I have a BA degree in Biochemistry. I worked at a research lab for 5 yrs before I quit my job to be a stay at home. Now I want to change my career and get into the field of QA. I don't have much knowledge as to what the best way is to get into this field. I cant afford to take online courses, so I want to self teach it to me. Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated.
I'd suggest you start with the software quality blogs and forums around the Internet. Some of the online portals I like are:
- Joe Strazzere's All Things Quality
- The Software Testing Club portal (they have a pretty good forum, too)
- The Ministry of Testing portal (their listing of tools is long and could use more detail, but has a lot of information condensed into a single site, and their blog feed is excellent)
If there are any tester meetups or testing weekends in your area, look at going to them - I'm quite sure you could find someone willing to mentor you and help get you started.
If you want to look into the automation side, I'd suggest working through tutorials for one of the free tools (Selenium has a large user community - the IDE is rather old and won't be supported for too much longer, but it's a quick way to get a feel for how Selenium works).
If you're not comfortable with programming, automation may not be for you, but in my view that isn't a major issue because there's always a need for manual testing.
You could also take a look at some of these related questions:
- Suggested books to start on software testing
- How do you prepare yourself for a testing position?
- Fundamental requirements for an entry level QA Engineer
- What does a software QA person need to know
This should give you somewhere to start.
First of all it would be great if you expose the reasons that drive you to move to the QA world. What attracks your attention. As you studied Biochemistry there are great opportunities for you for instance in Pharmaceutical or Petrochemical industries, where hight risks products and processes requires hight level of Quality Assurance and Control. Its professionals are very well payed. No much extra study you will require to begin as a junior.
If you think in the software sector instead, you would need to study some software fundamentals, which it will require some time. If this is the case I recommend begin with the path of the ISTQB certification that will take you 3-4 months of partial time study and it will let you begin to work as a junior Software Tester.
As I mention before, everything depends on where you want to develop your career, and it is not a trivial decision. So lets clarify this before :D
I myself comes from a purely Science field (nothing technical) before being a QA.
I suggest you read books related to QA and software testing. Anything you can get a hand of those books are worth it. A lot of free downloadable ebooks are available online. Familiarize yourself with the common terms used, especially the different types of testing used. Then be honest to your employer that have no experience but really want to learn and pursue being a QA.
Honesty is the key. Don't pretend to know something when you don't. Instead, persist to learn. Good luck!