Starting a New Job in Testing

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Thing have been a bit quiet around here. Maybe you’ve noticed it. Maybe you’ve only came to this blog for the first time, from a link from Google or Bing, in which case welcome, and do note the gap in posts. I’ve been busy.

Primarily this has been because I’ve been searching for, and then settling into, a new job in a new company. Starting a new job isn’t easy, be it in testing or any other field, and it’s what you do in the first few months in a new company that can really affect how the rest of your time there goes. Those relationships you make early on, and how you are seen by others matter. It matters a lot.

So, while things are fresh in my mind, here’s some handy hints on what you should consider when starting somewhere new. I’ll be sharing further articles about recruitment, job searching and C.V.’s over the forthcoming months.

All presented with a software testing view.

Talk to people

Probably the most important thing you can do when you start, especially in a testing role. Being a good communicator, with the ability to get on with as many people as possible is very important as a tester. Spend your time searching out the important people, introduce yourself, and find out more about them. Ask them about the company, ask them about how you can work together, and find out what they think about how the company does testing. Those relationships you make early on affect how people see you for a long time. Sure, you won’t be able to remember all their names, but make sure they remember yours. And yes, this does mean talking to more than just testers 🙂

 

Ask Questions. A lot of questions

Testing is all about questioning a product in order to evaluate it, right? Take the same approach when you start a new job. Ask everything you can think of, no question is too stupid to ask if you don’t know the answer. Often, so much information in a company, is un-documented, and you want to make sure that you can understand the bigger picture, as well as just knowing enough to do your role. As testers we need as broad a view as possible in order to work effectively so make sure that you learn by questioning, and continue to do so. It takes time to settle into a new job but the more questions you ask then the quicker you should be able to feel like you understand company and your role within it. Don’t sit there, feeling blocked because you don’t feel like you can ask something.

 

Be nice

First impressions count. When you first start you meet a lot of people. Every time you meet someone new then that’s a new first impression. Always remember to be nice. Even if you are really an evil tester 🙂

 

Consider what you are bring to the company

They decided to employ you, there must be a reason, right? 🙂 Remember that you have good, and relevant, experience that you can bring. It’s easy when you first start, to just spend your time learning the company and your new role. But do not forget that your experience from outside the company could be really useful. Maybe your old company did it’s test automation a particular way or maybe you can see the new company works in a way you helped improve in an old role. It’s often new starters who are in the best position to see improvement areas. Don’t just accept that ‘this is the way its done round here’, and don’t feel afraid to speak up.

 

Ask for feedback

It can be really easy when you start somewhere new to just go into things head down and try and pick everything up at once. Remember that you need to pause and ask for feedback. Make sure that you question your own understanding of things, as you learn them, and regularly ask for feedback from those you work with.

 

Don’t forget to continue focusing outwards as well

When you start at a new company it can be really easy to spend all your time learning your new role. After all, there is a lot to pick up and a lot to learn. It is tiring, but don’t forget what you did before. Since you are reading this then I assume you read software testing blogs at least. Keep active in the testing community and keep learning. That way you can bring not only new ideas from your previous job, but also new ideas from the whole testing community.

 

Enjoy it

It takes a lot of effort when you start a new job. There is a lot to learn and a lot of people to meet. Focus on what attracted you to the new job and don’t forget to enjoy it 🙂

 

4 thoughts on “Starting a New Job in Testing”

  1. Wish I’d read this post a few months ago…
    Good advice but it can be easier said than done – especially if you are a shy type and/or you are plunged right into the job and find yourself working hard right from the start.

    what advice would you give to someone who read this, thinks it sounds great but has already been at the job for a while, how could they start afresh ( without moving ) ?

    1. Thanks for the comments Phil. You’re right, it is often not easy to do everything, especially when ones natural character is more introvert than extrovert. In those cases I think it can help to take things one step at a time; even if one only first does a few things to talk to other within the team. I’d argue that to be an effective tester then at least being able to communicate effectively and freely with the team you are in is essential and also worth making time for.

      For people who have been in a job for a while then it can be difficult as well. I was in my previous job for a little over 9 years, and when one decides to change ones behaviour then that can be viewed by the rest of the team with some suspicion 🙂 I think its important to be open and honest about what you are doing and why; the team can only benefit as a result, and as a manager I’d certainly appreciate those who can recognise that they want to change something, and then go ahead and do it. It can also help if one starts a new project or role, maybe starting to work with new people, or in new circumstances, something which I would hope most people are able to do at some point without leaving the company they are working for.

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