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I had a computer science degree years ago and currently have 2.5 years full-time working experience at a Canadian Bank doing QA/Performance Testing using tools such as HP Loadrunner and Performance Center 11.5

Initially, I was applying for QA manual testing position, but they offered me a performance testing position due to my computer science background. I accepted the job offer.Time flies and it has been almost 2 and half year now. My salary is still kinda low around 50K canadian dollar. I believe it's about time for me to move forward. At this moment, I feel like going to work is a total waste of time.I don't enjoy my work at all. The only benefit of working at a bank is the fact that it's a stable 9-5 job. However, everyday from 9-5, it feels like a total waste of time.

Also, I don't really like coding for automation/performance testing. Unlike normal developer, coding for automation/performance testing is simply scripting the workflow, which is the most boring(But may not be the easiest) type of programming. To me, it's not really "creating" something.

Option 1: If I continue in QA path, where should I go? I really don't want to do performance testing anymore and I don't want to touch the Loadrunner tool anymore. With 2.5 years of QA Performance Testing experience, where should I go?

Option 2: Change to a developer job at a Startup/small company. I wonder what will be my initial salary? Will my 2.5 years QA performance testing experience become a waste?

Any other suggestions?

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I've been in testing and development. Go to development. In testing all you do is find problems, but you don't solve them. You can get paid more in development.

OK -- that's grossly oversimplified, but it's to make a real point. The other oversimplified point is you will almost certainly make rather more in development, especially if you are in the U.S. In fact I think even in pure testing you could probably make half again as much almost anywhere else, even at a bank.

There was a crazy time when startup folks got paid crazy (high) amounts, that time isn't now, startups I hear are likely to pay less nowadays, but I bet generally more than than the figure you mentioned at the bank. You can also find startup efforts within an established company, that could be more dynamic than the company as a whole.

The company culture and processes have a big effect whether you are straight coder or tester. Some places follow Microsoft's SDET model, which I think is rather more ideal for software engineers in testing. If you read about it, test engineers are theoretically a lot more closely involved in the development process, including more visibility into code. Other places, the software is a black box. Anyway I interviewed at a place recently for a test engineer position; they followed an SDET approach, and on top of that, they regularly rotated engineers back into pure development, after spending time in testing, and so forth. They also said they followed a test driven development approach as a standard. So consider looking for a place like that.

I've done tons of performance work. You say you don't like performance testing. Let me ask, besides running and maybe creating the performance tests, do you know how to solve the performance issues themselves? Like, can you utilize JMeter to find a performance bottleneck, alter the configuration, and increase throughput? Because you should be learning things like that, and employers do pay for that skill. If you've learned some things like that, two thumbs up, put it on the resume. If you haven't gained that skill, find out if you can get more in the loop at your site.

Some specific points:

  • You don't grow and learn if you aren't challenged, if you aren't pushed out of your comfort zone, etc.

  • write down the accomplishments and skills you would like to see on your resume in 2 or 3 years. Like "Created Junit-based test harness for the new product"; "Automated tests for the client web site with Selenium"; "Developed live graph control in Javascript for web control"; "Write components and applications Java in Eclipse and Netbeans"; "Ruby scripting"; "automation of build systems".

  • Think about where you want to be geographically, what you want to do, find what kind of companies are there.

  • Research companies on Wikipedia, Linkedin, Glassdoor, internet news. Look at their job postings and see what they are looking for. That strongly varies with locality, some places might be more C/C++, other places might be dominantly .Net/Java, some place more scientific computing, others more financial services.

  • Go to some meetups in your locality and see what other folks are doing.

  • Great post though I disagree regarding earning more as a Developer. I have worked with Developers who had many more years in the industry than I have that made 30% less than I did. A valuable employee can and will be paid regardless of their specific function and if you look at the payscale between QA and Dev there is not a huge difference with better expectancy for QA long term. – Paul Muir Oct 19 '15 at 14:31
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I know how you feel as I have been in the same boat, though thankfully not for as long as you have.

I had a computer science degree years ago and currently have 2.5 years full-time working experience at a Canadian Bank doing QA/Performance Testing using tools such as HP Loadrunner and Performance Center 11.5

Initially, I was applying for QA manual testing position, but they offered me a performance testing position due to my computer science background. I accepted the job offer.Time flies and it has been almost 2 and half year now. My salary is still kinda low around 50K canadian dollar. I believe it's about time for me to move forward. At this moment, I feel like going to work is a total waste of time.I don't enjoy my work at all. The only benefit of working at a bank is the fact that it's a stable 9-5 job. However, everyday from 9-5, it feels like a total waste of time.

This leads me to believe that overall you're not satisfied with your job. It probably doesn't challenge you and you are bored. This happened very quickly with me when I was doing performance testing with LoadRunner. This is a very bad sign for you and your company.

The fact that after 2 years in the industry and you're only at 50k is a bit shocking. If you switch companies and you know you're stuff, depending on your area, you could likely get a 50% increase in pay. This likely wouldn't satisfy you still though.

Also, I don't really like coding for automation/performance testing. Unlike normal developer, coding for automation/performance testing is simply scripting the workflow, which is the most boring(But may not be the easiest) type of programming. To me, it's not really "creating" something.

I understand this struggle. I consistently work on creating new tools and building out fixes and taking on dev tasks with my current company. It really helps me in multiple ways. I am one of the best with the software at the company (some devs know it better, not many know the system as a whole as well as I do though).

It also scratches the itch to create something.

Option 1: If I continue in QA path, where should I go? I really don't want to do performance testing anymore and I don't want to touch the Loadrunner tool anymore. With 2.5 years of QA Performance Testing experience, where should I go?

Option 2: Change to a developer job at a Startup/small company. I wonder what will be my initial salary? Will my 2.5 years QA performance testing experience become a waste?

Any other suggestions?

Please share your view

Thanks Joe

My suggestion is simple:

Find a company without a dedicated QA department

If your boss is responsible for the SUT than they will be more open to you doing what you want/need to do in order to get the job done. This leads to you being able to QA, build automation, performance test, development tasks and work on side projects. It will keep you busy and make you extremely valuable to the company and build out your skill-set and resume.

My current company dissolved it's QA department and assigned QA as a responsibility of the Dev managers. This was quite scary but at the end it led to everyone's primary concern being to get the job done. This changed my job from being a mundane controlled environment of knowing my role to being a dynamic position where I could take on any task I could accomplish. I was able to rise quickly through the team and become an invaluable member of the team.

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Option 1: If I continue in QA path, where should I go? I really don't want to do performance testing anymore and I don't want to touch the Loadrunner tool anymore. With 2.5 years of QA Performance Testing experience, where should I go?

LoadRunner is just another tool like JMeter, so that's going to be a plus for you on the job market. Take that and run with it. Automation positions are in demand and pay more.

Option 2: Change to a developer job at a Startup/small company. I wonder what will be my initial salary? Will my 2.5 years QA performance testing experience become a waste?

I was on this fence about a year and a half ago. What I ended up doing was taking a QA job at a software agency (makes apps, sites, saas, etc). It was a good move because it pays the same as entry-level dev and I get to work on tons of cool projects. The fact that I don't test the same thing day in and day out has done wonders for my love of the work I do. Also, there are so many tech stacks (LAMP to .Net) that I get to work with, which makes me even more valuable.

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