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I am about to graduate with a BS in software development. I am proficient in Java, javascript, html, and css, but I feel like I'd like to orient my career more toward software testing and QA than actual developing. I've been applying to junior positions here in Dallas, TX and have an interview upcoming for a contract-to-hire position as a junior software QA analyst. On conversion, the salary would be 45k, not sure what it is on contract but will ask at interview. Thing is, I will be leaving a solid, stable job that pays 32k, but it's in a call center. I hate it and it's not at all related to what I want to do with my life. My current company does not have any opportunities that would align with my career aspirations. I'm worried about taking the position and not being coverted in the end, but at least I'd have actual testing experience when it comes time to looking for my next role. Any advice?

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    "I feel like I'd like to orient my career more toward software testing and QA than actual developing." - why? (this is a question likely to be asked in an interview) – Joe Strazzere Oct 31 '17 at 12:25
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    Closing mafia is trying to close this question without giving any hint how it can be improved. My free hint to OP: question needs to be less about individual circumstances of a single person, so it can be generic and usable to others. Seems we have more clued first time poster than average first post, let's try to salvage the question. – Peter M. Oct 31 '17 at 14:09
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    Please give us more details about "proficient". Did you had a chance for an internship during your BS degree? Do you have some contacts/recommendations from industry outside of school? Did you participated in any open source projects? If you have some free time, you should. – Peter M. Oct 31 '17 at 14:13
  • Also, workplace SE forum has lots of information about how to move in career side-wise and break to different industries (not specific to QA, but some posters here, like Joe Strazzere, and top-rated contributors on workplace SE. – Peter M. Oct 31 '17 at 14:15
  • You are young, don't settle on a job you hate. Even if it will not work out first time around, you will gain work-related experience. – Peter M. Oct 31 '17 at 14:21
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To start with I'll answer your question directly. Yes contract roles are a viable way to gain industry experience and enable transitions into permanent roles. While I certainly can't make this decision for you (I don't know the Dallas market) I'd be happy to braindump what I normally look for as a QA hiring manager for web companies in NC.

Because I work in smaller startup environments these candidates are expected to be able to grow into a cross functional QA role (usually manual testing + some form of automation). Many larger companies may have different expectations. During an interview, I expect junior-level to be able to demonstrate a testing mindset in addition to speaking to several of these areas of development knowledge...

  1. Basic programming, at least through OOP
  2. Background with selenium or other application/web driver tools
  3. Familiarity with HTTP requests (verbs, some understanding of how to use the common ones, background in http gui clients like Postman)
  4. Depth of experience using SQL (CRUD then into joins at minimum)
  5. Use of something like dev tools in Chrome or Firebug in Firefox during their testing.
  6. Ability to use linux command line to navigate a file system and do other basics

If a candidate can actually respond confidently to many of these areas I usually know I've found someone primed for growth into more advanced QA roles.

Now back to you specifically, from your original question you mention

  1. Experience in 2 programming languages suitable for writing automated tests
  2. Some understanding of the technology used to construct websites
  3. An interest in the testing area of software dev specifically

While I'm working off of a really short resume/CV my initial impression is that you could probably make more than 45k in a number of job markets (including mine) if you're able to interview well and back up those skills. This might be a viable entry point into the industry for you but I'd encourage you to not settle and use sites like Glassdoor to gauge salary ranges for your region as your contract nears an end. The market for competent, technical QA is white hot right now and we shouldn't sell ourselves short.

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