Seeking career advice: moving from dev into QA?


#1

Hi everyone,

As my username indicates, I’m burning out! I’m a developer who with close to 10 years of software development experience but not all of it has been continuous, as I was pursuing another major
career track in academia (unrelated to tech) that didn’t pan out.

I realized recently that a lot of my stress and anxiety is tied to demands inherent in the type of work I do. I hate unreasonable expectations, vague/changing specs, bad development process.The thing is, these problems exist for so many developers everywhere. The perfect dev job is realistically not going to exist for me.

I’ve been thinking about applying to some QA Engineer positions and was wondering if other folks think this is a good idea?

I already write lots of automated tests for code I produce. I find it strangely satisfying. I like the fact that the work feels much more cut and dry: tests pass or fail, and I also really enjoy debugging (I’m a freak, I know). QA seems much closer to direct problem solving than development is. From what I can tell, there is a serious lack of QA people who can write decent code to build strong test suites and such, so I would have that going for me.

I’m looking for a way to stay connected to technology, because I like it and frankly I don’t have any other viable way to make a living. But I want it to be sustainable and I feel like continuing to be a developer isn’t going to last much longer.

Any general thoughts or experiences working in QA would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks.


#2

My story is a bit similar here. I am moving from Support Dev to QA.
Have done some manual testing and I’m trying to learn test automation.
I know there are people who look down on testing saying that going from dev > qa is a downgrade but I think testing is as equally important. I think you should go for it.

I’m attracted to testing as it’s analytical and troubleshooting. I enjoyed being a debugger in my support analyst roles.
I think being able to think from a developer perspective as a tester is also a great boon to have as you can appreciate testing the happy path vs the unhappy path - proving it works vs trying to think of all the ways to break it.

What I enjoyed so far in QA was mapping test cases to requirements… analysing the requirements and pointing out inconsistencies, filling out a requirements traceability matrix to prove the requirements had full test coverage, writing up test suits for phases based on previous phases and thinking up new suites. That said there is a lot of manual repetition in running the actual manual test cases but with a technical mindset you can find smarter ways to work and improve scripts and you’re better able to explain defects you find to the developers as you know what they need to know!


#3

Thanks for your message! Yes, QA is looked down upon but if taken seriously, it’s one of the most challenging and interesting roles, I think.

I’m a halfway decent programmer but I find development is too “noisy,” too full of the things that make me anxious and depressed. If it was just coding tasks, I could deal with that. It’s all the stuff around managing people’s expectations that drains me. I like what you said about moving form requirements to test cases: this seems like very compartmentalized work to me, something I can get a good handle on.

I’d be curious to hear from what kinds of challenges QA folks run into that might trigger anxiety and depression.


#4

Managing expectations is unavoidable in any job I think.There was the stress of estimating how long it would take for test suites to be tested. The anxiety of trying to figure out how to test application features and processes from front end only as there was no access for testers to the code.
And with the depression brain fog there was the issue of ending up with the wrong results attached to the wrong tests.
But that said, I prefer to stay in test over development/support work.