From constructors to QA department, or is there life after the factory?
Most of us have a friend who is dissatisfied with the chosen profession and perceives hikes to work as obligation and duty. And it is possible that you are the very dissatisfied. The question arises: "What to do about it?". In this article I want to tell how he overcame such complexity. Looking ahead, I will say that the efforts have justified themselves: instead of condemning myself to the designer’s fate at the factory, I work as a QA engineer in an IT company. Maybe it will motivate someone.
Life to chance
In his youth, few people think about what he really wants from life and what he wants to become. So I did not think and did not know. After school I entered a technical college for a specialty “Design and production of radio equipment”. What it is, I imagined weakly; all that lured me there was a military department, an image of cheerful students and the opportunity to become an engineer, like mom and dad, because I myself was not very interested.
The study was really fun, there was little interest in classes, and I studied so that I could pass at least something at least somehow. By the third and fourth year, I already had an idea about the chosen profession, but what will happen in practice - yes, the devil knows it.
A diploma defense was approaching. Since I entered the target area, I was attached to the plant to which my graduate supervisor sent me.
The plant made an impression on me of a terrible, forgotten god place, where people are unhappy, but do nothing to change it, because it has always been like this. A lonely technologist granny playing with her checkers in a dirty, dark corner of one of the workshops could have had nightmares if I had not asked her the way and thus was not convinced that she was talking and in general was a living person.
Although this and other photographs were taken in the abandoned workshops of the plant, they nevertheless convey the atmosphere of the decay reigning there. Source: urban3p.ru
At the factory, they helped me with writing a diploma, showed me some developments, plunged into the specifics of the device, which I later used to study in my thesis work. The communication was established, although they treated me with disbelief - the company was a regime, all materials were protected.
New world. Imaginary sense of necessity
I have a characteristic feature: when I get a challenge and I clearly see a goal, I give the maximum result. Therefore, despite mediocre studies, I received a diploma of “excellent”, which impressed the factory engineers who were on defense. There were job offers. I chose the very plant from which I received the target direction. I was not obliged to work for them, but they helped me with a diploma and called me too. The conclusion was one: they need me.
At the plant, a young specialist like me should dream of starting a product, that is, knowing it completely and being one of the main responsible persons in the event of any question. To do this, it was necessary to increase its category, and the increase in the engineer category is connected only with the length of service. So I studied in the magistracy and worked out the experience - first as a technologist, then as a designer.
The work was as follows. I received applications with faults from the workshop: something does not work, does not fit, holes were drilled there, screws were not screwed, etc. There were changes of a different kind, the so-called modernization, when the elements on the board cannot be ordered anymore, or are needed more and more powerfully, the hull structure needs to be recycled, etc. I studied the applications, watched huge folders with drawings from the archive, checked, found the reasons and drew a new drawing or part of the drawing, where it was shown what to replace.
After I made the change notice, it was necessary to coordinate it with my boss (chief designer), collect six signatures from people from different departments and reconcile, but with the customer. Customers in defense enterprises are military people, and it’s very hard to prove something to them if you’re not a student in their eyes.
So I was doing uninteresting things for me, sitting in the papers. All this time, two of my best friends each time we met told me: “Send us your testing. Here is the literature, blogs - read, look, try! ”. And I kept saying that I was a proud engineer, that I worked for the defense industry, that everything would be fine, that I LIKE. In those moments I was fooling myself. I was unhappy and was splurging myself.
Preparing for a change
Two years have passed, I again defended my diploma as “excellent” and received a master's degree. In my thoughts all: "Finally, the category will be assigned, the product will be given, I will develop, I am an engineer." But instead, they told me that there was a reduction at the plant, and a master’s degree means an increase in my salary, which the company cannot afford. That's how I really needed me.
I was sad not for long, because this incident opened my eyes: I really didn’t like it all. He did his job with high quality, gave all of himself, but there is no tangible result and no necessary challenges for me.
That's when I remembered about testing. Again I talked with friends who advised me about the profile literature:
- Roman Savin. "Testing Dot Com, or the Handbook on abuse of bugs in Internet startups"
- Sam Kaner, Jack Falk, Yeung Nguyen. “Software Testing. Fundamental concepts of business application management "
- Mikhail Portnov's blog and video courses
An old sense of a tangible goal returned to me - during the reading I never thought that I didn’t want and didn’t see any reason to read it.
While reading, I began to notice a bunch of similarities between testing and the Quality Control Department (Technical Control Department) at the plant. The department worked guys who wrote me statements about changes or shortcomings in the products, and I had to study them and propose a solution. At that time, I often went to their department and looked at how they carried out tests: climatic, acceptance tests, mechanical strength, vibration resistance, etc. I saw how people fought for quality, burned their business, felt responsibility, and it seemed interesting to me.
I was already familiar with factory-scale testing, and software creation is also a production, where the process is adjusted similarly to what I have already seen and know.
The months went by. I thoroughly dig in the theory of testing and QA, I learned what methods a particular type of software is being tested, and presented how I would test this or that functionality. But here's the problem: a man without experience. I didn’t want to return to the factory, although I went to interviews at different production companies. Oh, and I heard enough about myself there! Factory workers - simple and without a sense of tact, so much so that the phrase “Yes, you are not even worth 10 thousand” was uttered by them directly to my eyes. Violent jokes about gays - I have tattoos, which for some people is a sign of gay is amazing - and the other dirty things that I had to listen to were the last straw. At the first plant, by the way, there were also tricks about this, but discreet ones - they already knew me from the professional side.
Walking around the interviews did not give any result. "We will call you back" - everything that I heard after each hike or phoned on Skype. But after each interview I received invaluable experience, and those questions that I could not answer, wrote down and studied, becoming stronger in terminology.
After another unsuccessful interview, one of my friends called me, talking to me about testing. This time he called me for an interview: according to the personal development plan, he needed to find and train an intern.
I was brought up to date, told what the company does (mobile technology, Android, iOS, web) and what kind of person they need. Then he began to ask basic questions from the field of testing. And only then I realized that my knowledge of software testing terminology was not a key factor in choosing a candidate for this position. The key was to find out if I can cope, join the team, whether it is easy to train me, etc. The logic was: why hire a specialist without fire in his eyes?
After a series of interviews, the company chose me. Other candidates were either too constrained, which threatened difficulties in communicating, or requested too high a salary. I was attracted by the projects on which they worked. I have always been interested in technology: I was an experienced PC and Android user, every day I looked at different materials about the mobile, reflashed my smartphones, reinstalled anything and everything.
They immediately explained to me that I would not be a classic tester, but I would develop exactly as a QA engineer. This is not a performer who receives the assembly, tests it, fixes bugs, throws off the report and is released until the next build. I will be required to dive into the project, lead it (what I sought at the plant), propose solutions that will be understandable and convenient for the user, improve the logic of applications, work in a team, develop, implement processes in the production of software to improve quality.
At the factory, the phrase “to work” was often a quality indicator. In the development studio strive for maximum quality on each project. Daily Challenge is what I always wanted, what motivated me.
Now I am professionally engaged in testing / QA-engineering in the mobile development studio Live Typing , I have already passed a trial period and are working on complex and large-scale projects. In addition to QA, I began to study the principles of management, design, development (after all, no one canceled autotests) and I am writing this article in the end. Every day I meet new problems, I understand who does what, I understand the software life cycle and trust me.
I do not argue, someone really likes to work in production, I know such people and they are fine. But I was unhappy, I felt that I was doing something wrong. The main thing is either to catch yourself on this thought in time, or to thank the fate for a kick in the ass, as was the case in my case. Otherwise, at some point it will be too late to begin the life in which you exist in harmony with your work. And this is perhaps the meaning of my article.
If you have your own stories about such throwing and solving this problem, then it will be interesting for me to read them in the comments.