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How to become a successful QA Engineer

What to do even after you are employed and how to develop your skills to remain a sought-after specialist. Tech professional, blogger, and author of a free course for QA specialists, Artsiom Rusau, has recommendations.

QA Artsiom Rusau


Education and development

— Even after obtaining a coveted position in a company, you will still need to continue learning. No matter how successful a graduate or self-taught individual you are, the learning process doesn't stop once you are hired.

There are two learning paths available:

1. Your company is interested in your development and proposes a development map based on specific skills that will help you be more effective on the project.

2. You need to independently consider what interests you and the direction in which you would like to deepen your knowledge. Once you have done so, you can approach management.

More about the profession

Assessments and other evaluation methods

— In some companies, employee performance is periodically evaluated through assessments that consist of several stages:

  • Knowledge and skills assessment
  • Learning progress
  • Evaluation of feedback from colleagues and management

Based on the assessment, your career ladder is built, and your salary increases.

If your company evaluates employee performance, use this as an opportunity to identify your weaknesses and areas for growth, seek more feedback, and adjust your career roadmap. An assessment can give you a rough idea of your professional level. It is not, however, absolute, so I propose another method of evaluation.

Interview

— Many people associate job interviews with mandatory job changes and betraying their current company. An interview, however, can also serve as a starting point for professional development — benefitting you and your company. If you don't occasionally attend interviews with other companies, you’ll have no idea what's happening in the market. Continuing to interview even if you don’t want to change jobs is a way to keep yourself updated, learn from your mistakes after each interview, and adjust your development roadmap accordingly.

Why you should get in the habit of going to interviews

Market changes

— To keep track of changes in the tech market:

  • Read articles on professional resources.
  • Follow colleague-authors on LinkedIn.
  • Add contacts to your network from companies that you want to work for.
  • Don't be afraid to communicate and create a networking circle.
  • Attend meetups and conferences.
  • Review job descriptions for positions that interest you and study the technologies in which your skills are not as well developed.

Teaching

— Bonus advice: Start teaching others. Sometimes, the best way to learn something is to teach it to others. I am an example of that. Currently, my main source of career development is creating educational products and assisting students.

When you become a mentor within a team, you begin to structure your knowledge in a way that makes it easier to convey to your mentees. Often, when you do that, you find that your existing knowledge base is not sufficient. You need to study new data, apply it in practice, and only then incorporate it into your teaching.

What is mentoring in IT and how does it help you master the profession?

Continuing your own education with a mentor is also a good practice. It's not always possible to find a specialist within your company who can help you with a specific technology, but there are many individuals in the market who are ready to assist.

There are other tips that can help you remain a sought-after specialist throughout your career, but if you start with these, you will notice significant improvements in your development and become a more effective candidate in the market.

Go share tips on our Discord channel.

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