March 1, 2017

Working with Recruiters to Find Manual Testing QA Positions? Make Sure to Always Be Kind

Nobody likes job searching. Nobody.

It is a stressful time for candidates for QA positions. You might be on edge because time and money are running out. You might feel like you are being placed through the wringer, being under constant examination. You might feel cynical about the process, thinking that you are being treated like nothing more than a big fat commission by the endless swarms of recruiters cold calling you, and you might be easily aggravated with them, and you might want to verbally lash out at them, or give them a hard time.

In a word: Don't. Please don't. Job searching is stressful all around, not just for you, but for the recruiter who is attempting to place you at their client company. Be kind to them. Always, always try to be kind.

On Monday, I started sending out a new survey -- the first one I've ever created -- How Boston Recruiters See The Software Testing Industry 2017. I've wanted to create a series of blog posts, articles, and presentations on the perspective of a Boston area recruiter -- a viewpoint that would be quite helpful to members of the new Ministry of Testing - Boston I just started to help organize -- for a while. I received a response back immediately that really opened up my eyes to the harshness of their reality.

I received a response back immediately from "Anonymous Recruiter". Clearly, AR was not having a good day. Even though AR has been a recruiter for a bit over a year he has wonderful advice for manual testers who are attempting to break into the automation field.

So, What Is It Like Being A Recruiter?

What Do You Love About Your Job?

"Coming across someone that doesn't hate talking to me. It's refreshing to come across people the enjoy talking about they do and it provides a wonderful learning experience. Finding someone a position that they are genuinely excited about. To know that one more person is going to be happy going to work everyday is very rewarding".

What is a typical day for you?

"Trying to ignore the fact that most people treat you like the piece of [crap] they accidentally stepped in".

What do you hate about your job?

"All of the lying. The client lies to you. Your sales people lie to you. Your managers lie. The candidates lie. It's more degrading than working clothing retail and watching someone destroying your table of freshly folded sweaters".

About Manual Testing 

In spite of getting it from all sides, AR really gave a lot of good advice for manual testers attempting to cope in today's ever changing software testing market.

How difficult is it for manual testers to find work?

"It's a saturated market. I can do on any job board, at any time, and find twenty qualified QA people within ten miles of the company".

Do you have any advice for manual testers who do not wish to learn how to code and still remain employable? Is there a niche they should specialize in?

"Honestly, in business, it's evolve or die. Regardless of the industry you work in, you should always be learning. If you're not willing to learn you, will reach a point in your career companies will ask why you never took that next step. This is something you see a lot with older Manual QA and Support people. Low-level programming roles are the new blue collar jobs. Be multiple. Focus on evolving your skills all the time. Try to see where there could be a growth opportunity. You're already behind the curve, develop a plan that will put you ahead of it in x number of years".

What advice would you give a manual tester who wants to switch to an automation development role?

"Go blended first. A hard switch will be difficult to make. Look for roles that will allow you to learn on the job. If no such roles exist at the time, start learning on your own. Then, make a portfolio website to demonstrate your skills. I often talk with a high-level Java Automation/QA that has done exactly this. He is one of my favorite people to talk with. His enthusiasm for his work is infectious and he is always pushing himself to be better, as we all should do".

A manual tester wants to get into automation development. Do you think they would need to earn a Computer Science Degree in order to make the switch?

"Yes/No. There is nothing more overrated to me than degrees and certs. That being said they do help your marketability and earning potential. If you're talented, you will shine through".

Intense coding bootcamps have popped up all around Boston. Do clients seem to be impressed when they see that on a resume?

"It all comes down to your portfolio. Nothing makes me pass harder on say, a UI/UX designer, than a personal website that looks like it is from the Netscape era".

Oracle's Java Certification for an automation developer role: Worth the time and effort or no?

"I have yet to see it one job req and I've worked a lot of them in the past year. I feel like older companies focus more on certifications than the younger ones".

If you were to order the following programming languages from most in-demand by your clients to least in-demand, how would you order them? Java, JavaScript, Objective C, Python, Ruby, Swift, other

"Regarding automation: Java, Python, C#, JavaScript/Angular"

What are the hottest, most in-demand automation tools and technology your clients are looking for this year?

"Selenium, Jmeter, TestNG, TestComplete"

What automation testing tools are now passe?

"Some clients have no interest in people that use Selenium alone".

... Thank you so much, AR for all your advice!

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Twitter | LinkedIn | GitHub

// Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test, Software Tester since 1996.
// Contributing Writer for TechBeacon.
// "Looking to move away from manual QA? Follow Adventures in Automation on Facebook!"

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