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I've been working in QA for a year and a half now, I started of doing manual testing and then I've moved on to QA automation and or been using Ruby + selenium webdriver + page object model + page factory. I will also be doing API rest testing in a few weeks. I've been given some money from the company for this year to spend on whatever training I want to.

I don't know what to spend it on to improve my job the only things I can think of are below, can you guys advise me on my ideas or even add ideas that could aid in my job.

Ruby training - am new to using Ruby coming from Java but not sure how much a course would benefit as there are plenty docs online for general programming.

Jenkins - once I have created my tests locally and they all work I commit my code to a branch on git and then run on a Jenkins box to test my test on a second box before adding to master. - I use Jenkins but I don't no how to set up my own testing box. Would a course on Jenkins benefit my CV and make me more valuable as a tester to future company's by being able to set up my own testing box? Could this help me make more money?

ISTQB - I don't have any of the ISTQB Certs - would this be any benefit to my CV help me get better paid future job ? Baring in mind I have 1.5 years testing experience. And a 1st class bsc degree in computer science?

Mobile testing - I have never done any and I don't know what tools or languages are used to test mobile apps.

Any other ideas you guys have and any advice please comment or add to this post.

Are there any big QA festivals etc? We're I could go and learn good stuff to take back to were I work?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Michael Durrant, Kate Paulk, Milin Patel, Bharat Mane, NarendraC Dec 5 '16 at 6:11

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • One way to improve is to find someone who will be giving you a feedback about your work: sqa.stackexchange.com/questions/2571/… – dzieciou May 15 '16 at 4:04
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    Money for training is fine - but more precious is the time. Can you use money to buy training? Or just training materials? Another way to spend money is to have time to attend local-ish events. See your local Meetups. Where are you located? – Peter M. May 16 '16 at 16:52
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The most helpful book I have is "Lessons Learned in Software Testing". Pretty much anything written by Jerry Weinberg, Cem Kaner, Michael Bolton or James Bach will change the way you think about testing and make you a better tester.

Look for local gatherings of testers. Many cities have monthly meetings of test professionals.

Go to conferences. They can be expensive but will ultimately be beneficial. In the U.S and Canada you can look up STAREast, STARWest and STARCanada by Techwell.

ISTQB is useful only if you want to work for a company that has that as a checkbox requirement to get hired. India is big on using ISTQB certification as a requirement to get hired, while North American companies focus more on demonstration of a tester's actual skill by noting his career achievements. Look up "ISTQB James Bach" on YouTube or on his blog at www.satisfice.com for a great argument on why to avoid this certification and what alternates to consider.

If your boss is willing to back his offer of money with time, ask for Friday afternoons as learning time. Google has implemented this. The idea is that you take 10% of your allotted work time to learn whatever you want, build whatever side project you want, as long as it pertains to the business. To see some of the stuff that came out of such thinking, look up Google Labs. By making use of this Friday Time you can study a programming language and build yourself a tool, or follow video & text blogs from authors like those mentioned above, or cruise sites like Techwell, StickyMinds, Ministry of Testing, or others you find of interest. Be prepared to show and share your work. If you have other testers in your organization, share your findings with them. If you are the only tester, do a show & tell to your developers on the cool tool you built or the funky thing you got an existing tool to do to help you in your work.

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I'd say go for ISTQB certification and buy books for subjects like Ruby, Jenkins and mobile testing.

...But only after you checked what is asked for most frequently in job openings that you would like. That is the most effective stuff to pursue. This will vary over time and per location. Also different companies have different needs.

Finally, mobile testing is a bit broad. There are three main tastes out there, iOS, Android and Windows. The best automated tools serve all three. You can have a look here.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_GUI_testing_tools
http://techbeacon.com/top-16-software-quality-testing-conferences
What is a good training to signup for to get training for my SQA department?

  • Job openings in my location require ISTQB certification rather for novice testers: it seems it proves your knowledge, when you don't have experience yet. When I was interviewing candidates for SDET together with my colleagues, we've never asked for ISTQB: it came out that even when some candidates had ISTQB certifaction, they could not define good test cases. – dzieciou May 15 '16 at 3:47
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    ISTQB seems more for manual testing and documentation to me which I just don't do as I get my tasks in JIRA and then develop front end tests and API tests and soon load testing with JMeter so am not sure ISTQB would be any benefit apart from learning some key phrases. As I don't do any documentation. I literally just write test scripts and API calls using ruby client. I would like to have ISTQB but for future roles I am not sure it's going to matter as long as I can code and know the frameworks etc already. So still not sure :( – Speedychuck May 15 '16 at 9:56
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Certification

If you would like to be certified I would look at CAT (Certified Agile Tester) courses and exams. This is where I would spend this money if my Boss offered it, since its practical and up-to-date (at-least more then ISTQB if you ask me which is mainly theoretical). This proves a certain basic level of test understanding, how to use it in a team and it includes test-automation.

Events

Second would be going to events like:

These events are mainly Europe, but you should be able to find events close to your home :)

This gives you a lot to talk about and become inspired. If you can spare the time and money go for it. This will be worth it.

Programming

Ruby is just another programming language, learning programming is worth a course if you do not have any experience. Learning a second language just needs time to practice. Have a look at programming kata's and execute these in the language you wish to learn.

Tools

Learning specific tools (like Jenkins) will not really help your C.V. Just putting them on there should be enough. I would focus on concepts like continuous testing within continuous delivery. Still here primarily counts practical experience, not something you can buy.

Courses

Course like Mobile testing could be a start to get you into something, but unless you can combine it with practical experience I would be wary if taking these courses. My experience learns me that most courses I did not add a lot of real value, except for having the time to focus on a certain subject.

I rather learn from books could be just me :)

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