5 Tips for Starting a New Role as a Tester

This week I’ve started working in a new role as a Lead Quality Engineer. This will be my first role where I’m not embedded into a team and instead am helping to look at testing and quality strategy across the whole company. Starting a new role can be daunting for sure, but here are my tips for getting started at a new company:

1. Start in listening mode

When you join somewhere you need to see what the lay of the land is before you can get stuck in (or enact any changes). So for the first few weeks just listen and take things in; you might want to prove that you have the skills and want to jump in but instead sit back so you can take a measure approach.

Rather than telling people what they need, take the time to ask and listen to what they think their problems are. By building up a picture of existing pain points you can make a more effective strategy for how to help your team / organisation AND will possibly know the best ways to socialise it.

2. Introduce yourself

Being visible is important, especially as a new starter. You’re the new shiny thing that everyone is going to be excited about! get introducing yourself to the organisation and your new coworkers so that they can see that you’re a really nice person and not just a mean ole tester that finds bugs.

I like to message in Slack channels to introduce myself with some fun facts and start building up a sense of who I am. That obviously includes adding new emojis for Ramone the Testing Otter and adding some pictures of me so that people know who they’re talking to.

And as it’s Pride Month why not add your pronouns on Slack to be a good ally?

Fig 1 . My initial introductory Slack message.

3. Set out your stall (lightly)

We’re not going to jump in and solve all the problems on day one; this means we need another way to showcase what our skills are and what we can help people with. I like to share my thoughts on testing and what I’m good at lightly by sharing my blog posts and just telling people what they can come to me about.

I’ve talked to my manager about the appetite for high workshops on things I’m good at (Exploratory Testing, Shifting Left, Triforce, etc…) as a way to set my stall that I’d like to run these things. Plus I’ve posted some comments on the diversity channels praising things that I’ve seen, as this is a good way to indicate my interest in D&I initiatives.

Keep things light, don’t overwhelm people with your skills or thoughts initially. We basically want to give a taste of the things we can help with and start to support (rather than going in deep).

4. Don’t try to take it all in

There’s going to be a LOT of information flying at you when you join a new company. Everybody wants to meet you and explain what they do, their problems they need solving and give you helpful tips on processes. If you try to take it all in then your brain will probably melt!

Instead focus on the important basics, who is this person, what’s the high level message, where’s a link to this information so I can come back to it?

Or if in doubt, just try to remember one name and where the toilets are 😀

5. Remember you’re awesome

You’ve just come from being a big fish in a small pond; you knew how things worked and you knew all the people. You probably feel a bit nervous and like you don’t know anything and that’s okay and very normal. You’ve got this!

Nobody expects you to be doing all the things in your first week (or even month). Remember that you has the skills to do this and you’re gonna be amazing when you’re up to speed.

Got any other tips for surviving at a new job? Share them in the comments or on my Twitter @cakehurstryan

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