I’m very pleased to run this third interview in our series and the second with our guest Aishwarya V from India.

She will tell us about her journey being a student and tester at the same time and how universities see testers.

Hope it will inspire a lot of you who are looking for some advice to start their career in testing with a student background.

You can read more about Aishwarya’s experience, background and how she started her tester journey in my previous interview with her:Being a Freelancer from Tester Perspective”

  1. Tell us about the usual undergraduate programmes offered to the science students by the universities in India ? 

The first program that comes to our mind is Engineering and the second thing that flashes our mind is programming. 

Yes.. you heard it right! I hear the word “coding” multiple times a day from my teachers and friends but I don’t even remember when was the last time I heard the word “Software testing” from the people at my university.

  1. Are teachers aware about software testing and the big demand for it? 

Not at all. Professors just have a vague idea about the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) model and its various steps. They just know that there is something called “Software testing” in the IT industry but have minimal knowledge about it.

  1. Are students familiar with software testing as a module? If yes, do you get a chance to test projects at university level? 

Forget about the university projects, I remember, the first time I gave a lecture in my class about “Software testing”, there were students coming to me and telling me that “this seems to be such an easy job. Just clicking buttons”. I was like “Are you kidding me? Do you know how it feels to spend hours testing a product and later the customers send you a new build to test and you understand all your energy is wasted?”.

  1. Is it common for freshly graduated computer science students to start their career as a tester and not a developer?

‘Smiling’ 🙂 I have seen half of the student population ending up in tech support jobs or call centre jobs after repeatedly failing in coding interviews as they are forcefully sent for development interviews. They can do wonders if they try getting into the testing field instead of breaking heads at the interviews for a developer position. It’s not like getting into testing is a cakewalk. The students should start preparing beforehand for it and only then they would get the job. With the word “beforehand” used here, I say the students should start working from their third year of graduation at least to fetch a good QA Engineer position in the industry with a reputed IT firm.

  1. How do universities see Software Testing? How can we improve the vision from universities’ side about software testing ? 

I am in my third year engineering right now and sadly I couldn’t even find a single module in any of the subjects dedicated to Software Testing in my course whereas there are 2 theory subjects as well as laboratory sessions dedicated only for programming every semester. Can you believe that? That means by the end of the course, I get to learn 4-5 programming languages but not even a single bit about Software Testing. I have attended guest lectures in my university where the guests repeatedly state the term “Coding for Life”. I feel this mindset is so wrong and this should be changed as “Learning for Life”. How I wish I could tell them this!! 😀

I have also seen universities including mine conduct Coding Hackathons and competitions. 

Why haven’t they thought anything about organising “Testing Hackathons”? 

I attended the “Testathon- A testing hackathon” organised by Global App Testing a few years back and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being a part of it. I was the youngest person to attend the hackathon and interacted with so many amazing people whom I am still in contact with. During the competition, I could figure out where I stand and how much I need to work hard by interacting with people who have a lot of experience and knowledge in this field.

  1. Can you tell me about the views that people usually have when they hear the word “Software Testing”?

I don’t know why but everyone feels that Software Testing is very easy and isn’t a very good career choice. They spread incorrect knowledge in public that this isn’t a good choice. I really can’t understand them as they keep spreading such fake views about something which they themselves aren’t aware of.  People should remember that they wouldn’t have been using any of the products available in the market, the websites/apps without us, the “Testers” . Both programming and testing have equal importance in the market and both work hand to hand. There is no use of Coding without Testing and vice versa.

  1. Do you think future testers are luckier if they take a deeper look into career goals from the university level itself?

I ask my seniors if they’ve started preparing for the interviews and thought of their career path and it’s highly sad that I receive replies that they haven’t thought about it yet and are still in “Will see what happens” mentality. There’s a lot of competition in the IT industry and the fittest (knowledgeable and skilled) will survive in this run. We should start thinking about our career and working towards it. That’s how by the end of the course you’ll be at least confident enough to face the interviews.

  1. Once students are aware about software testing, what are the triggers that could make them decide if they are that future brilliant programmer or tester or other position in the IT industry?

One thing we all need to keep in mind that not everyone can code and not everyone gets the interest to code. I have seen my teachers forcing students to practice coding but the students are either not interested or don’t understand the concepts and end up by hearting the programs which is just a waste of time and energy. I receive a lot of messages from students stating they are confused with their career. 

The first thing I suggest to them is to find out what fields are available in the IT industry and scope of every field. Google is a boon and we need to utilize it to the maximum. Read about every field in detail and try to relate it with your interest. If you have great management skills, you can try getting into the HR field. If you have great writing and editing skills or social media skills, you can get into digital marketing too.

  1. How do you stay motivated as a tester and don’t regret your choice?  

My freelance testing job keeps me very busy and active throughout the day. My love for testing is increasing day by day. I love learning new concepts and implementing them in my work. I take frequent breaks when I get overloaded with work, but I make sure such days I read articles and blogs which keeps me updated. Recently, I read a blog about “AI and testing” and that blew me away! Technology is getting better day by day!! The one best part of my work is that I can manage my university studies, my work- related meetings, university examinations and learning new automation tools very well without any issues. 

  1. From a student perspective and freelance tester how do you see the testing career growth? Is it always worth it? 

I have started getting job invites for the QA Engineer position already. But my goal is something else and I am working hard towards it. My freelance job teaches me something new everyday. I was a very bad game tester until 4 months back. I had tested a game a few months back and couldn’t even report a single bug which highly disappointed me!! I took it as a challenge and started spending more time testing gaming projects. Recently, in a game testing project I could report around 10 bugs which were mostly accepted as very valuable and exceptionally valuable too.  I can never regret getting into the testing field and it is absolutely worth it 😉

  1. Do you encourage undergraduate students to work as a freelance tester to have a closer look into testing before getting into it? Do you think they could have time combining both? 

Yes, why not? The only thing we need here is the urge to learn something new and not focus on earnings. And most importantly, PATIENCE.  I remember, my first project was an 8 hour project which paid me only 18 INR (0.24 USD). This was back in 2016 when I was in my 10th grade and I was so happy receiving it as I only focussed on the learning and it’s absolutely fine to earn less at the initial stage.  The next few projects, I failed miserably as I couldn’t even report a single issue. Later, boom!! no projects 😦 I sat and introspected myself and found out where I was going wrong. I started everything from scratch, worked harder and understood how poorly I framed the bug reports and today here I am a Gold rated functional tester and recently received an “Outstanding Community Contributor” award as Tester of the Quarter Q2 2020.  So please don’t focus on earnings. Focus on your learnings and earnings will automatically come to you.

  1. How were your initial days into Testing? Was it very easy or difficult?

I swear I struggled a lot and I am still struggling due to lack of resources. There was no one to guide me and I started feeling lost initially. I learnt everything staying up late nights, googling about words which I would’ve never really heard anytime before. Later, I joined different slack groups, started following communities and pages on twitter and linkedIn. That’s how I started interacting with people.

Now I make sure that no person goes through the struggle that I went through in my initial stages by guiding each and everyone  about “freelance testing” and how it changed my life 🙂

  1. Any other things you want to share with both IT students  and the testing community ?

IT students: Please don’t get into the trap that only getting into development can make your life. Yes, coding is important. It is used for automation too. But, there are so many fields other than development which can earn you equal respect and equal earnings. The sad part is that people fail to understand that not everyone is interested in coding and coding isn’t a cup of tea for everyone and forcing students would do no good to them. Please try to google and explore about various fields available in the IT field or talk to someone who’s into the IT field and you trust can give you the best suggestions. There are lots of fields like Software Testing (some aspects need a little coding), Cloud Computing, System Administrator, Customer Relationship Management/ Salesforce, Business Analysts which are equally interesting, can fetch you good work too and don’t require coding skills at all.

Testing Community: I have found out such amazing platforms and have met few amazing people in the community who are ever ready to guide people in spite of having a very busy schedule. They take the personal interest and hardwork in guiding you just to see your career become successful.  A small request to everyone to encourage the universities to start teaching modules about software testing. I have started it at my level but together we all can bring a greater change in society 🙂

I was, I am and I will be proud to be a Software Tester!! 😉

People who need any help in starting their freelance testing journey can connect to me at LinkedIn or Twitter 🙂 LinkedIn– and Twitter: @AishwaryaVish12

Thank you so much for taking part in this interview and sharing your thoughts from the inside. You are the great and unique example rare to find with such a double and strong hats being a tester and student at the same time. 

I encourage you to continue on your brillant journey. I’m sure this story will inspire lots of students who are not sure about their career being in the IT path.

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