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Software testing jobs for freshers -- too good to be true?

Software testers just can't get respect, especially if they're fresh out of college and working at a startup. Testing expert Gerie Owen offers career-saving advice.

I joined a 12-person startup as its first QA engineer as my first job out of college. I am unpleasantly surprised not only by the lack of a development process, but also by the disdain that everyone has toward testing. Can my job be saved?

It's not unusual for new companies with small, tightly-integrated teams to "just wing it." And who wouldn't want to answer an ad for "software testing jobs for freshers?" But it's likely that they never had built a company before and believe that idealism, creativity and effort trumps process.

Sometimes it does, but usually not. In truth, it's a combination of creativity, effort and process that most often produces definitive results. Inexperienced teams often expend a great deal of effort in building what they believe is to be a truly great piece of software, except to find out that the software was poorly conceived, indifferently implemented and pretty much undocumented.

That doesn't mean that you made a mistake in the choice of your first professional job. Startups can be exciting and energetic places to work, and you will carry the experience with you for the rest of your career. I applaud you for making such a choice.

The way that you can get their positive attention is to demonstrate the value of testing to the company's goals. This may be by finding a bug that would have caused significant problems if it had reached the market or by bringing in tools that help streamline and automate testing. Anything that speeds up your job, or saves the product from itself in the market, will get noticed right away.

And those are also skills that can help you in your next job and throughout your career. Anytime that you can make a real difference with your work is when you demonstrate value.

Regrettably, software testing jobs for freshers aren't the kind of opportunities that lend themselves to process building. You probably won't make a good impression if you try to build a testing or ALM process. Clearly, process isn't yet a priority at your company, and to your colleagues and management that might seem like made-up work. They will need to do that at some point to be successful, but at the beginning the most important thing is to get a compelling product out the door. But they hired a tester for a reason, and it's up to you to justify their decision.

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