Bringing Highly Qualified, Trained Experts From Varied Backgrounds
to the Forefront of Quality Assurance
The software testing industry exudes potential on all fronts. There is more promise for moving up in the field than in almost any other industry. The average starting salary for a Quality Assurance Tester is $40,000 – $60,000 per year. Software testing is one of the most in-demand jobs in the tech market – with over 9,000 unfulfilled jobs in the US alone in 2020. The learning curve associated with breaking into quality assurance is very low: 24% of testers became testers “by accident,” and 65% of testers learned by “just doing it.” Plus, this market won’t be going away anytime soon.
Simultaneously, as of 2020, Black families have a median household income of just over $41,000, while white families have a median household income of almost twice that.
While the tech industry has been boasting about increasing diversity in the field since 1990, there has been little reported change. Even the biggest companies, with millions of eyes watching and waiting for improvement, are doing little to actually achieve their diversity promises. A Wired survey estimated the combined Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous population at 5% for Silicon Valley firms. The share of Black technical workers at Apple is unchanged at 6%, less than half of the African Americans’ 13% share of the US population.
Big tech’s excuse? “There just aren’t enough qualified people of color to hire.”
While the wage gap rages on, there are thousands of quality assurance jobs with higher earnings waiting to be filled. At the crux of this disparity, the public is calling upon big tech companies to expand diversity while they scapegoat lack of training.
The solution to this ironic conundrum? Provide training and mentorship to a pool of diverse professionals seeking to transition into tech and smother big tech’s biggest gripe.
The year 2020, a challenging year for all, caused unemployment rates to skyrocket as high as 16% and inspired thousands to reevaluate their career choices and shift their focus. The QualityWorks Consulting Group seized the opportunity to combat this issue by creating the Hire Diverse Testers Initiative, a free six-week training program to learn in-demand testing skills for a new career in tech. Priority was given to BIPOC applicants.
- Szapiro, Aron (October 6, 2020). “Can Baby Bonds Shrink the Racial Wealth Gap?”. Morningstar.com. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
Through the first training program, the Hire Diverse Testers project has built a pool of talented testing professionals with a makeup of over 80% Black, 75% women, and 12% Latinx.
So far, it’s working. Earlier this year, the program successfully placed four testers into testing positions just two months after graduation. The four graduates who were hired by Criteria Corp and Equinox Media will continue mentorship with the QualityWorks team throughout their endeavors.
The Hire Diverse Testers Initiative is calling upon more companies to fill software testing roles with qualified BIPOC candidates.
To make the search even easier, we would like to highlight a few graduates for consideration.
MEET THE TESTERS
Nicole is from New York and started out her professional career in the communications industry, transitioning from Marketing and PR to writing to teaching. In 2013, she got her Master’s Degree in Special Education and has been teaching Special Education in high school for more than 11 years.
Transition Into Tech
“As a Special Education Teacher, my main job was to make the curriculum accessible to students who have learning disabilities. I used technology every day to make this possible.” – Nicole
Nicole completed a coding Bootcamp a year ago and discovered that her introduction to tech through teaching complemented her QualityWorks training quite well. She has built a keen understanding of web development throughout the cycle. She found testing to be very similar to her current role as a Clinical Special Education teacher, often finding herself analyzing data to identify students’ difficulties and coming up with solutions for that data. She found parallels in searching for bugs: when something was not working, she naturally analyzed the issue and came up with the best solution.
She is excited to see where her newfound knowledge takes her and doesn’t feel confined to Educational Technology or testing in and of itself, eager to bring all of her experience to the table: “I’m hoping that my new skills make me a well-rounded developer and tester so that I’m able to utilize all my skills in whatever job I do.”
Brendan is from Kansas City and moved to San Diego to attend his dream school. He worked in various service industry jobs to establish residency and support himself through his education as a mechanical engineer. However, he soon realized that was not the path he wanted to pursue, because he knew he was a nerd and wanted to incorporate his nerdy passions into his career.
Transition Into Tech
He knew he liked the computer and design aspects of robotics, so he taught himself SQL when he was on hiatus from school working to afford tuition. With that basic language knowledge, he then started picking up other programming languages and software.
He came across the Hire Diverse Testers Initiative via a Facebook ad, did some research, and discovered that QualityWorks was Black-owned. From there he was simply hooked.
The program has served as a superb jumping-off point for Brendan: “I am looking forward to getting into the tech industry and finding my niche, whether that’s inequality analytics or software. I feel like once you get in, you can branch-off in any or many directions.”
Cindy is from the Caribbean and migrated to New York when in grade school. She has been living in Washington, D.C. since her family moved there in the early 2000s. Cindy began her professional career in Telecommunications: understanding projects, coordinating projects and designing the infrastructure of the actual circuits. When she transitioned into IT, her company asked her to move, but she did not want to uproot her ties in Washington, so she declined and searched for a new opportunity. She bounced into a real estate position at a small company, but lost that position in May of 2020 because the company gravely suffered as a result of the pandemic.
Transition Into Tech
When news of the QualityWorks Bootcamp fell into her lap, she jumped at the opportunity to learn a different aspect of technology. To her, testing is all about attention to detail, a muscle she is familiar with throughout her Project Management career.
While testing differs somewhat from Cindy’s experience, she brings all of herself to the table and understands what it takes to be a successful tech professional in any position: “You have to bring your willingness to learn. Whether it’s testing or any other field, you have to be a good team player and bring a good attitude, integrity, and a passion to learn.”
Above all, Cindy is most dedicated to lifting others up and amplifying the voices of the voiceless. For almost 40 weeks now, she’s been volunteering, providing food and toiletries to people in need. “We have to put ourselves in other people’s shoes… What I am really passionate about really is, in a nutshell, promoting the wellbeing of others; I love volunteering and engaging with those who are generally marginalized.”