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Learn how to be an advocate for your own well-being by taking charge of your career and staying engaged and involved at work.

Software testing or any career can become boring over time—if you let it. Once you’re past the learning stage, it can be difficult to stay engaged with your work. It’s neither healthy nor interesting to do the same thing for eight or more hours per day, year in and year out without a positive level of engagement.

Consider that currently more than 60% of employees are disengaged at work. Stress levels are high and most employees report being exhausted, sluggish and burned out with little or no connection with coworkers or the organization. Granted, things are happening in the world that add to feelings of anxiety and stress outside the workplace including expressions of hate, prejudice, geopolitical instability, warfare, mass shootings, layoffs, rising costs and homelessness—to name a few.

One cannot control all environmental factors affecting work engagement, mood and an overall sense of well-being. One thing you can control is your belief in, advocacy for and engagement in your career and work as a QA tester. Empower your QA testing by taking ownership of your well-being regardless of the stage of your QA career. After all, a career is a long time to be miserable. Enjoy your work by staying engaged.

This guide discusses how to be an advocate for your own well-being by taking charge of your career and staying engaged and involved at work.

Learn to Accept & Thrive with Constant Change

Working as a QA tester within software development means learning to accept and thrive in an environment that constantly changes. In most software development groups, time is of the essence and work can become time-stressed and highly pressurized.

Everything changes. Development methodologies change sometimes literally overnight. Delivery schedules, versions, hotfixes, changing test requirements—all of it adds up to constant change. QA testers are always adapting to a new task, tool or process.

Constant change happens for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your organization is restructuring, cost-cutting through layoffs, or constantly adding new tools to increase efficiency. Regardless of the forces causing change, remain open. Positive changes are easier to accept and adapt of course. Negative changes are harder to swallow, but you must realize that most changes are outside of your control. What you can control as a QA tester is your response to, and attitude toward, change.

Think of change as an opportunity to learn new skills, tools and even processes. Staying actively engaged in your QA career depends on your ability to navigate change. Stay open and stay involved—leverage non-positive change into a catalyst for providing a new idea or solution.

Why a Positive Attitude Helps Engagement

Positive persistence. There are three types of QA testers: Positive, Negative and Unresponsive. During a QA testing career, many testers start with a positive, go-getter attitude that sometimes becomes negative or unresponsive (disengaged). As a QA tester, you can recognize them in your coworkers, but what about yourself?

Positive thinking doesn’t mean you’re happy-go-lucky at work every day. Being positive as a QA tester means you are opting to use the power of being positive to take charge of your career. As a QA tester, your influence is greater when you work at leading by example. Build your career by acting as a positive role model who insists on excellence.

In other words, if you run into difficulties during your QA testing career, don’t give up. Take the time to learn, encourage, teach and inspire discussions with team members. Talk about solutions to QA team issues, and changes to procedures—even if they get turned down by management.

Team members who cultivate a positive, forward-thinking attitude can level up their careers and be noticed by managers and leaders within the business. If not the current business you work for, then perhaps another. People change jobs including leaders and managers. Your next great job may be because of your attitude and its positive effect on others.

Maybe you won’t lead a full-scale QA resistance and take over quality management by fixing all the defects in the software. But perhaps consider giving it your all to find, report and track software defects. Pursue software application quality until you can’t pursue it any longer. Don’t give up, stay positive. Positive persistence is a valuable skill.

The Engaging Effects of Knowledge Sharing & Mentorship

Level up by providing information unconditionally. Now, obviously not corporate secrets or other confidential information. But consider opening up to teammates and sharing your knowledge and experience about software testing, tools and technology. Seems so simple, but sharing information and experience is often difficult because people see it as sharing your skills. By sharing your skills, many believe you become less qualified as you improve the skills of team members.

Sharing your QA testing knowledge and expertise does not diminish your personal testing skills. Instead, you may find yourself remembering techniques that you’d forgotten or by training others you think of something new to improve testing. By training others, you create an integrated team that works comfortably together. QA teams that are more aligned perform more productively and efficiently. Level up your QA career by developing and presenting QA training or mentoring new employees.

Never Underestimate the Power of Communication & Connection

Even when you’ve soured on QA software testing, or you’ve turned into a testing robot, it’s important to stay connected and communicate. Good or exceptional written and oral communication skills come in handy when describing steps to reproduce for a defect or convincing a committee to fix a bug.

Connection and communication skills also mean being part of a group. There are several professional testing groups that hold group meetings in person or online. You can use them to build a network, learn new skills or look for a job that engages you.

Communication skills also help you get the most out of your software development team. Communicating with developers, product managers and UI/UX designers can be challenging. Why? Because each role has different goals to meet, and they aren’t necessarily the same. Additionally, different roles are thinking about what they need, not what you need as a QA tester. You need to be able to communicate what you want or need as a tester.

Even if you are disengaged and have lost your enthusiasm for work, try to cultivate and foster positive working relationships with your peers. Building relationships may help encourage your re-engagement as you build trust and become part of the QA group.

Your Passionate Advocacy—Taking Charge of Your Career

Nearly every QA testing professional goes through periods where they feel unmotivated and uninterested in work—especially when you feel your work efforts are taken for granted or ignored. If you feel your work is going unnoticed, start proactively advocating for yourself.

Make sure you shine a light on your accomplishments but do it with humility and grace. Don’t use your accomplishments to criticize or degrade a coworker. Respect between peers goes a long way in creating a lasting QA testing career. Don’t burn bridges you may need to cross in the future if you can avoid it.

For example, say you’ve just completed learning a new codeless test automation tool. Do a quick demo to show what you’ve been able to script and how it helps the team. Invite peer review through comments and feedback. Train others in the tool and the test script design techniques you’re using.

Yes, QA testing work can be boring at times if you let it. You are likely not going to be enthusiastic about working every day. With all that goes on in the world around us from global tensions, warfare, mass shootings and economic stresses, it’s no wonder QA testers become overwhelmed and disengaged. Take time to prioritize your personal and professional needs, communicate, share and participate fully. Staying engaged is a good way to move ahead in your career and life. You’re here, enjoy it!

Need a codeless test automation tool for your QA testing team? Consider using Telerik Test Studio and get your team engaged and involved.

About the Author

Amy Reichert

A QA test professional with 23+ years of QA testing experience within a variety of software development teams, Amy Reichert has extensive experience in QA process development & planning, team leadership/management, and QA project management.  She has worked on multiple types of software development methodologies including waterfall, agile, scrum, kanban and customized combinations. Amy enjoys continuing to improve her software testing craft by researching and writing on a variety of related topics. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cat management and the outdoors.


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