How to Enter QA With a Non-Technical Degree

Lewis Prescott

QA Lead at CeraCare


Applying in Tech with a Non-Technical Background

I entered the tech world with a non-technical degree in psychology. At the time of my graduation, I had no idea that my current role existed. However, when I was applying to graduate programs, I learned that I was testing already and noticed there were many transferable skills from my job as first line support. I applied for one of these positions as they didn’t require a computer science degree and ended up with my first role in testing.

My Roles in the QA World

Taking My First Role in Testing:

My first role was at a software testing consultancy. They taught us the basics of being a tester and discussed practical skills such as test automation and agile principles. At the time, I couldn’t get my head around computer programming – it was like a foreign language to me. I didn’t make progress on my coding abilities until I was able to program in my direct role.

One of my first programming coaches told me I shouldn’t come to them for help until I was stuck on the problem for at least half a day. After challenging myself with this system, I learned that around the three-and-a-half-hour mark, I solved the problems. If I had sought help from my coach after thirty minutes, I wouldn’t have gone on the journey to find the solution myself.

Joining a Startup:

Later in my career, I joined a startup where I was introduced to a whole new way of working. At this company, I was no longer writing test code but also writing code that would make it into production, this was using test-driven development. Working in a cross-functional team opened up even more opportunities for me.

Pairing with developers improved my programming and quality of code. Previously, I didn’t take as much care about the quality of my code. As long as I could perform the tests, I felt my job was complete. However, when my code started to make it into production, I had to improve my ability and write high-quality code.

Becoming a QA Lead:

Within my career, roles included test analyst, Senior QA engineer, Software developer in test, and QA Automation Lead. Within these roles, I have experienced many production issues (some caused by myself) and seen plenty of complex software problems. Dealing with these challenges and stressful situations has made me into the leader I am today.

Key Takeaways

  • Nothing is perfect. Instead, it is necessary to put in the amount of time and effort to achieve the desired level.
  • Rather than just learning about the tools, learn “why” you should use the tools. Understand the theory behind your actions and learn how to apply that in your role.
  • Working in various experiences and environments allowed me to look at problems from many different perspectives. I believe that this has improved my problem-solving abilities.

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Lewis Prescott

QA Lead at CeraCare

ProgrammingSoftware Development

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