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3 minute read - Dear Evil Tester Career Advice

Dear Evil Tester "I want to keep my testing skills up to date otherwise I might not get another job"

Sep 6, 2016

Following on from the ‘How do I learn ‘automation’?" question. We had to ask questions to see what they would do with this newly learned ability to automate. And because they want to perform ongoing work and this is part of their learning plan we can answer.

I want to keep my testing skills up to date

This is great. You have a job, use it.

If your job doesn’t offer you the opportunity to work with certain technologies or approaches -

  • we don’t test mobile,
  • we don’t do performance testing,
  • etc.

… then use your work to identify the gaps that you want to fill.

You can still ‘use’ work to help you fill those gaps:

  • in lunch hours,
  • your commute,
  • asking for training in those areas,
  • have your company send you to conferences,
  • speak at conferences so the company has a secondary gain of ‘promotion’
  • finding people at work that do those things and quizzing them as you study - pairing etc.

Use your work as much as you can.

If you are a manager and want to ’learn automation’ or become more technical then you are in an even better position…

  • work more closely with your staff, pair with them
  • organise lunch time knowledge sharing sessions
  • use the budget to buy in books
  • use the budget for in-house training
  • prototype the adoption of different approaches and tools

Change the way you work, so that your work also works for you.

You have more time available to you since you are still at work, you don’t have the “must get a job fast” need to meet. You can use all the steps listed in “If you have no job in mind” and “If you have a better job in mind”.

Follow up on the resources, build a portfolio gradually.

Find the learning approach that works best for you:

  • experimentation
  • reading
  • watching videos
  • learning from others (peers, meetup groups, etc.)

And use it.

The simple fact is: staying up to date, and improving your skills, takes work.

It is very easy for us to become distracted away from our own development at work as we concentrate on the project and the business.
The key thing to do is to keep track of your own development and keep pushing your development forward either to address your gaps or to pursue your interests.

Read more in the other ‘Extended Answers’:

For funny and thought provoking “Dear Evil Tester”" answers, read the book.