My B.Sc in computer science 25 yrs back. I worked as a senior programmer for 14 yrs. I was doing programming in VB 5,SQL and Crystal report.

Because of the family situation I had to stay home for the past 10 yrs to take care of the family. I want to go back to work now and would like to get into to QA.

What do I need to know with my back ground? Is there a book that I could study on my own, or a class (not too expensive) that I could follow? Any suggestion please. I haven't done any programming for the last 9 yrs.

  • 1
    Hi, Jen, and welcome to SQA stack exchange. Could I ask why you're looking to move to QA rather than return to development? The answer I give will depend a lot on your reasons. Also, if you're wanting to move to automated testing rather than manual (which with your background is likely), the strategies you'll want to use will be different.
    – Kate Paulk
    Dec 6, 2013 at 12:23
  • I do want to go into development. With the 9 yrs staying home, the tech has changed a lot. Learning a new language would be challenging. I am good on SQL. I thought QA would be easier for me and won't have too much challenge on learning new language. With Vb 6 , SQL back ground not sure which way to go without learning too much new language. Your answer above gave me some hope. Hope some can guide or help here.
    – user6474
    Dec 6, 2013 at 18:51

5 Answers 5


Given your background and what you've said about wanting to move towards development, I'd suggest the following:

You can download the web developer version (with highly limited functionality) of Visual Studio free. You should be able to get that for VB - which in its current version is likely to still be close enough to VB 5 for you to work fairly easily. Microsoft SQL Server Express is another free download.

This pairing will let you get some work towards refreshing your code and SQL skills, as well as the MS unit test framework.

On the strictly QA front, I'd recommend Joe Strazzere's site (http://www.allthingsquality.com) as a starting point. He has a number of book recommendations, too. There's also The Ministry of Testing (http://www.ministryoftesting.com) which has some good free ebooks as well as pointers to good books about testing.

I'd also look at the answers to this question - every book listed is a good one.

With VB skills, you could consider searching for test automation resources. I don't recommend trying QTP for cost reasons, but you could consider Selenium (which is free and has oodles of resources) and can be used with VB.

The last thing I'd suggest is looking to some of the crowd-sourced testing projects, like uTest. These will offer occasional open enrollment where anyone can volunteer to test. This will allow you to build up a portfolio of recent experience - and discover whether the QA field is where you want to be.

Good luck.


A lot of this depends on what you remember and how fast you can refresh.

From a book point of view I would highly suggest Explore It! by Elisabeth Hendrickson. This will give you a firm foundation in manual testing, which is the foundation of all good testing.

Coming back to Software as a tester might work, you will soon realize that the world wants lots of testers to test Web Applications. Given that, anything you can learn in the area of automated testing of web sites with tools like Selenium will be very helpful.

Not to discourage you at all, but it's possible that employers will be very caution hiring someone that has no recent SW development or SW testing experience. So in addition to your studies in Software testing you could create that experience by joining a Open Source Project and start creating tests for them. Over time that will serve to convince your new employers that you have the skills and are ready to contribute.

Attending local User groups would help you build a network and there you will get a much better picture than from these short StackExchange answers.

Best of luck to your return back to Software Engineering. Lots of adventure await for you here.


Since you state that you do want to go back into development I would suggest you don't look at QA at all. QA is not, and should not be seen as, the easy option.

Good QA professionals have a range of skills that are as varied and hard to learn as development skills. If for example you want to focus on automation you will need to learn to program in a new language anyway. The focus may well be on different things but learning a programming language is just as difficult for QA's and Developers.

In my mind the main thing that sets apart QA and developers is the testing mindset, the ability to constantly question everything, to explore and examine things and to use things in unexpected ways.


More and more organizations are leveraging Big Data solutions. I've seen an increase in the demand for QA Professionals that can deliver ETL validation, which may be a great fit for you given the emphasis on SQL. Even MapReduce solutions like Hadoop offer decent SQL interfaces to continue leveraging that skill set.

If this sounds appealing to you, I would recommend reading up on Data Quality and Data Warehousing. There are two schools of thought on warehousing (religious war to some, beware):

The Data Warehouse Toolkit

Building the Data Warehouse

Whatever path you choose, I wish you the best of luck.


I used the german books, so I hope these are the original ones:

Foundation level

Advanced level

The ISTQB certification is a good entry point for the testing world

  • Anyone brave enough to downvote this answer, is also brave enough to justify this downvote?
    – dzieciou
    Dec 7, 2013 at 17:50

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