Faidat graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. Throughout her career, she has worked in customer service, health insurance, and nonprofit industries, but later found her true passion for tech. Faidat has courageously taken on a path she has never explored before, but is determined to master. Learn more about Faidat:
Tell me a little about your professional background.
Faidat: I’m from Brooklyn, New York, but my family is originally from Nigeria. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and a minor degree in Spanish. That translated into me initially working as a caseworker with the city of New York, where I was investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect. They were specifically looking for people with my background because they wanted folks who had an understanding of cultural differences.
I later worked as a Program Manager at an organization called Legal Information for Families Today. I assisted low-income families to access legal information about family courts since a lot of people involved in family court do not have the finances to afford an attorney. They hired me because of my background in child protective services.
After doing that for a while, I ended up accepting a position with AmeriCorps. Once again, I was still working with people who were low income. During this time, I helped them with filing taxes and screening for the potential to qualify for certain benefits, like food stamps or Medicaid.
After a while, I really needed something that would pay me more, so I ended up transitioning into the startup sphere. My first job in a startup was working in Customer Service at Oscar Health Insurance.
Why do you want to get into tech? What made you want to pivot?
Faidat: After working at Oscar Health Insurance, I started working for Knotel, which was another startup. It was completely unrelated to customer service, health insurance, and nonprofit. They were doing property real estate tech, and I had no background in that. I started off as an Associate Operations Manager and worked my way up, then I suddenly fell into learning about product management. Everyone was asking, “Faidat, what do you want to do at Knotel?” My response was “I do not know, I am doing whatever is here.” But they kept telling me that there’s more.
The new Head of Products invited people to sit in for ideation sessions about how to better improve the products. I sat in on an ideation session, and I had so much fun. I was giving out ideas that I thought were really good. After the session, the Head of our Business Operations pulled me aside and said, “Faidat, what did you say to him?” I got scared because I didn’t remember saying anything crazy. He said, “No, whatever you said to him really impressed him because he wants you on his team.” I kept thinking I have no background in computer science, and I’m bad at math. I graduated with a degree in Anthropology. I later spoke with the Head of Research about how I could get into products and the available avenues to get into tech from a non-tech background.
How did you get here? What inspired you to join the Bootcamp?
Faidat: After inquiring about how to get into tech, I was advised to look into bootcamps. I got into a bootcamp at the City University of New York where I learned about UX Design. I just finished the program a few months ago. During that program, I was in a Slack group called Products by Women, where I met a young lady, Sint, who would always send me different resources. She sent me a link to the QualityWorks Bootcamp.
It looked quite interesting. I saw information about product owners, user stories, and JIRA tickets, which I was familiar with. And it was interesting because I had been speaking with Marjorie, one of my old colleagues from Oscar. She said her customer service job gave her opportunities to do QA testing. Then I started inquiring about what QA testing entails. So when Sint sent me this link to QualityWorks, I thought, “Is the universe hearing everything I am thinking?” I wondered if I’d get in at all, but I signed up immediately. I was prepared to give it my all and learn everything I could to make me a stronger candidate.
How has your experience been in Bootcamp so far?
Faidat: I knew this was going to be the program that was going to really challenge me. And it’s been challenging. I think the toughest part was to past unit three. At one point I was sitting here typing and thinking, “Man, I do not know what I am doing, but I am learning so much.” I think an important part of learning that it’s okay for me to not know. And it’s okay for me to be unsure whether or not I did something the correct way. I am finding myself in my house before I go to bed re-watching the videos because there’s so much to learn.
How do you think your background will be helpful in preparing you for this new world of tech and testing?
Faidat: I do not know how much older the other students are, but I’m coming in a little bit older than I guess regular QA testers would be. And I am coming from a totally opposite background, where I didn’t have much access to the tech side of things, so I have to learn everything from scratch. I think that’s what makes me a really strong candidate because it just shows that I have the tenacity to do that. I feel like if you’re coming from a computer science background or more tech background, you might be more willing to fall back on your previous learning. I’m always going to be reading and trying to research and learn everything.”
About the #HireDiverseTesters Program
The #hirediversetesters program was created by QualityWorks to address the tech “pipeline problem” – the belief that there aren’t enough qualified BIPOC professionals to occupy roles in tech, specifically in testing. We’ve found the diverse talent and now we’re looking for companies who are committed to increasing diversity on their tech teams to join us.