Around two months ago, almost exactly to the day, I found myself head in hands wondering what to do with my life. As someone who worked their entire life until having my son, the past few years have been incredible, but have left me wondering where the ‘real’ me went. Whilst you know, as a ‘mum to be’, that your life is about to change massively, I don’t think anyone can prepare you for exactly how much!
I was a community manager for a software company when I left to look after my son and I loved my job. Whilst social media is something that I’m good at and would ‘fit’, I didn’t feel it was the challenge I was after. Going back to work is so much more than the money for me. I want to engage and work with a passionate team on a cool product and most of all, I want to be challenged and learn.
I’d thought about this for weeks, months even. I just didn’t feel that social media was the way forward for me anymore. Over the years a number of people had mentioned software testing. But it wasn’t until my husband mentioned it this one evening, whilst my head was in my hands, that I sat up and listened.
My husband is a software architect in London. He’s very experienced in what he does and has a great understanding of testing. We sat and we chatted about it for ages and he contacted his lead QA at work, who also had a very detailed conversation with me. It sounded like the perfect job for me and so I was keen to get cracking. She introduced me to Rosie at Ministry of Testing and we chatted further and I discovered there was the possibility of applying for a Minisrty of Testing Scholarship that would enable me to attend the popular TestBash in Brighton in 2 weeks time.
I didn’t want to jump in and apply for the scholarship until I had done a bit more research. So, in the mean time, I had posted in a few start-up groups on Facebook about possibly interning or if anyone was looking for a junior to take on and train up. I had a few people contact me, including some ex colleagues, but one person in particular has been constant with the advice and support and has become a good friend, Shey Crompton.
Shey is a mountain of knowledge when it comes to testing and the testing community. He suggested a meetup in Brighton, two weeks down the line which was a Software Testing Clinic meetup aptly named ‘What is Testing?’. It couldn’t have been a more perfect topic and excellent timing.
Software Testing Clinic
The two weeks passed quickly and I arranged to meet up with the lovely Rosie before the event. I was so excited, but nervous as I just didn’t know what to expect. I met Rosie in Wagamama where she was sat with two of her gorgeous children. We had a good chat about why I wanted to go into software testing and she told me more about the Ministry of Testing and how it could support me with my search.
After food, we headed over to the meetup, where there was a room full of people. As the evening went on, it was obvious that there were people starting out in the industry and others who had clearly been doing this for many years. It was a great mix. There was such a buzz and passion for the job from all and it was soon very clear to me that this was something I wanted to do. It not only felt like something I wanted to do, it felt like something that I could be good at.
The evening was presented by Mark Winteringham and the ever energetic, Emma Keaveny. I had heard about Emma before the event as she was the first person to benefit from the Minsitry of Testing Scholarship. I was really keen to meet her and she certainly didn’t disappoint. Emma’s positivity and energy was exactly what I needed that evening. She shared her story with me and there were so many things that I could relate to. That evening I also met Dan Billing who was the mentor of our group that evening. I learned a lot from Dan that evening. He too, like Shey, has become a great support to me in my quest to become a software tester.
TestBash: The Application
I got home at around 11pm that evening and I was buzzing… It was the happiest I had been in ages because, finally, my direction was crystal clear to me. Software testing sounded perfect and the community that goes with it was incredible. My poor husband, I couldn’t shut up about the night I’d had and what I’d learned. It was a no brainer, I had to apply for this scholarship. I spent the next hour writing my application letter and went to bed. My head was full from everything that had happened that evening.
The next day, I was constantly checking my phone. Even though I knew realistically it would take time for my application to be reviewed. As I climbed into bed at 11.20pm that evening, my phone pinged. I didn’t think anything more of it. When I checked it was an email from Richard, Boss Boss at Ministry of Testing. My heart did a funny flutter and I took a deep breath and opened the email. There it was! I had been offered the scholarship for all 4 days. Despite my sleeping husband, I jumped up and down and woke him up! “I got it! I got it!” I shouted. Over the moon, I called my Dad and told him too. My journey was beginning and I couldn’t wait!
Next: The TestBash Experience – coming soon!