It was 2005, and I'd had enough.
I'd been game testing for 3 years. My team was great, but the company didn't value us. My teammates and I often talked about quitting but never did.
This time was different.
If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting.
I was wasting my time.
It was clear the company didn't value the testers. My final appraisal took a legendary 3 hours because I was sick of being palmed off. I demanded answers this time! I managed to pressure my then boss into buying me some training (on CD no less! It was 2005 y'all!). I think he wanted to get rid of me! One day I decided to put the name of the training course, the ISEB foundation, into Jobserve.
I could not believe my eyes!
I can work where? And they pay how much?!
Games testing in 2005 was not something you did for the money!
The salary was a joke, even by the standards of the day. But aside from the loot, what blew me away were the companies that employed testers. Airlines, banks, sports companies, entertainment organisations, energy companies - I couldn't believe my eyes! Even better, they were hiring!
And it looked like they needed people like me!
I secured interviews with a company building networked gambling machines. Instead of wheeling machines in and out of the premises that needed a new game, it got sent down the wire - groundbreaking stuff back then! The hiring manager was friendly, put me at ease theeeeeen proceeded to grill me throughout two interviews! It was wild! Some memorable parts were:
Being abandoned halfway through the interview and being asked to describe the room.
"You're testing one of our golf games. Give me 3 reasons why it still wouldn't help having another person to help."
Receiving a compliment on my suit only to be threatened with the sack if I were seen wearing it again!
Pair testing on roulette game.
I left the interview thinking, if I don't get this, it's cool. Why? Because they made an effort to check I was what they needed. I also surprised myself with my answers! In my game testing roles, I never felt valued or respected. Yet here I was being interviewed for a more successful company, for a higher salary and answering nuanced testing questions.
The offer was waiting for me before I got home!
I got the job! Now what?!
I was well outside my comfort zone!
This job was intense. It was a litany of firsts;
Building and configuring windows devices.
Learning about networks.
Working with touchscreens.
I was struggling! Luckily help was on the way.
The next few months shaped the rest of my career.
If you want to go far, go together.
Two people that helped me were Ben & Dave. Ben already worked there, while Dave & I started together. Ben taught me the art of managing upwards and making sure life outside of work was fun. Dave showed me that I wasn't crazy - a career in software was possible for a couple of reformed game testers! He also introduced me to the global community blogging, teaching, writing and expanding what testing was and how best to do it.
That was some time ago now. Since then, I've carried those lessons with me, shared them and built upon them. But the lesson that started all this off was this.
If they don't recognise the skills, someone else will!
Don't settle. Life is too short for that!