Career Story: September 2020
Updated: Oct 3, 2020
1.) Name (Alias may be used)
2.) Age (Optional but useful)
Ages 35 - 44
3.) What's your Current or Past Career Title?
Software Development Engineer in Test
4.) What kind of education, training, or background does your job require?
Not always mandatory, but usually requires a 4 year Bachelor of Science Degree in any of the following, but not limited to; Computer Science, Computer Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Software Engineer. Many companies require a BS degree for employment, but some will hire you if you have adequate experience or training.
5.) What made you choose this career path? Was it something you loved or grew to love?
When I was a young boy, I dreamed of being a Scientist. I didn't know what kind, but I knew it had to be something fun. I grew up in the digital age and the dawn of the internet. I believe that shaped my decision to pursue a Computer Engineering degree.
In the beginning, I enjoyed my work, as it allowed me to think outside the box every day. However, over time I began to realize my true passion was not just in creating solutions for others, but more so in making my dreams a reality. And one of those dreams is "Getting Grown"
6.) What are/were your main responsibilities in your role? And what kinds of decisions do/did you make?
My main responsibilities were simple. I wrote the automation code that tests software or hardware before it is released to the general public. At the end of the testing, I would have to make the decision if the product was good enough to be released for purchase or download. If a product failed testing due to a flaw, then a bug would be issued and the product sent back to development to be fixed. Overall, I would try to replicate the experience a customer would have when using the product and confirm it works as intended.
7.) What is/was a typical day (or week) like for you?
Much of the work I did consisted of writing automated code. This code is created to test for what we in the engineering world call "bugs". These bugs can cause product malfunction whether minor or major. A typical automation test can take time to complete and usually runs overnight. Within this role, my normal workday would usually begin with the review and documentation of these nightly test results. Just before lunch, I would have a short meeting with colleagues to discuss any issues or concerns we may have. Afterward, the rest of the day was pretty much dedicated to writing, maintaining, and reviewing custom test automation software code.
8.) What do/did you love and hate most about your work?
The thing I loved most about my work was the ability to be able to work from home. This had more benefits than I could have ever imagined. It allowed me to take care of chores and other tedious tasks around the house while also being at work.
One thing I hated about my work was how it has made my vision suffer. Just too many hours spent staring into the screen of a computer. I'm not sure our eyes were ever meant to do that. The other thing I hated was being at the mercy of an employer and the fear of one day being laid off, which I found to be very common in my line of work.
9.) What kinds of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in this field?
The biggest reward about this field is that you will almost always be at the bleeding edge of the best technologies. Companies spare no expense on great tools and software to accomplish your job. The pay is really good too.
10.) What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to succeed in this field?
You have to be a really good problem solver, a fast thinker, and a good listener. If you can do that effectively, then the coding part will come along smoothly with repetition. Once you have mastered all of these things, the only limit is you, as to how far you can go in this career. Also to succeed, you must be a team player. In this field, you collaborate with a lot of developers and company Vice Presidents, so good communication and collaboration can go a long way.
11.) How does/did your job affect your general lifestyle? (Do/Did you feel like you have/ had a work-life balance?)
Overall, I had a very good work-life balance. Again, the ability to work from home attributed to that a lot. Along with flexible work hours, I was able to freely exercise at any time of the day, knock out any other simple chores, and save money by not driving much.
12.) If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?
Honestly, I have thought about that a lot looking back and can now say "Yes". I would do it all over again and not change a thing. I believe everything that I am is because of the choices I've made. It shapes who we are, and I like who I've become.
13.) Do you feel that your career/ past career has put you in a position where you are comfortable with your finances?
I earned a very comfortable salary working as an engineer, but I never felt completely comfortable working for someone else. Although the pay was exceptional, from my personal experience, it was scarier having to go to bed with thoughts of getting laid off and having to search for a new job all over again. This was part of the motivation of why my wife Bethany and I decided to create Getting Grown. This way, success lies in our hands.
14.) What advice would you give someone who is considering this type of job (or field)?
If you love technology and enjoy spending time in front of the computer then a Software Engineer may be a great fit for you. If you want to grow in this field, keep advancing yourself with the latest methodologies and technologies as well as working well with others. I would also suggest being self-managed and punctual for meetings. Although I enjoyed the work-from-home lifestyle, for those of you who prefer to go into the office, there are plenty of roles out there that offer that as well.
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