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Advice from well-meaning relatives or friends ….

Quoting from a recent experience with a QA Engineer in a different group, whose relative gave him some career advice based on her experience (or lack thereof).

The engineer is relatively new to the industry having left campus recently and still learning the ropes. He has been recruited to the QA team and is working on testing a significant area of a major product. There’s a lot to learn and the engineer is actually learning and enjoying working with this group. Now the relative, tries to offer this engineer some “good” career advice and suggests he consider a move to a Development role asap. She said that 1) it would be much harder to shift from QA to Dev after 2 – 3 years of experience in QA and 2) QA did not offer any future/career path. She also added a few more thoughts to reinforce these statements based on her "extensive" experience.

The novice engineer is now confused and begins to seriously consider following his relative’s suggestion. In any case she would know better since she has 6 years or so of work experience. That seems like a lot of experience in the eyes of a fresher.

I happened to meet this engineer and wasn't in the least bit surprised at the advice or the naiveté. This is a typical phenomenon  wherein well meaning relatives or friends provide advice that is factually incorrect. I personally know QA engineers with > 3 years experience who have moved to Developer roles with little extra effort. Of course, not every QA engineer can move to Development nor would the reverse be true too. There are skill and knowledge requirements that need to be met when moving across functions. And, in terms of career path I and several of my colleagues can attest to the fact that there is indeed some sort of career path in QA too. It isn't all bleak and hopeless as it is made out to be. The other point to note for the newer folks is that someone with 6 or 7 years of experience isn't really an epitome of knowledge. Believe me, I am now in my eighteenth year in the industry and I realize there’s so much more to learn and know. It is humbling and exciting at the same time. I know colleagues who have 30+ years of experience and realizing that there’s so much more to know. When I look back at my past when I was around 6 – 8 years of experience, I realize how little I actually knew then in comparison to where I am today. Of course, back then I thought I knew a lot more! I also realize that many years from now I would probably look at the current time frame and see how much I did not actually know now.  So, my dear fresh-to-the-industry colleagues, do listen to your relatives and friends and their well meaning advice. However, do some research of your own and be open to not following the herd. There is more than one way to succeed and you if are the philosophically inclined, more than one definition of success. 

This post first appeared on John Morrison's, please read the originial post: here

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Advice from well-meaning relatives or friends ….


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