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I have a Bachelors in Merchandising and have been in sales and customer service roles since I graduated in 2011.

My boyfriend is a Project Manager and is assisting me into becoming a tester. OK my Question, since I don’t have tester work experience nor an IT education how would I get noticed to be hired as a tester? Should I get a certification and if so what?

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First, please feel free to use whatever terms you like to describe what you do or what you want to do. (I happen to like the term tester - I think it's more accurate).

Second, you've got some research to do. Start with articles online about software testing, look into buying a few books like Testing Computer Software by Cem Kaner, and think about taking the Black Box Software Testing courses through AST.

Cem Kaner lists the following areas of skill he thinks are necessary for testers and I like them as well:

  1. Testing Knowledge - Facts and concepts of testing. Structures for organizing testing knowledge.
  2. Social Skills - Working together in groups. Peer reviews. Using collaboration tools (e.g. wikis)
  3. Computing Fundamentals - Facts and concepts of computer science.
  4. Learning Skills - Using lectures, slides, and readings effectively. Searching for supplementary information. Using these materials to form and defend your own opinion.
  5. Testing Skills - How to actually do things. Getting better (through practice and feedback) at actually doing them.

Third, one the easiest way to get some experience is to join a crowdsource testing website like uTest. You can dive quickly into the test products with almost no experience and if you keep at it you'll probably provide some value, get paid a little and most importantly gain some experience.

Also look to Weekend Testing, testing meetups in your area, etc. for other ways to interact with and learn from fellow testers.

Fourth, there have been a few posts on subjects very similar to this like:

I've listed a few but I'm sure you'll be able to find many more.

Fifth, find a mentor. Someone who you can work with, who knows what testing is about. Right now this might be your boyfriend but when you find someone who knows a little more - work with them.

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    ... and part of the skills needed to be QA is ability to search internet for questions you have. Most questions are not that special and already do have answers. Saves time to you and everyone else involved. – Peter M. - stands for Monica Oct 29 '14 at 19:31
  • I think the ability (skill) to do internet research well is something broadly useful to most disciplines - not just testing. I also think it's important to write about the solutions to problems you find in case someone else has the same problem. – Chris Kenst Oct 29 '14 at 20:03
  • I agree. I just wanted to hint to OP that s/he has steep learning curve ahead and needs to adjust expectations (and level of effort required) to succeed. Not able to make even basic research before posting this question is IMHO strike against OP. It is doable but not easy. – Peter M. - stands for Monica Oct 29 '14 at 20:51
  • Thank you Peter and Chris I had done basic research and still felt the need to post. You are both very helpful. Since this post I had found two mentors neither being my boyfriend. I'm glad you mentioned that. – SJ Rose Nov 2 '14 at 17:59
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Well to learn about testing I would suggest not to go for any certification. It won't do much good.

Rather read blogs and articles about testing. Follow expert testers like Scott Barber, Cem Kaner, Jerry Weinberg, James Bach, Michael Bolton, Brad Pettichord and many others. Read their blogs and books written by them.

Read about psychology. Practice testing and write about. Participate in online communities and forums.

Test anything you can. Test at least one thing each day and share your report with others. Get their feedback and see where you need to improve.

...

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welcome to SQA StackExchange!

The great thing about QA (please avoid the term 'tester', especially in interviews) is that it requires a broad range of personalities with a broad range of backgrounds. There is no single silver bullet training or personality that will discover all of the issues found within software. Honestly, some of the best people whom I have worked in within the QA field had no particular background or formal training in QA (As a matter of fact, I don't either).

So, how do you get into it? Well, your boyfriend would be a good start to begin with. He can likely at least get you an interview. The question then becomes how do you translate your interview into a job.

  1. Show that YOU took the initiative and learned about QA (which you are doing now). Learn the different aspects of manual testing, testing utilities and what have you. Learn some basic concepts and while not an absolute requirement something that is extremely beneficial will be SQL. There is several posts here regarding different training materials. I would focus on manual and avoid automation unless you have development history.
  2. Review interview questions for QA. Don't do this expecting the interviewer to ask those exact questions but more to see if you are a solid fit for the field. I will post a few as an example:

If you were tasked with testing a Red light at an intersection how would you perform this?

If you were tasked with testing that when a customer orders 12 items it recommends a dozen pack how would you test this?

When tasked with testing a piece of software with vague requirements, how would you handle this?

The first 2 are designed to see what your thought process is. Do you think of the edge cases, the factors that are not directly related to the task (IE, the crosswalk signal that is connected to the red light). The third is, sadly, seeing how well you would handle and how you would react to what is real world daily events at a majority of locations.

  1. Understand why you are wanting to get into QA. Interviewers can tell when someone is feeling pressured into something versus when it is their passion. If you are passionate about it you will likely be nervous, calm and excited all at once.

Overall though, at the end of the day, the question is why do you think you would be good for a QA department? There is no particular certificate, degree or experience that is required. Put in applications, contact recruiters and study up as much as possible. A lot of interviewers will respect that you, in your personal spare time, learned this.

Good luck!

  • I disagree with your use of "please avoid the term 'tester', especially in interviews". That's how I self-identify and I think it's a more accurate term. – Chris Kenst Oct 29 '14 at 18:48
  • The differences between the labels of 'Tester' and 'QA' is a rant for a different place. Typically speaking though the majority of work in QA is a LOT more than testing. If you'd like to identify yourself with the ability to just test after development than that is fine, I prefer to label myself as a person who ensures the quality of the SDLC as a whole though. – Paul Muir Oct 29 '14 at 19:53
  • No one is ranting - I'm merely stating an opposition to your use of the word. I think what you have written proposes a narrow view of testing and maybe an overly-broad view of someone's impact on ensuring quality. That's fine, we disagree. – Chris Kenst Oct 29 '14 at 20:01
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    I meant the rant from me, not you. Just bad experiences in the past with the 'tester' label, especially when debating requirements and design flaws with developers and business. Being told 'just a tester' too many times to appreciate being called a tester is all. – Paul Muir Oct 29 '14 at 20:25
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Volunteering is a great way to gain professional experience. It's always nice to hear about ongoing volunteer work during an interview to show that the applicant is passionate about the industry. There are many open source or community projects that always need a hand with testing.

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/

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