“I never thought I would have immersed myself in IT. I was more tempted by mechanical engineering. But the two were my consideration because I wanted to prove that girls can be bold and work as hard as guys. It didn’t happen easily. My mom refused to let me go for it. She even locked me up in the house just because I insisted on apply for Bach Khoa. We were having a bad time back then. Things only improved when I managed to succeed in the entrance test with the highest score in the scholarship application list.
I always have a thing for logical thinking subjects like AI or Machine Learning. My biggest hurdle was that there weren’t many AI companies at the time, not even product companies. They were mostly outsourced firms for foreign companies. So either I spend time on science research and a master degree, or I stick my neck out the working world and start exploring.
I worked in my first company as a Java Developer for three or four months, after that I realized I couldn’t fit in a place where people keep burying their heads in computers like robots. I need something more dynamic. And I decided to move forward, as a tester. Though I aimed for automation, this new role limited me at manual and shaped my workflow as a steady tester, writing test cases and report bug day in & day out, which is, again, rolled me with a question: “Should I change my job?”
My next place was a product company, where they do the work on all platforms. Win, macOS, Android & iOS. From web test to mobile test. I know. A whole new environment. But they have the downside, too. Not only tester wasn’t taken seriously - as they tend to value developers more; they also fall for a prejudice: Girls can’t take care of the work solid enough like guys do. It was a barrier, and I must put more effort into proving them wrong.
Working as a tester means you face the risk against developers almost every day. Sometimes, it takes arguments to debate on whether or not a bug is valid or invalid. I learned many lessons about teamwork and negotiation through this. It tells a lot about how you can explain and protect your point of view without getting offended and still make things work.
A question that many people will bump into is why automation tester makes more than manual tester. I believe it’s due to the lack of automation tester comparing to manual ones. Frankly, a manual tester can come from other fields than just IT only. That triggers an increase in the number of manual testers because the path is more accessible to embark on. I’ve met many manual testers whose background was economics, medical, or even gamers. But they can’t switch into automation since they can’t code. Automation testers, on the other hand, start their job as developers. And they only turn their role into tester if they want to spend time learning something new, or improve other skills.
Still, in Vietnam, there is an underlying notion that testers are for those who can’t nail the job as a developer. Or worse, they assume it’s a women’s role because there’s no challenge or stressful moment. That somehow refrains students from pursuing tester as a career. They’re afraid it will be an affirmation of: “I can’t code.” But that doesn’t true. Testers are way more than just test cases and bug reports. What you want to do as a career should be based on your interest, not what others think.”