Non-IT to Software Testing Switch – How to Get Into QA (answers to Top 10 FAQs)

How to Get Into Software Testing from a Non-IT field?

IT industry emerged to be a popular and glamorous career choice in the recent times. More and More individuals who have not been in the field want to try their hands at it. This is great, because technological inclination, fairly good pay, global outreach, challenging positions and scope for innovation are few plus-s of an IT career.

In this context, the go-to branch of IT that attracts everyone is QA or of the software testing stream. This is perfect too because QA is a great career choice in itself with lots of advancement opportunities. Or QA can be your introduction into IT that helps get firsthand knowledge of other areas, to determine your true calling in IT.

All good so far, but the question is “HOW” to start and emerge successfully? This is the very question we will address in today’s article.

non-it to software testing

Let me set something straight before we go any further. The following points are not the ingredients for a recipe- you are not going to get the same outcome every single time. These are some pointers that have helped few others before, so we put together a list that could help you too.

Non-IT to Software Testing Career Change: Few Important Pointers

Here we go…

#1. Soul Searching: Find the reason for your entry to IT or specifically to software testing field. Because sooner or later you will have to explain it and it is best to know the answer to this question first for yourself.

#2. Market research: Check out the job listings in your area. Talk to your friends and acquaintances. Online job portals and forums can be of great help too. Find information about: demand for IT QA positions, pay scale, work culture, skills/technologies desired, challenges involved etc.

#3. Get a taste of it: With the kind of exposure we have to information these days, it will only take a few minutes and few clicks on your computer to find an online resource that can get you started. Try it. See if this is something you have an aptitude for.

#4. Start getting trained: Some of us are great self-learner while other needs a little help. This is the time to get started on gaining skills. Focus on fundamentals. Find a class if it helps- there are a choice of online, offline (computer-based) and classroom sessions. Choose what works best for you. Do not try to learn everything at once. Target one skill at a time, do complete justice, and set yourself a deadline and target proficiency level and work for it. There really is no cheat code to this step.

#5. Get certified: Invest some effort, time and money to get certified. This could aid your IT-QA entry smoother. This does not automatically qualify for a job opening, but it helps.

#6. Apply for jobs, when ready: Build skills because that could compensate for the lack of experience as a beginner. Again, find resources and courses that will help you master the skills. Make yourself a killer resume that is skill-based and not-experience based. Be confident and persevere. Remind yourself that there are the lot of factors that have to come together to bag a successful job when the odds are against us – job openings, market situation, the timing, the demand in your area and finally, a little bit of lady luck. :)

Now that we have the list, give it a try. It helps to remember that this is what you want and nothing is sweeter than the fruits of hard work. Be confident through the entire process and stay motivated.

10 Most Common FAQs About Non-IT to QA Career Change:

However, there are lots of lingering questions in the pursuer’s minds. Below are 10 of them with answers:

Q1. How can I move to IT?

The above points should answer this.

Q2. When is a good time?

Now is as good a time as any. :)

Q3. Am I qualified?

Only you can answer this. If you have had a computer science or IT related education, it would be a big plus. However, not being from that background does not automatically disqualify you.

Q4. Can my non-IT experience be useful?

Maybe, Maybe not. IT industry has a wide reach. If you have worked in a Bank or a school, there are applications related to banking and education as well. So, it might come in handy. On the other hand, you might totally have to work in an unrelated field. Domain knowledge expertise is important but for beginners, the focus should be on IT and how it supports the business but not the business itself.

Q5. How am I going to explain the shift to IT field?

Again, this is something only you answer. Check point 1 in the list – Soul searching. Find your reason and unabashedly, unapologetically explain. Nobody needs to know what they want to do for a living as soon as we are born. Even if we did, we always have a choice to change our minds. Find your reason and explain it. If you are IN for the money- say that in a positive light. E.g.: You wanted a career that is challenging intellectually, has a scope for future innovations and monetarily more beneficial. Stand by your decision.

Q6. How long would it take to find a job?

I won’t lie to you. It will not be right away. Most can find it in few months, although for others it may take a year (or even years!). It takes some time, patience, lots of learning and endless pursuit. But there are lots of success stories out there. Remember, everyone had to start somewhere.

Q7. If I take a class, can I be automatically compensated for the lack of non-computer science background?

No. But a class can help you learn a lot effectively, even though it might give you any accreditation.

Q8. What skills do I have to learn to start as a Software Tester?

You will need to know all about fundamental SDLC, manual testing concepts, a working knowledge of MS office suite, Test management/defect management tool understanding to start with. SQL, UNIX and Automation testing basics might be desired. Excellent communication skills and positive attitude are mandatory. Please note that this list is generic and you might have to adapt based on the position you are aspiring for.

Start reading all STH articles to get yourself familiar with this field practically.

Q9. Why would companies hire me without any experience?

If it were true that only experienced people would find work, no industry would have newcomers, ever. We all know that is not true. There is always an influx of employees and some of them are always new. Unless you consider yourself not job ready, don’t let lack of experience bring you down. It is true that after all these years; you still have to start fresh- which might feel like you are reinventing the wheel or joining last in the race. But think of it as a new beginning. After all, it is what you wanted.

Q10. What about my pay? Will I have to pay less or underpaid for a few years?

Again, Yes and No. IT jobs are some of the best paying jobs. So, you might still be making a reasonable amount of money. On the contrary, you might have to find some freelancing or volunteering experience in the beginning that is not great monetarily. There is no one route that will guarantee you a said salary, it all depends on how good you are and what kind of opportunities come across.

Finally, a bonus question for future-software-testers:

Why software testing? If you feel like you are taking an easy route or backdoor entry into IT through QA, probably it’s not a good idea to pursue software testing field. QA is as good a field as any. When you hear the question, “Why QA?” think, “why not QA?” QA is an excellent way to start your career. Be sure to take pride in your choice of QA Testing field and see you around soon.

Good luck future IT-ians!

About the Author: These questions are answered by STH team member and our Software Testing Online course instructor Swati S.

Let us know if we did not answer any question that you have in mind about a career switch from Non-IT to Software testing field.

18 Comments on “Non-IT to Software Testing Switch – How to Get Into QA (answers to Top 10 FAQs)

  1. Nice article….
    It will help to build confidance who want career change from non it to it field.

    Thanks vijay for choosing this article subject

  2. Excellently written,it will definitely boost the morale of a person..i have been associated to game testing for past 1.5 years,planning a move to software testing

  3. I do agree with most of the points written here, however the article is one sided talking about goodies in IT n that too QA field.
    The reality:
    1. Most of companies prefer to automate testing reducing the manual QC work force.
    2. If someone is a manual tester : one may get indepth product knowledge however what work he does can be done by freshers as well. Ones skill development is not much, so market values is less. Imagine urself searching for job at later age with 10 years of testing experience: not much opportunities available + what work u can do can be achieved at less pay as well. While entering think to exit into management, sitting in Qa not Good

    4. Promotions, pay are good: to maintain them constant upgrade is needed else one my become the sacrificial got .
    3. Best course of action is not to leave the core field, the field one likes no matter How lucrative other appear. It is the skills that will help one earn money, if one plans to enetr QA field be ready to go further to aquire skills required in software development as well: That will make
    ones experience valuable.

  4. Few points would like to mention of being in Testing:-

    1. As testers have the best domain knowledge, they can also opt of being a BA.
    2. Testing not only include manual testing it has a wide scope of Automation testing as well.
    3. Developers develops code and that is something that all the developers do. But not all the testers write code.
    4. Developers generally bide themselves with specific language, tools etc. Whereas automation tester gets the chance to work on more wider technology.

    So if you love coding, testing could be one of the great area as you can still write code and automation testers are more in demand and are quickly recognised because of in less in number.

    And who don’t like finding the problems in other work. Testers are paid for that.

    And with the attitude of analysing everything as part of job, bring the quality in personal life as well.

  5. Good and inspiring article…..I’m myself struggling to get job being fresher in QA testing field and lack of experience giving me hard time…also mostly automation testing is more in demand….not knowing much about coding itself is a big hindrance. Getting harder to get QA jobs .

  6. Hello All, thank you for sharing your thoughts and readership. We appreciate it…

  7. Hi Friends,

    What Vijay and Swati have shared above is 100% true, With lots of hesitation I thought to move from my Banking BAU to software testing, I approached Vijay and as per Vijay’s suggestion I did the “Basic of Manual and Automation testing” course which was taken by Swati Seela(It was the first batch conducted by vijay and Swati Team). Swati is a great trainer and with her help I completed the online course which laid a strong foundation and confident for me to proceed further. I started preparing for my ISTQB Certification on November 2013 when approached to Vijay he guided me and even forwarded me the Premium ISTQB materials for Free of cost as I attended STH online training course http://softwaretestinghelp.org … I chose my ISTQB certification to be in UK Board and cleared it in the first attempt with 98%.

    I approached my Team manager with the Certifications and asked him to move me to Testing Team, I waited for 3 months and at last in Feb 2014 I got my place as a User Acceptance Test analyst in my current organization. Now my designation is UA Test analyst and I am happy to be a part of Test Team. Day in and day out is a new learning in the Testing field.

    My UG Graduation is Bsc Hotel management and my PG is MBA HR

    I am sharing this with you all so that you never give your hope, get stabilized in the manual testing in future Automation tools will change but the basic of all is the Manual testing which will remain the same forever. As said by Piyush above if you are strong in your domain choose wisely and get into the testing field.

    Thanks vijay and Swati without you both I wouldn’t be in the Testing field. All credits should go to you :)

    Happy Testing!!
    Karuvarasan.s

  8. Hi Friends,

    What Vijay and Swati have shared above is 100% true, With lots of hesitation I thought to move from my Banking BAU to software testing, I approached Vijay and as per Vijay’s suggestion I did the “Basic of Manual and Automation testing” course which was taken by Swati Seela(It was the first batch conducted by vijay and Swati Team). Swati is a great trainer and with her help I completed the online course which laid a strong foundation and confident for me to proceed further. I started preparing for my ISTQB Certification on November 2013 when approached to Vijay he guided me and even forwarded me the Premium ISTQB materials for Free of cost… I chose my ISTQB certification to be in UK Board and cleared it in the first attempt with 98%. I approached my Team manager with the Certifications and asked him to move me to Testing Team, I waited for 3 months and at last in Feb 2014 I got my place as a User Acceptance Test analyst in my current organization. Now my designation is UA Test analyst and I am happy to be a part of Test Team. Day in and day out is a new learning in the Testing field.
    My UG Graduation is Bsc Hotel management and my PG is MBA HR
    I am sharing this with you all so that you never give your hope, get stabilized in the manual testing in future Automation tools will change but the basic of all is the Manual testing which will remain the same forever. As said by Piyush above if you are strong in your domain choose wisely and get into the testing field.
    Thanks vijay and Swati without you both I wouldn’t be in the Testing field. All credits should go to you both:)
    Happy Testing!!
    Karuvarasan.s

  9. @Karuvarasan: Thank you for sharing your experiences with our readers. Congratulations again on your success.

  10. Hello,

    I have 2.8 years experience in Support domain in Infosys BPO. I got to work mostly on SharePoint. Now I am hardly searching a job in Manual Testing. I had completed ‘Diploma in Software Testing’ course in Nov.2014.
    I quit the company on 14th Sept 2015.
    Please help me in this regard.

    Regards,
    Aniket Keni

  11. Hi,

    I am currently working in support industry, i have 1.5 years experience in support , now i am looking for a career in manual testing and excel further to programming can any one please advice

    Thanks

    Nikhil

  12. I’ve found it extremely difficult to get into software testing, even with IT experience (including manual testing projects within roles) and the ISTQB qualification. I’ve been applying to entry level testing jobs since my late 20s (now 30) and haven’t managed to get an interview. I’m stuck in generalist IT/tech support contracts that occasionally give me testing or coding tasks, but never lead into full-time QA/testing jobs. It’s very difficult not to get discouraged. I live near London too, which should make things easier when it comes to jobs. But everyone seems to want only testers with several years of experience.

  13. Hi , i am pradeep. i am bcom and m,com graduate completed b.com in year 2005 but doing jobs from 2011
    I have 5 yrs of experience in non tech from 2011 till ( now )2017 . In good Mncs as there is no scope to grow in career in non tech so ,i want to move to tech by learning some cources is it possible for me to move from Non tech to tech after 10 yrs and pleaselet me know what courses i need to learn to move to technology

    need your valuable suggetions to grow in my life
    pls write to krishnapradeepy@rediffmail.com

    My number 9494635600

    • Hi, I think that this comment is a recent one. if you are still in the trying mode, then we both are in same ship, since i am also from non-it and i have more experience than you. not knowing what to do, i entered medical field and wasted my life. immediately after leaving medical field, i tried to get into software, but everyone discouraged me. i did not get proper guidance from anyone. at last now, i got some guidance and i completed my manual course and started project. hope to get some entry level job. lets see. i do not know which city you are from. whatever, just do the course, do the project and do istqb and try your luck through some consultancy or friend’s reference. all the best

  14. Hi,

    I am Chandrika . I have complete my post graduation in organic chemistry. As i am very much interested in IT field. what courses i need to learn ?
    I need your valuable suggestions to fulfill my interest and to achieve my goals.

    • when did you first get interested in it field? I am asking this question because you did pg in organic chemistry. so according to this, i can guess that you got interested after completing pg, if i am not mistaken. that will be a great transformation, but good news is that a friend of mine entered into this software field from medical field, so you can also try. check my reply above, ravi

  15. i have 5 yrs of experience in non-it field now if i move to it field like s/w testing, then for which jobs i will apply i.e as a fresher or experienced. plz do reply because i think in it field i would be fresher but in openings for fresher i have seen they mention fresher of 2017/2018 batch

  16. plz reply i am in great dilemma

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