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Mental Tuning

Lecture 11 - How to Find Your First Job in Testing -> Why You Have A Real Chance To Find A Job In Testing -> Mental Tuning -> Job Hunting Activities

Do you know what REALLY prevents a person from getting an entry-level job in testing?

– It’s NOT a lack of experience.

– It’s NOT a lack of connections.

– It’s NOT a lack of education.

– It’s NOT a lack of communication skills.

IT’S A WRONG ATTITUDE. So – what is the definition of a wrong attitude? There are many flavors, but two of the most common are these:

Negativity and skepticism: e.g., “Oh, yeah? Do you think you’re a smart ass? Every available entry-level position is taken by somebody’s friend or relative,” or “You cannot just come to a foreign country and make more money than the majority of locals,” or “Come on, man. You cannot jump over your head.”

A strong desire to make good money combined with a complete lack of any desire to work hard: e.g., “Wow, you testers are making pretty good money! Oh, are you saying I’ll have to sacrifice watching the Sports Channel and partying with friends? Nah, that doesn’t sound right.”

As you’ve seen from previous chapters, software testing is not rocket science. There is a lot of stuff to learn when you encounter testing for the first time, but in the end this stuff is totally comprehendible. I’ve seen folks with very primitive computer skills who were able to pick up testing techniques and get a job. But technicalities are the simplest part of a tester’s education. The hardest part is changing a student’s attitude if that attitude is wrong. And here I often find myself powerless because strong wrong attitudes usually have deep roots in an individual’s personality, and that I cannot change.

On the other hand, I’ve known many guys and gals with dead-end jobs who were working hard on their testing education and job hunting. Guess what? Those who really wanted to be employed ARE employed. Was it easy for them? NO. But they had right attitude (I’ll define “right” in a minute) that helped them to achieve their goal of changing their lives and getting a job in the software industry.

This is very important: For your first job, your attitude is of primary importance. After all, what else can you offer if you have zero previous experience? Why would an employer hire you? My answer is that smart employers know perfectly well that a right attitude for an entry-level tester converts into actual work results in a matter of days or weeks because that person will do his best to justify that employer’s trust!

What is the RIGHT attitude? The gist of having a right attitude is simple: GIVING. Giving your time, your efforts, and your talents – to your search for a new job and to the company that hires you.

Yes, you need a software testing job to receive (money, stability, etc.), but you’ll receive a lot only if you give a lot in the first place.

Here are the three parts of the mantra for anyone who wants to get his first job in testing:

“I’m willing to work unlimited hours.”

“I’m willing to work on weekends and holidays.”

“I’m willing to work for any amount of money.”

I’m still using the first two lines in my own interviews, because I believe that this is required of every test engineer, and it generally makes a candidate very attractive independent of the level of his professional expertise.

The third line is needed for the entry-level job candidate to show his deep, sincere desire to get the job. This also lets a potential employer know that you want to give rather than receive.

Now, forget about software testing for a moment. Imagine this situation:

You need a housekeeper to clean your apartment, cook for you, send your clothes to the dry cleaners, and walk your spaniel. What would you say if someone in good faith offered you all these services for ANY fee that you were willing to pay? Well, anyone in his sane mind would ask the following question in response to this kind of offer: “What’s the catch?”

The catch is that you will give that employee a chance to apply in practice whatever he already knows in theory.

– Does this sound like a good deal for you? Of course: not only will you get a good deal for housekeeping services, but you’ll also do a good deed by giving someone an opportunity to gain experience!

– Does it sound like a good deal for the employee? Of course: he will be able to gain experience and make some money at the same time.

Now imagine:

The individual has worked for you for six months and has become really skilled in all areas of your housekeeping needs. Would you let him go just to get another worker with the same experience? Of course not! But if there is a special situation (like you move from San Francisco to Madrid) and you have to part with your housekeeper, then surely you’ll try to find that person a job at your friend’s house, or at least you would give him the best possible recommendation!

Why don’t we translate this situation to software testing jobs, replacing a housekeeper with a beginner software tester and the homeowner with the QA manager? Your great advantage is that not many people approach QA managers with offers like this:

“I’m willing to work unlimited hours.”

“I’m willing to work on weekends and holidays.”

“I’m willing to work for any amount of money.”

Why? Because it’s an out-of-the-box approach, and inexperienced people are scared to do things that are out of the ordinary. I personally took this unconventional approach, and I know others who did too and got the same amazing results: hiring managers were shocked and…helpful. It wasn’t all smooth and easy, but in the end, opportunities were given to us, and experience was gained. Now my colleagues and I have a different problem: how to respond to all the emails we get every day from recruiters.

To finish this section on mental tuning, let me tell you this: The wrong attitude of an otherwise great candidates is the main reason why the attractive opportunity called “entry-level job in software testing” will always be available to those who have the RIGHT attitude.

Now, let’s get down to the step-by-step instructions for job hunting. Next ->

Lecture 11 - How to Find Your First Job in Testing -> Why You Have A Real Chance To Find A Job In Testing -> Mental Tuning -> Job Hunting Activities