Dare IT Challenge - Kseniia's succes story

Dare IT's mission is to reduce entry barriers to the high-tech industry. One of the biggest challenges for beginners is the lack of practical experience and limited opportunities to gain it. The Dare IT Challenge program will change that. We give you the opportunity to practice practical skills in the selected specialization, build a portfolio, and win an internship.

Read the interview with one of the winers, Kseniia, who is now working as a QA Engineer at Flying Bisons!

Tell us a few words about yourself, what did you do before you started your adventure with QA?

Hello, my name is Ksenia and I’m from Ukraine. Initially, I graduated with a master's degree in the area of social communications and have over 15 years of diverse experience in this field. 

My career started quite early. Already, at the age of 17 I got my first job at the national television where I worked as a correspondent for special projects. A little later, for doing a bang-up job I was offered to head a daily TV column. For a certain time I’ve been also working as an editor-in-chief of an international web magazine, a sole scriptwriter and an editor-in chief of a morning TV-show, a web content creator and an editor-in-chief of a trilingual website for a law firm. For some years I have been working on promoting the company on social networks, including setting up advertising. But recently, supervising the work on the redesign of the company’s corporate website, I got to know the field of web development better and it was the moment when I made a clear decision to change my career path and grow in the IT field  as a Software tester.

How did you find out about the Dare IT Challenge and what made you take up the challenge?

I've started to get interested in the area of QA and the whole last year I have been studying on my own. But without previous commercial experience, and in conditions of huge and obvious internal competition, getting a first offer can be a real quest.

Therefore, I’ve started to look into internal internship opportunities and offers for beginners.  One day, while scrolling through offers on Facebook, I came across an announcement of the next edition of the Dare IT Challenge Program. It was about a month and a half of immersion in automated testing on python, exciting and challenging tasks, but in addition - creating a ready-made portfolio and the opportunity to win a paid internship. I realized that this was a great opportunity to start, in fact, that I was looking for, so I submitted my application.

What, from your perspective, was the greatest value of the course?

Previously, I studied automation in Java and it took me quite a lot of months. Therefore, initially such a relatively short period for learning automation in Python caused me some doubts. But after the first week, all my doubts were dispelled. The course was made so clearly, with the slightest details and hints, with an amazing mentor who, in an easy and adorable manner, immediately immersed the entire team into practice. We were able to create various automated tests for the website not only using Python, but also the Robot framework. Everything that was needed, all links to additional resources for in-depth knowledge - everything was at hand. But the most valuable thing was the weekly feedback. To be honest, I was struck by how carefully the Dare IT team analyzed tasks performed.This applied both to regular tasks in the form of a weekly video feedback on the most common mistakes, and to the final project with an individual feedback for each participant. It's quite astounding, as there were lots of participants - up to hundred.

Besides, it is worth mentioning the weekly online meetings for answering participants’ questions and the final consultation with the recruiter - I think the organizers of the program took care of many things.

The aim of the course is to create a ready-made portfolio. Which task was the most challenging for you during these 6 weeks of the course?

It's common knowledge that the first step is always the hardest. This is probably true for my case as well. But well begun is half done. Then it was important to stick to systematic work and keep up with deadlines.

In fact, I can’t say that there were any super-difficult tasks. Following carefully the instructions given in the Challenge Program, in my opinion, lets absolutely anyone without previous programming experience write an automated test as well as test documentation. 

Nonetheless, perhaps one of the most interesting challenges to me was the task with an asterisk - where I had to write an additional test with no clue. So I had to brainstorm for a while to solve this tough nut to crack.

Congratulations on winning your internship with Flying Bizons! Could you please share your impressions with us after the first weeks - is there anything that surprised you during your daily work?

Thanks a lot. To be honest, this was a pleasant surprise for me. At Flying Bisons I’ve obtained an engrossing opportunity to work on a real project and learn the best practices from my buddies - experienced professionals. From the very first day, I was immersed in a wonderful atmosphere of fruitful teamwork, mutual respect and exciting projects.Thanks to the acquired knowledge and skills, I was able to start performing testing tasks immediately after onboarding. Now I am working on two projects at the same time - and I really like what I do. I hope I was able to bring my greatest benefit to the company as well. 

What would you advise to anybody who is interested in starting their career in QA?

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. And if you love quality assurance - you may need to be familiar with a list of skills and tools. After looking at the list of technology skills employers ask for, you may want to start by getting at least rudimentary training. Being proactive and taking initiative is a great way to improve your skills and expand your knowledge. Be eager to dig deeper, explore more, and find solutions. There's no shortage of textbooks, videos, courses, and bootcamps. Consider taking an online course or two. Take the testing tools out for a spin. If possible, get hands-on experience in a portfolio challenge to create a descriptive ready-made portfolio. Many companies provide on-the-job training and mentoring. In fact, getting involved as a tester in challenges and internships is the best way to gain real skills that are worth bragging about on your CV. 

Starting your career in this field may seem like a long and difficult journey—but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, it requires continuous learning, strong motivation, and a lot of hard work, however, if you’ve decided to become the best QA engineer you can be, then it’s all up to you. 

Dare IT Challenge courses were created thanks to the support of Activision Blizzard 🙌

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