Test Engineers Career Progression

Although “Progression” and “Advancement” in a career are frequently used synonymously, there is a distinction between the two, even though they are complementary. For instance, if you begin your career as an associate test engineer, you might get promoted to test engineer after two years, and senior test engineer after three to four years. These movements are accompanied by perks and appropriate title changes. Career progression is what it is termed, and it typically happens as a result of promotions.

While career graph advancement is a continuous process. The advancement journey includes developing a more comprehensive professional context, more in-depth knowledge, a broader skill set, and solid professional relationships. As an associate test engineer, for instance, you will be expected to learn about testing as a whole. After a few days or months, you might start to concentrate more intently on developing your domain expertise, putting test approaches into practice, creating test strategies for common test routines, estimating the effort required for daily maintenance chores, etc. By doing this, you demonstrate a desire to learn more about the role and take a firmer grip on the deliverables.

Progressions are fundamental in that they provide a deeper comprehension of a particular ability and aid in the integration of theory and practice. The majority of the time, advancements do not involve a title change or pay raise (some times it does, but rare). Progressions, however, provide a clear path to advancements.

Why is progression important?

  • Solidifies professional skillset, helps drive balance between the theory v/s practical approach
  • Feeds the hunger to learn and grow
  • A break from un-healthy long run monotonous job
  • Paves way for new opportunities
  • With a clear progression path instills the sense of purpose and responsibility

How can I drive my progression with my Manager?

The six guidelines listed below might help you plan and carry out advancement inside your organisation.

  1. Role Clarity :Find out what is expected of you on a daily basis in your current role. the significance of performing particular duties and the expertise needed to carry them out. Always keep in mind that managers may not support advancement if they feel the current job and responsibilities are not being fulfilled. Establishing a clear grasp of your current position and deliverables is the first step.
  2. Primary and Secondary Responsibilities: When working on a team, it comes naturally for us to proactively offer to help with tasks that are not formally part of our role. As an illustration, when I was a front-end developer, I contributed to the knowledge management team by authoring technical articles that the content team then reviewed and improved before publishing on the corporate website. However, it is crucial that I inform my manager of all the primary and secondary duties I am performing. Secondary tasks can help create opportunity to do things outside of our normal comfort zones while primary obligations help you establish a better grip in your existing career. Sometimes these supplementary responsibilities also encourage transferable talents, which aids in creating a greater impact when improvements are made.
  3. Skill Matrix: It is impossible to overstate the value of the skill matrix. You can analyze your abilities and interests with the aid of the matrix. Give your manager a copy of this personal skill matrix and make sure they understand your preferences for, dislikes with, and ideal career path. Additionally, be receptive to feedback because managers will have a bird’s eye view of the company’s strategic decisions and will be able to help you better channel your ideas. Plotting the skill matrix against “Needs” and “Wants” is recommended. While wants are a list of abilities you’re interested in learning but may or may not directly relate to your current function or task, needs are a list of skills needed to drive the next level challenge.
  4. Strategic plan to build skills: The acquisition of new abilities will go hand in hand with the regular duties that are assigned. The particular challenge for team leaders will be to assist team members in developing new skills without interfering with the current delivery process. This can only be done with the support of a well-thought-out plan. The elements at play include the budget, timeframe, transition period, unknown hazards, etc. In either case, creating a learning path reinforced by practical experience aids in developing deeper knowledge, whether you are given a self-directed learning path or a company-driven guided learning path. Team leaders may need to create a cross-team skilling schema for the team member because not all needs can be met within the team.
  5. Transition plan with Milestones defined: The process of outlining the clarity of the complete progression activity is called a transition plan. This should have a deadline, explicitly describe the important parties who will be involved along the evolution, and, if applicable, include any budget requirements. Milestones are significant junctures at which the skills are assessed using established and pre-agreed criteria. For instance, if I decide to advance into performance testing as an exploratory test engineer, there are a few things I should be sure to discuss with my manager.
  • Express my interest in performance testing and internal opportunities to do this progression.
  • What technical skills should I be gaining to do this progression?
  • Learning agenda and learning schedule to be discussed, key stakeholders who can help me in this progression.
  • At what intervals do and on what parameters do we measure this progress?
  • Clear indicators for 100% transition

6. Optional Benefits and exits: It’s crucial to understand that not all progressions are accompanied by pay raises before moving forward you may make an informed choice without looking back. Additionally, it’s critical to provide exits and reversal strategies in case something goes wrong in between; this is perfectly acceptable. It often happens that something that seemed attractive at first begins to drain our energy, thereby destroying our interest in it. But be careful that this can leave a bitter taste or give the impression that you lack the necessary drive towards any progression.

When should I discuss my progression with my manager?

You can discuss it anytime, the ideal time would be when you start craving new challenges. Now, I have seen teams where there are no options for any ad-hoc progressions as they are tightly bound to the HR rules of the usual advancement theory and strictly stick to yearly goal discussions.

Conclusion

Frequent progressions are the engine that drives career growth, so it’s crucial to communicate your manager’s progression plan on a regular basis. While managers struggle to keep their teams motivated, not all the time can one afford to offer promotions. Progressions are excellent fillers that also aid in providing the correct degree of challenges while a team member prepares for the next big thing.

Test engineers frequently become obsessed on the idea of creating test automation solutions, which prevents them from considering other alternatives. Consider things that aren’t immediately apparent and work to establish a solid career one step at a time.

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