Myth 1: I’m too old for an IT job
The IT industry has a young and agile perception. However, in the field of Software Testing, age can be an advantage. Older employees tend to demonstrate traits which are highly regarded by employers. They are stable and are less likely to switch jobs frequently, they understand the value of a quality product better; and they can be more tolerant to routine jobs.
Your skills and experience gained over the years sometime mean you can outperform younger less experienced workers. You will bring with you a new perspective and new ways to approach old problems.
The Truth: You’re not too old to become a Software Testing Analyst
Myth 2: I don’t have the technical background
While technical background can be advantageous in some cases, Software Testing doesn’t necessarily require you to be a computers guru. Most often, your previous experience in many other domains is a bigger advantage. Furthermore, most people were exposed to some aspects of quality control during their career, and were required to demonstrate good observation skills or carry out documentation of processes. These skills you picked up along the way are transferable to the Software Testing profession, and are more important than the technological know-how.
The Truth: The best Software Testers aren’t necessarily acclaimed technocrats, just as food or film critics aren’t always the best chefs or filmmakers. Common sense, motivation, and hard work will put you on track.
Myth 3: IT is complicated to learn
IT covers many topics and disciplines, some of which are indeed quite complicated, even though that is a subjective statement. However, getting into software testing is relatively easy for most people. If you have the the required mindset, ample common sense, a critic soul, and observation skills – you’re already on track. Unlike software development, within 4-6 months of training in software testing methods, and no college degree, you can be employable.
The Truth: Software Testing isn’t easy, but it isn’t about solving logarithms or calculating projectile motion.
Myth 4: I’ll have to commute to central London
Everything these days involves IT and software, and where there is software developed or implemented, there are software testers. You could be working in IT departments in insurance companies, financial firms, online gaming, aeronautics, chemistry, transportation, oil and gas, energy – the list is extensive.
It is true that most activity happens close to the bigger cities, but the same goes for the majority of the industry. Check out the classifieds for yourself, and you’ll see jobs from Basingstoke to Norwich, from Reading to Bristol.
The Truth: Software testers are on high demand in many companies across the UK, and not necessarily only in the IT centric companies such as Microsoft or IBM.
Myth 5: The competition is high from better qualified people
The IT industry is in shortage of workers and good quality employees are on demand and often qualifications are not as important in the job market competition. You will increase you chances to get the job if you prepare better for the interview. Learn what your target employer needs and convince the interviewer that you will best deliver them.
The Truth: The competition is high, but it is good preparation rather than diplomas that will improve your chances. Professional testers with the right passion and mindset will always be able to find a job. They are gold.
Myth 6: I won’t find a position in one industry after spending my entire career elsewhere
Software testers who come from a different industry offer a fresh perspective on tested systems. In addition, those who come from the same industry offer valuable years of experience and domain expertise. You can take those base skills acquired during your previous career, whether it is from accounting, nursing, teaching or marketing, and apply them to the IT industry.
The Truth: Your core skills interest companies most as they assess a your suitability. Your IT career may even be in the same domain.
Myth 7: In my new job I’ll be starting over as a junior
Most chances are that you will not start your new career as a senior manager. However, you are not the starter you were when you entered the job market. You gained professional wisdom and perspective over the years, as well as other skills that newbies can only dream of. Your status upgrade will happen quickly if you can market these assets while demonstrating your new professional skills.
The Truth: Whatever made you successful is transferable. Believe in it, and get ahead of younger competition.
Myth 8: A career change is risky
It would be a lie to claim otherwise, but this shouldn’t deter you from taking that step. Assessing risks is a core skill for a software tester, and you should give it some thought before leaving behind a stable career, and an aspect of your identity.
Remember that there are also risks associated with refraining from making a change you long for, because that desire will not burn out until you do something about it. Even if your plan is not yet fully laid out, taking the first step is important. If you see yourself starting to work in the IT industry, then getting certified as a software tester gives you the foundation for other areas as well.
The Truth: Before making any big decision, do some research. It is scary to change your career no matter what the economy status is like, but the IT job market is always in need, and there are companies hiring.