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Learn why a QA tester network is essential for career growth, the skills involved and how to build a network with a proactive career plan.

Our personal and professional networks serve a similar function—they connect us to others. We make connections through work as well as social events, book clubs, athletic teams and even gym workouts—in any number of ways. Connections are a positive part of being human. Connections are useful for our personal lives and essential for our professional lives.

Within our personal and professional networks, we share learning, experiences, thoughts and ideas. For professional QA testers, a tester network of QA engineers, analysts, SDETs and others is essential to building a strong, well-planned and resilient career.

This guide describes why a QA tester network is essential for career growth, the skills involved and how to build a network with a proactive career plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Why is creating a QA tester network important?
  • What are the basic networking skills needed?
  • How do you create a QA tester network?
  • Networking as part of a proactive career plan.
  • Find out how to successfully leverage a QA tester network.

Why is Creating a QA Tester Network Important?

Creating a QA tester network is important to building and planning your career path. With an active network, you create contacts that help with:

  • Finding a new job – Up to 85% of new roles are found within a network
  • Finding a better job – Networks are created with an ever-changing group of people working at various companies.
  • Providing support – Networks provide professionals to test out ideas, theories or options.
  • Providing contacts and suggestions for career growth, roles or skill building – Share ideas, find valuable training with references and build skills.
  • Establishing yourself as a professional QA tester – Having a network of professionals helps to establish you as a professional with an active career.

Networking in the modern business world is important for developing a strong, resilient and flexible professional career.

Networks offer a chance to build genuine professional relationships and even mentorships within the QA testing industry. Moving to new roles or even moving up to higher level roles is easier with the support of a network of industry professionals. On a personal career level, network members also offer a way to compare your career progress with others active in the field. Comparing your career to others can help identify career and skill-level strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if others within your network are getting promoted to more advanced roles and you’re not, what’s the reason? Are you lacking some technical or leadership skills? Or do you need to look for a new company or role to expand? Perhaps it’s time to gain a certification in software testing or gain a new, more advanced testing certification?

Networks are important for career planning, support and to use as a measuring stick for career progress in a mutually supportive and positive manner.

What are the Skills Needed to Create and Maintain a Network?

The essential skills necessary to create, build, support and maintain an active professional network include:

  • Relationship building – Understanding how to attract network participants and build professional connections over time.
  • Communication – Being able to communicate effectively and professionally in person and online is critical.
  • Digital platform skills – Knowing how to use LinkedIn, Indeed and other social media and online career platforms helps to gain more exposure.
  • Creating a professional online presence – Developing a professional profile online creates credibility and trust with network members.
  • Career goals and a sense of entrepreneurship regarding managing a career – A take-charge attitude toward managing your career helps network members take you seriously as a professional QA tester.
  • Career development skills – Understanding how to find and use education, training, group conferences and seminars for developing skills. And providing support to other network members for the same or providing testing skill training or input on useful training or certification programs

With any networking, members must be honest but professional. Make sure to build relationships with current and even past co-workers. The better your network members know your work ethic and work history, the easier it is to stay connected. Remember networking is a two-way street. One cannot simply take feedback and never give any. Participate actively in your professional network to gain the most value for yourself and your professional network members.

How Do You Create a QA Tester Network?

You know you need a professional QA network, but how do you create one? Start by creating professional working relationships with current co-workers you resonate with. For example, start with QA managers or leads whose work and leadership styles you respect.

Include other team members who share the same work ethic as you and adhere to the same professional principles. Don’t just add people to increase the number of network team members. Add only the network members you respect on a professional level.

Remember, these are the network members you may ask for help finding a job or you may put in a positive reference for an opening within your company. Make sure your network members are people you’d want to work with. That said, there are advantages to adding credible network members you don’t know.

Successful professional networks are varied. You may find credible network members at the following:

  • QA club networking events
  • College alumni groups
  • Company-sponsored sports or athletic teams
  • QA testing conferences
  • Social events
  • Social media outlets for professionals

Your professional network is not restricted to only people you’ve worked with. You can invite anyone on LinkedIn to join your network, for example. You may learn of skilled professionals in development, product management or UX design you’d like to add. Send them a LinkedIn request to connect.

Current and former co-workers within your development team are likely the best network member options. However, it’s possible to meet and add professionals from reputable QA testing clubs or groups, someone you meet at a QA conference, or testers messaging you on LinkedIn or another professional career site. Remember members can always be removed if necessary.

Networking and Proactive Career Planning

Building and supporting an active QA testing career network is part of proactive career planning. Proactive career planning is a way to make your career more resilient. In other words, as a technology professional, you’ll more than likely experience a job loss during your career—but by using proactive career planning, you can make the job loss and finding a new job or career less stressful and possibly even a positive experience.

Being prepared reduces the stress of a job loss overall. You know what to do, where to go and what to expect. It’s empowering to know you’re ready at any time and prepared to act to move your career in a positive direction.

Preparing for a possible job loss also enables you the freedom to relax and review job postings in your field, gather the information you need and create new job documents without the added duress of being unemployed. Creating a professional network is an important part of proactively managing and planning your career. Make the most of building professional relationships and leverage them to keep up with new job postings, promotions, new skill development and a host of other career information and support.

Networking is important and remember it’s a two-way street. You get out what you put in. Remember to not only ask but give support, advice and career assistance when and where you can. Building a professional QA tester network makes your career less fragile because you have created an active support system for career growth. Take advantage of your network to keep your QA career moving forward.

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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