a career plan covering what I want to do this year and what I’d like to be doing in the next few years. I work on learning and building skills by going to conferences, reading, and taking risks to practice new ideas.
Specifically, I learned languages designed to support testing. I recommend Java, C#, Ruby, and Python. Artificial intelligence is a burgeoning field right now, so I learned about neural networks in order to work with data analytics on error reports. This led me to an interest in taxonomies and understanding patterns to improve software testing, which then led me to publishing papers and books about testing embedded, mobile and IoT systems.
This was my plan and path. Yours will be different. But I have always found fun challenges in software testing, and you can, too.
Jon Hagar is presenting the session How Do I Get a Cool Job Like Yours? A Career Map for Testers at STARWEST 2017, October 1–6 in Anaheim, California.