First Steps in IT: Is Software Testing the Gateway to a Career?
Welcome to another inspiring interview from the #TravelHeroes series! Today, we are excited to introduce you to Justyna – our Quality Assurance Specialist who embarked on a fascinating professional journey, transitioning from a chemist to a QA Specialist at WorkTrips.com.
Throughout our conversation, we will delve into her experiences, challenges, and successes. Justyna will share insights on finding the balance between work and personal life. We will also uncover the behind-the-scenes of her role as a QA Specialist and address the question of whether entering the IT industry and starting a career as a Software Tester is as challenging as it seems.
Prepare for a captivating story that illustrates how passion and determination can unexpectedly reshape a career path. Are you ready for an inspiring journey? Let’s begin!
MATEUSZ: What was your first job?
JUSTYNA: The first one? I was selling creams and perfumes at a stand in the Poznań Malta Gallery:)
MATEUSZ: How old were you?
JUSTYNA: 18-19? I liked that job! The first paycheck tasted amazing!
MATEUSZ: How did your professional journey at WorkTrips.com begin?
JUSTYNA: Well, it’s an unbelievable story!
MATEUSZ: Tell me!
JUSTYNA: In reality, I stumbled upon WorkTrips.com through YouTube! At that time, a lot was happening in my life, and I had just quit my previous job as a chemist. I wanted to switch to the IT industry, specifically envisioning myself as a Tester. I had already passed the ISTQB exam by then and believed that I would conquer the IT world soon. I was searching for a company that would give opportunities to people without much professional experience, a place where I could learn. I think everyone who wanted to enter IT knows that it’s not an easy path. One day, I participated in a webinar featuring a very experienced Tester who talked about the profession. During the webinar, I asked a question in the chat, where there were plenty of other questions as well!
MATEUSZ: So, what was that question?
JUSTYNA: What should someone do who switched industries and is looking for a job as a tester, when every job posting requires commercial experience? I don’t know how, but my question, among the many others in the chat, reached the host, who answered it. She asked if I was from Poznań, and I am! Then she asked me to send her my CV, which she reviewed, and then she suggested what I should change and emphasize.
MATEUSZ: And what were those changes? What did you alter in your CV?
JUSTYNA: In my previous job, besides being a chemist, I was involved in system validation and quality, so she suggested that this should be the first point in my CV. In a way, my previous job had some common elements with the tasks testers handle :).
MATEUSZ: Alright, but what does this webinar have to do with WorkTrips.com :)?
JUSTYNA: That very mentor gave me contact information for WorkTrips.com! Specifically, for Michał Błaszak, who at the time was responsible for the tester department. It seems like I was well recommended as a good material for a specialist :)! After reviewing my application, I was invited to the recruitment process. I went through two stages, and it worked out! I started working as a Junior Software Tester.
MATEUSZ: You’ve been quite lucky in this story.
JUSTYNA: Yes, a lot! Perhaps the luckiest part was that this mentor picked my question out of hundreds and decided to help me!
MATEUSZ: How do you assess the current possibilities of entering the IT field through testing? Is it easier or harder?
JUSTYNA: When I was trying to break into the industry, there were about 100 candidates for one position. Now there are many more, which makes it more challenging. Another aspect is that testing is often seen as the easiest entry path into IT. Only later do people seek a change, another specialization, like back-end, front-end, or another path. I have the impression that it’s difficult for people who genuinely have a tester’s mindset and don’t intend to shift their career path to becoming programmers.
MATEUSZ: Do you have that tester’s mindset? Do you want to keep doing it, or are you already considering a career in programming? 🙂
JUSTYNA: I don’t see myself as a programmer! I enjoy testing! 🙂 However, there are several areas in IT that I wasn’t aware of, and thanks to my work at WorkTrips.com, I know them now! 🙂
MATEUSZ: What exactly are you referring to?
JUSTYNA: For example, working with clients is something very interesting. Currently, I have the opportunity to perform such tasks, and I really enjoy them 🙂
MATEUSZ: I understand, so combining business with technology is what you’ll be doing in 5 years? 🙂
JUSTYNA: We’ll see, maybe! (laughs)
MATEUSZ: How long have you been at WorkTrips.com, and what are you currently working on?
JUSTYNA: I’ve been working here for over two years, currently in the position of QA Specialist. I deal with testing changes entering our system, implementing corrections, as well as communicating with clients and solving the problems they report.
MATEUSZ: What does this client interaction look like for you?
JUSTYNA: Those are cases assigned by our CTO. Most often, it’s about checking whether what a given client expects is feasible, or if we need to make more substantial changes, which takes more
time than ad-hoc assistance.
MATEUSZ: What would you say is the biggest challenge in your role?
JUSTYNA: It’s hard to say. I guess customer reports, as it involves multiple threads and issues, and I try to analyze each one from A to Z, and then provide the client with information about what happened, how they can solve the problem, or how we as a company can help them.
MATEUSZ: Which project/tasks have you been most focused on lately?
JUSTYNA: Over the past few weeks, definitely working on the insurance module. We’re constantly refining the process of customers purchasing insurance. We want this module to be functional not only for users but also for our Customer Support department.
MATEUSZ: Alright, I understand. Are there tasks in your work that frustrate you the most? Are there any that you find challenging to approach with enthusiasm?
JUSTYNA: I don’t have that feeling of waking up in the morning saying, “Ugh, work again,” which I used to experience. In fact, there’s no task that I have to force myself to do.
MATEUSZ: I don’t believe that! There must be something like that!
JUSTYNA: If I had to point out something, it might be the repetitiveness of regression tests, but that’s just part of a tester’s life. It involves conducting the same tests every three weeks to check specific elements. However, we’re working on implementing automated tests, which are already partially functional, so in our next conversation, I won’t have an answer to that question :).
MATEUSZ: How is working in the travel industry, or rather, travel-tech?
JUSTYNA: As for me, I have to admit that I’m not much of a traveler 🙂 However, working on product development in the travel industry is like discovering the unknown for me. I really like our product, and I know it’s very useful. I had a chance to go on a business trip once, so I know that managing this process without the tools we create can be cumbersome.
MATEUSZ: Moving on to the next question, what’s your best memory related to WorkTrips.com?
JUSTYNA: I think it’s my first release that I was involved in.
MATEUSZ: Alright, why that one? 🙂
JUSTYNA: I came to WorkTrips.com as a newcomer, without experience in the IT or travel industry, so almost everything was new to me. During the initial team meetings, there were moments when I didn’t understand what they were talking about (laughs). I tackled the first tasks with a lot of support from my team colleagues. I felt stressed because I was afraid that something might not go as planned due to potential mistakes on my part. That feeling, when everything went according to plan during that release, brought me a lot of joy and pushed me toward growth and exploring new areas. I gained more self-confidence.
MATEUSZ: How do you maintain a work-life balance?
JUSTYNA: I definitely pay attention to that. I try to maintain work-life balance, especially since I work remotely full time, which requires certain rituals to help separate my private life from my professional one.
MATEUSZ: What do these rituals look like? 🙂
JUSTYNA: I use a feature on my watch that reminds me to step away from the computer every hour. I get up and take a short break. Even a few minutes can refresh my mind. Another rule I follow is not having work emails on my phone and not using my work computer after working hours. Taking care of my physical condition is also important to me. Working in IT involves many hours in front of a computer, so physical activity is crucial here.
MATEUSZ: So, sports, what do you train?
JUSTYNA: Yoga and running 🙂
MATEUSZ: How do you deal with stress in your job? Do you get stressed?
JUSTYNA: I don’t experience such situations often. I think it’s natural for a person to sometimes feel stressed at work. If you’re dedicated to your tasks, care about what you’re doing, and want to do it as best as you can, stress is a part of that. In my case, it doesn’t work negatively.
MATEUSZ: What do you dedicate your time to after work? How do you pursue your passions?
JUSTYNA: Often, it’s sports. The yoga and running I mentioned earlier, but also speedway 🙂
MATEUSZ: Are you racing on a motorbike!?
JUSTYNA: No, no! More like being a spectator 🙂 I really enjoy this sport and I’m quite engaged in the community. I used to organize speedway competitions, conduct interviews with riders; I was an active participant in that community. I’m less involved now, but I still attend matches and keep track of result tables 🙂
MATEUSZ: Where did this passion come from?
JUSTYNA: I’m from Bydgoszcz, and speedway is a big part of everyday life there. My grandfather took me to a match once, and I really enjoyed it. Plus, everyone at home used to watch speedway.
MATEUSZ: Now for a science-fiction question :), what would you say to yourself in 2005? 🙂
JUSTYNA: “You have no idea what’s going to happen”
MATEUSZ: That sounds ambiguous, but I sense a positive undertone to that sentence, right? 🙂
JUSTYNA: Yes, absolutely :).
MATEUSZ: Alright, wrapping up the conversation, tell me about your most recent trip. What destinations do you choose for your vacation?
JUSTYNA: I spent my last vacation in Tunisia, and as for destinations, my dream is to visit South Korea.