Beginner’s Guide: How to Become a Software Tester? 2020 Update

It’s 2020, people, the world is changing. So do our careers and expectations.
A non-IT person recently asked me how to start a career in the IT world. How to become a tester/developer?

I thought that it is quite hard for me to answer, at first – because I’m old and it’s been a while since I was looking for my first engagement, moreover, the job market is changing very fast. The expectations, that were given to the candidates 2, 3, or more years ago, might be no longer valid. I often train students, but they are usually people, who study programming or follow a similar technical path, but how does it look like today, when you are completely fresh in the business?

I decided to gather some useful tips and share them with anyone in need.

I’ve asked Twitter first

How to become a tester/developer?

A group of my kind IT-related fellows responded:

I was also given some tips and linked to some good readings written by my Software Testing Gurus:

Ministry of testing advised this one, it is a great reading for beginners.

I particularly recommend this bit for all of you who are looking for an answer: What do software testers do

Here is also a great piece of reading by Katrina ClokieTesting for non-testers

And one more from Angie Jones.

Ministry of Testing recommends also following books:

  • Explore It! by Elizabeth Hendrickson, an excellent book about exploratory testing.
  • Evil by Design by Chris Nodder,
  • Agile Testing by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory is one of those books that everyone raves about and you wonder why it took you so long to read it.
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – it is a psychological book, what’s more, he got a Nobel Prize for his research in the field of the economy! Worth reading.

I would also recommend for Polish readers:

  • Zawód Tester by Radosław Smilgin – a good guide for the newbies.

Summarizing all the above, when you get a sense of what the testing or programming is, ask yourself if you like it and only then go further, join a community, and gather knowledge.

Tai Lopez – pozdro dla kumatych 😀

What else

My overview of the market nowadays in Poland (as I live here) is that the demand for new employees is bigger every year. I live in Wrocław, which has become a great software hub during the past few years. We have a lot of international companies, who employ hundreds of people, we do also have tech startups and software houses, who create new job opportunities. And, to be honest, even with the great number of people finishing technical studies, it seems to be not enough to feel the employer’s needs.

That’s why, I believe that new people are still desired on the market. Non-IT people, especially in the field of software testing. Certain skills, taken from the outside of the IT world, could be beneficial when it comes to the act of testing.

I also have some advice for the people, who want to change their career path.

Some useful tips from me

  1. If you would like to start in the IT industry, just because “it’s money there” please think twice. It’s great to earn money and have a stable post, but at the same time, when you start over, it should at least give you joy and make you feel happy about what you do.
    Money is not everything.
  2. Discover possible career paths within IT. There is no only the programming and the testing thing. You can be a Scrum Master, Business Analyst, UX Designer, Graphic Designer, Product Owner … plenty of possibilities.
    Do not limit yourself in your search.
  3. Write down your strengths and capabilities – there is no point in completely changing your career path into IT – because it is fashionable.
  4. Ask yourself if you are a curious person and if you like to learn new things, because, for me, those are the most important features of a tester or a developer.
    You must be keen to learn new skills.

If the above are sorted out check out those advises:

  1. Find yourself a Mentor. It doesn’t have to be a person you know face-to-face. It might be someone who is reachable for you – on the internet, who can guide you and help you in learning new abilities. Someone you can follow and who can inspire you.
  2. Go to some career portal and look for the IT job offers.
    DO NOT APPLY yet 😀
    Read the advertisements and find out what is expected from a software tester or a developer of a certain language.
    It might be your guide – what is missing in your education, what you should learn, where to look.
    Go and learn.
    All blogs, books, and posts could be helpful, but at first, you should know what you are looking for.

Is it enough to become a software tester?

When I meet people during the job interviews or when I train them in testing, it doesn’t matter to me how old they are. Don’t have a chip on your shoulder about your age. When you feel like changing into IT – make it happen.

The most important for me is that people did their homework. What do I mean by that? They did some work on their own.

Read the whole internet, but don’t repeat blindly. Have your mind.

I’ve heard an opinion that it is enough to get the ISTQB certificate to become a software tester.
B**** The certificate proves just you’ve spent some money and a couple of hours of your time to memorize the answers for the test, not, that you can test anything.

Take any website you want and test it. Try to break it. Stress it. Note all your ideas for functional and UI improvements and bring it all to the job interview. I believe that the moment “tell us about yourself” is quite a good timing for the presentation.

And if you still enjoy it – it might mean that you are a superb match for the job.

If you have further questions, reach me on Twitter.

I wish you guys the best of luck in your career-changing, future interviews and finding your perfect IT-match.


Published by Kinga Witko

Author, Blogger, QA specialist, Agile Tester, cruelty-free. Sugar - free food lover.

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