A few changes will be needed before you start the journey to the next level in your testing career.
Your career is important as your personal and professional life depend on it.
Take action today.
If you want to see change in your career, start today!
You need to learn things that you don't know yet
Growth happens when you do things that you are not doing currently.
If you keep doing what you already know and do, change will most probably not happen or happen very slowly.
Or it may not be the change that you want to see.
Learning new things should become a part of your daily routine
To go from your current level to the next one, you have to learn many new things.
How fast you get to the next level depends on how much time you dedicate to your learning and how often you do it.
If you try to dedicate a few hours every day to learning, 2 things may happen:
1. get into the habit of continuously learning and looking for new things to learn about
2. your skills and knowledge will start increasing relatively soon
An important question about learning new things is:
How can I find the time for it when I am already so busy?
The time is there for you every day.
At work, while your testing is blocked because the application has critical issues, you can use the time for learning new things.
When you are waiting for the test environment to be set up, you have time for learning.
When waiting for another tester to review your scripts, you have time for learning.
Read this article for a very detailed discussion of the method.
Taking ownership of your learning is very important
Going to the next career level is easier and faster if you take ownership of your learning.
This means that you are responsible for
1. Selecting what you will learn about
2. Finding resources for your learning
3. Practicing the new skills and knowledge
4. Researching solutions for problems
Expecting that an employer sends you for training at all or to a training that is actually useful is something that you should not depend on.
I am not saying that you should not accept training paid by your employer.
Accept it and learn from it.
But do not make this type of training essential or the main source of training for you.
Ask for help when you don't know what to do next
Learning new things means that you will run into many problems.
Every time you don't know what to do next, ask for help.
You can do this by talking with someone who has more experience, posting questions on forums or searching how other people solved similar problems.
Getting better happens in time
Going to the next level in your career requires time, patience and perseverance.
This is valid for any new skill that you ever learnt.
Think about the time that you needed for learning a new foreign language, a new sport or new hobby.
Did you learn skiing or swimming in a week?
Did you learn french in a week?
I don't think so.
Learn while working on small personal projects. Blog about your learning
Work on a small project while learning a new skill.
This way, your learning will be disciplined and oriented towards a specific goal: completing the project.
For example, if you are a manual tester who wants to learn test automation, start a project for applying test automation to a public site.
Also, start a blog and write on it about your learning and your challenges.
At the end of the project, the project materials and the blog articles will be the evidence that you need for using the new skill and knowledge on your resume.
When going to an interview, developers and graphical designers have most of times portfolios with samples of work they did in the past.
Writing about your learning and testing experiences on your blog can be your own work portfolio.
Read more about a tester portfolio here.
You should seek challenges
Challenges will show you what you don't know and force you to learn even more.
Challenges will help pushing your knowledge higher and higher.
The challenges can be self-imposed or can be job-related.