Before you delve into your career options, consider long and hard why you want to leave your current software testing position. Make a mental note of the reasons you want to leave so you can steer away from job options that might foster the same consequences. The common reasons behind employees switching jobs are typically money, morale, or burnout.
Money: Some testers can earn a great living if they are high enough in the corporate hierarchy, but for most entry level testers, the average pay rate is roughly $20 per hour. This may be sufficient for some, but for others it might be considered on the lower end of the income curve.
Morale: Morale in the workplace is important to bolster work-conducive environments. This is even more pressing when a whole team of hundreds of testers needs to collaborate seamlessly to ensure accurate testing results.
Burnout: A tester often works like he's taking an exam. There are principles and standards to follow, issues and technical things to think about, and complicated processes wherein the smallest anomalies need to be spotted. The result for some can be job burnout.
CONFIRMING YOUR DESIRE TO LEAVE
Whether the reason for leaving your field involves one or more of the above, you still need to make sure that software testing really isn't for you. Otherwise, you may regret leaving, or have to reenter the industry starting from scratch. Each reason has possible solutions to overcome them:
Excel to exceed. If money is the issue, you know that climbing the corporate ranks will lead to a higher pay scale. So strive to excel at your job so you can put yourself in a position to eventually get promoted.
Find motivation. If workplace morale is low, find a different, stronger source for motivation. This might be within the company, or even outside it.
Think long term. Just as burnout is one negative condition that afflicts testers who've been around for a while, career security is a positive consequence of sticking to your current field.
VIABLE CAREER OPTIONS
If you have definitely decided that you simply can't stay in the software testing field, there are some job alternatives where you can leverage your technical testing skills and know-how. Start by looking for opportunities in:
Technical support. Technical support and troubleshooting uses a lot of the same (or similar) skills you use as a software tester. Most of the time the support is offered through email or over-the-phone, and this interaction and the unique situations you may be presented with might just work out for you.
Technical writing. There are office-based and there are home-based opportunities for technical writing. Depending on your skills and expertise, you can make use of virtually all the knowledge you obtained during your time as a tester.
Technical reviews for web content. Web content writing remains a lucrative trade if you know how to reach out to a particular audience and know where to look for opportunities. Best of all, you can apply your skills while working at home, with your own schedule.
All other careers have pitfalls of their own, just like software testing. Just remember to think about why you want to leave, and consider if leaving is indeed the right move. Use this information to select a career alternative that will be a better fit for you. Otherwise, eventually you might just find yourself in a similar situation with your next employer.
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