Four Ways to Keep Testing Skills Sharp During the Pandemic

TestRail, self taught software tester

This is a guest post by Nishi Grover Garg.

The global pandemic has many of us wondering about our job situation. There is insecurity and fear in every industry, and many workers are already bearing the brunt of layoffs or pay cuts. If you are in the same boat, you might be thinking about a career move soon enough.

But with most people working remotely, how do you prepare a skill set that is up to date for the testing industry? You need to take charge of your own training. Here are some tips to upskill yourself as a tester, now or anytime in the future.

1. Read

It sounds obvious, but it may not be so to everyone. There are hundreds of books available on all things testing, with more every day, so there’s sure to be something useful to you.

And in today’s day and age, reading does not only imply books. There are a number of blogs, community websites, and newsletters you can subscribe to for the latest articles and write-ups on various new technologies, tools, frameworks, and methods.

Take some time each day to read select articles that interest you and explore what new developments are happening in the industry. You must strive to learn things beyond what you are already doing and the technology that you are already using at work. If you can spare just 15 minutes a day to read your favorite journals, articles, or blogs, you will feel more a part of the industry beyond your own team and company.

2. Leverage online learning

There is no dearth of online courses or learning materials on any technology or tool you want to explore. There are numerous websites, forums, and YouTube channels that offer free content, step-by-step tutorial guides, and training related to software testing. You can start your learning journey with any one of them and continue to explore along the way.

Renowned industry leaders offer their expertise and knowledge in free or paid courses that you can attend online. If live training is not your jam, go ahead and find a self-paced video course. Some of them even offer you a completion certificate once you clear the quiz at the end. You can proudly display it on your LinkedIn or other professional profiles to showcase your skills to recruiters.

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3. Connect and network

Connections and networking matter a lot in a job search. Even though in-person encounters aren’t possible right now, you can leverage the online avenues of connecting and networking like attending online free meetups, conferences, and webinars. There are many learning and engaging events that you can participate in to connect with other like-minded people. You can also get involved by helping organize these functions or starting your own group event or meetup.

Our emails are flooded with free webinars and other demos we can watch, and there are opportunities for networking there, too. This is a good time to learn about the tool or technology you have been wanting to learn, connect with the speaker or company offering the demo, and get good offers on commercial licenses or additional information for your learning and exploration.

Since we cannot meet up face to face, this time demands that we stay active online, leverage our social media platforms for good (for once!), and make use of our connections to get that referral or guidance we need.

4. Introspect

A change in career can be daunting and a big decision to make. Use this opportunity for introspection and determine what you really want. Is your job fulfilling you? Does it excite you enough? Do you see yourself working in the same field in the coming years? If not, this might be a good time to switch it up.

You can make use of this time to really think about your interests and try to change the course of your career in the direction you’ve dreamed of. If you have been stuck in a functional testing role for a while and have always wanted to learn about white box testing, take some time to explore it. Once you feel confident in your new skills, add them to your profile and apply for the SDET role that excites you!

Whatever your situation, it’s important to stay encouraged and have hope in your job search. Things may be uncertain right now, but the coming years will be much better and bring lots of opportunities to grow! Hang in there, and keep learning.

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Nishi is a corporate trainer, an agile enthusiast, and a tester at heart! With 11+ years of industry experience, she currently works with Sahi Pro as an Evangelist and Trainings Head. She is passionate about training, organizing testing community events and meetups, and has been a speaker at numerous testing events and conferences. Check out her blog where she writes about the latest topics in Agile and Testing domains.

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