I’m happy to see more people talking about job ads for testers with arbitrary requirements like “3 years experience”. In the last several years, I have met many testing and quality professionals who, with only one or two years in the profession, are sharing their valuable insights in conference talks, blogs and other media. Your ability to contribute value to your team is not about how many years you’ve had a title with “tester” or “QA” in the name. It’s about how much you have learned, your communication skills, your ability to collaborate with your team to deliver value to your business and customers.
Over the years, when I’ve been involved in recruiting and hiring testing specialists, I always have looked for attitude and mindset. If someone loves to learn, and they are eager to connect and communicate, I know they can learn any “technical” skills needed for the job. It’s a lot harder to teach attitude and mindset.
Like many industries, the software industry has a huge problem with lack of diversity, equity and inclusion. Those of us already in the testing profession know that we come from a huge variety of backgrounds. Most of us “fell into testing” in some way. I love hearing the origin stories. We have a huge opportunity to bring a much more diverse group of people into the software industry by letting them start out in testing jobs.
I get it that most hiring managers, even some with a software background, have little real understanding of testing and what skills are most important for someone to help their team build quality into their product. I would like to see more companies acknowledge their ignorance, and remove the gates to getting testing jobs. I’d like to see job postings with something more relevant than “Must have at least 3 years experience” or “Must know the XYZ testing tool”. If you’re looking to hire a tester, let’s get together and I’ll help you write your job posting!
For those looking to join the testing profession, we are lucky to have such supportive communities and many resources to help. I could list a bunch here, but Nicola Lindgren already has this information in her book, Starting Your Software Testing Career. She also has a YouTube channel, with thoughtful videos such as “Do you need a certification to become a software tester”. I’m also happy to help you find the resources you need and connect you with other people who can help.
As Nicola has pointed out on Twitter, don’t let unreasonable requirements like N years of experience keep you from applying for a testing job. And, take advantage of all the free and inexpensive resources, as well as helpful people in the testing community, to achieve your career goals.