Is there something in your life that you feel really proud of? Maybe you’re really good at baking, you have a natural talent for training dogs, or perhaps you’re one of those people who can run a marathon without a problem… Well, for me it was languages, specifically English. I never really paid attention to it when I was an early teenager. I remember taking classes in middle school and relying on my classmates who knew a bit about the language so I could copy their answers and hand them in to my English teacher. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I started taking classes in a private school that I realized I could use English to make a living out of it.
I performed particularly well in my classes. I remember taking the time to learn new words, to memorize conjugations, to sit in my living room trying to “unlock” my tongue so I could pronounce as closely as how it sounded in those CDs that we had at the back of my school books. Not only that, I started singing the songs of my favorite artists (Hilary Duff will always have a special place in my heart) so I could improve my listening skills. I remember grabbing a book in English from a box of discarded books and reading it even though I understood only half of it. I was hungry for knowledge and I just wanted to be as inquisitive as possible. This language came in waves and I felt like a surfer who had found their favorite spot in the ocean.
One thing led to another and before I realized it, I was already enrolled in a B.A. in English Language Teaching where I had found my love for Education as well. For the next decade, I discovered the challenging world of interacting with people on a daily basis and I was rewarded by the most amazing experiences of my life. From teaching children to the elderly, my world changed and I became wiser, more confident. However, I was also faced by the hardships of public education: a poor salary, a strict administration, and lack of personal and professional growth, just to name a few.
Teaching started to become less fun. It wasn’t a challenge anymore, it felt more like a chore. I knew there had to be more to that, I didn’t want to become one of those teachers that didn’t have the passion, that wasn’t driven by something, so I decided to take a step back. I pondered my options, “What else am I good at?” “What else drives me?” I spent the following months thinking about this, exploring other areas.
That’s when I got tickets to the now forgotten Campus Party. I didn’t know what the event was about, but I knew I liked technology and wanted to see it for myself. Little did I know, this was going to be the beginning of the career change I had been looking for.
After making my mind about this turn in my life, one of my first steps into this world was to start learning programming, since most of the conferences I saw at Campus Party were around Development. Not knowing where to begin, I was drawn to a bootcamp targeted to women called Laboratoria. I was able to learn more about Front-End Development and many other tools that are now part of my everyday repertoire. Learning how to program was not an easy task, I still struggle with it, but more than that, I am extremely grateful I was given the opportunity to learn something new that seemed so unattainable at first. More importantly, this is where I took my first look at the world of QA and Testing.
QA stands for Quality Assurance, and the idea is to have a team that checks that your company’s product (whether an app, a web page or any type of software or hardware) is working accordingly before it is released to the public. Testing any type of product requires a lot of attention to detail, organization, but most importantly, curiosity. There needs to be a whole department of testing dedicated to the quality of any product, and testing involves lots of processes, documentation, and knowledge of a variety of tools. Ideally, Developers need to have their own testing in their code to make sure that there are no errors. In a perfect world, every software team has a testing team but unfortunately that’s not always the case.
As someone who had shown such passion and curiosity when learning English, the world of QA became really attractive. I needed to be meticulous, to have an eye for detail. I learned all of this while I was teaching: I corrected essays, I observed mistakes, I knew there were rules, parameters to follow… QA testing was no different! The more I learned about it, the more at home I felt. Not really knowing how to make this happen, a friend of mine suggested a free course online. Why not, I said. Fearful but more importantly with a lot of hope, I just took a chance at it, and just like I did it with English, I realized I could also test things for a living.
My first job in testing started with videogames. Last year in the middle of a pandemic, I landed a job where I learned how to test videogames for mobile devices. Now, you might think that I spent most of my time playing… and you’re not wrong, but once you’re playing the same game over and over again it can get very tedious.
Besides, testing is not only playing the game just because you have to, it is a regulated process where you check the functionality of all areas, the design, internet interruptions, spamming buttons, playing the game the “incorrect way”, checking how the game runs on different devices, and how an old OS might affect the game, to mention a few. On top of that, there’s a lot of testing around the same areas every time a new build is released to make sure nothing is broken, not to mention the many excel sheets you have to fill to deliver to your QA Lead, Dev Team and/or Team Manager. Most of the games I played while I was in that job were probably titles you have never heard of, and I have nothing but love for the people who first introduced me to the world of testing.
Although the job was pretty relaxed and I am grateful for having an easy path into testing, I knew I needed more. The never ending need for more was catching up with me, so I went into LinkedIn and also asked my friends in tech for help. I spent the following months changing my resume to meet each company’s needs. I think I may have 40 versions of the same resume with little twists and turns so the Human Resources team could consider my application.
In January of this year, a very good friend of mine told me about Maniak and the offer caught my attention. I had already applied to so many jobs and had gotten so many rejections that having one more wouldn’t hurt. Without any expectations, I applied for the job and a few months later while I was on vacation in Colombia, I received the news. I almost jumped off my chair when I told my girlfriend about it. At the end, if you’re determined enough, things do find their way into your life.
I would like to end this post by inviting you to seek that thing that catches your attention, to look for people that will believe in your talent rather than in just a University title (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Don’t be afraid to make a turn in your career. I took that step and found people who saw something in me and believed in my process. I am currently learning more about web testing and automation, and I hope to keep growing in this environment with a company that’s made this place feel like home. Maybe if you exercise your curiosity enough, you can also find a place just as awesome as this one.