How to move from industrial engineering to software testing—interview with Tamara Ridi
Today’s guest is Tamara Ridi, an industrial engineer who recently successfully transitioned to software testing. Her experience can be especially relevant for other people with an engineering background who are looking to get their start in a tech career.
What is your background and how did it help you get started in testing?
I am an industrial engineer; I had previous jobs related to quality assurance (but always in industrial environments). This knowledge was helpful during the interview process, as I already have a quality mindset thanks to my previous experience.
How was your learning process and what resources did you use?
I had 6 interviews before getting the position. The company provided me with a list of topics to read about for each interview. Then they asked questions related to them and made me analyze some cases. I used a lot of Youtube videos, Microsoft Learn, websites and blogs. I did not learn about testing itself but content related to the topics that they asked me to read: mainly networking and Windows Server. For that, I found Eli the computer guy very helpful. He explains concepts related to Windows Servers.
What do you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had studied in a more structured way instead of jumping from one topic to another.
For someone still only considering this career, what would be the best topics to start with?
There are books specifically related to software tester positions, but I haven't read or need them; I am sure they have many important concepts about the role. In my case, I am reading a Windows Server 2012 book (because the service that my company offers interacts with it). Also, I think it would be useful to know about virtual environments, domain controllers, DHCP, TCP/IP, and other concepts about creating a lab.
How was the recruitment process at your current job?
I applied through a job platform on LinkedIn, then I had a group interview. On this occasion, they gave us a form to fill out with questions related to logic, math, network knowledge, and quality.
How does your normal day at work look?
I work on a project and my team leader gives me the tasks. I take a few hours a day to read some information, write my test plans, and discuss results, test cases, and different approaches with my leader. Some tasks may take days and others weeks.
What do you like the most?
I like working remotely very much. Also working for a specific task (or feature) is good and useful for me to focus.
What is the most challenging?
I think not having a background related to IT is very challenging for me. Also, communication in a remote environment is less personal and frequent.
What surprised you the most about this job?
It is a lot about finding your way to get to the root cause of an issue, which I found frustrating at the beginning, but now it pushes me to investigate, search, and learn every day.
Would you recommend this role and to whom?
I would recommend this job to people who are self-taught, focused on details, creative, curious, and of course interested in IT topics.
What long-term goals this job is helping you to achieve?
I would say working remotely.
Some final recommendations for people thinking about testing as a career?
Technical knowledge depends on what you are going to test, so I am going to say that to be curious: ask why and until you find the root cause, do not be afraid to apply for a position in a field in which you have no experience. Companies are most likely ready to teach you (or guide your learning) what you need to know.