As you might know, I’m a huge fan of Test Portfolios. As a quality engineer who found their voice during the Covid pandemic, I’m living proof of the importance of having a software testing portfolio. In today’s fast-paced and competitive tech industry, having a portfolio can be the key to landing your dream job, increasing your confidence, and inspiring others. In this blog post, I’ll be discussing five reasons why you should consider creating a software testing portfolio.
What is a Software Testing Portfolio?
This is my own definition, there isn’t really a commonly held one. For me, the things that make a Portfolio the next level up from a CV is 3 things, namely:-
- They are Dynamic – they can evolve over time, and contain living, working code extracts etc.
- Narrative bias – a portfolio is easy to wrap a personal story around, to make you the person who is front-of-mind for the people you want to get noticed by
- Depth – They can be as shallow or deep as you want, but often CV’s don’t give the detail that really sells that you know what you are doing – a portfolio is your way of proving you aren’t just playing buzzword bingo
Now, lets take a look at the 5 main reasons I think Portfolio’s could give you a leg up.
1. Landing a Job in the Hidden Jobs Market
Did you know that there is a hidden job market out there? This market consists of jobs that are not publicly advertised, and are instead filled through networking and referrals. According to a report by Forbes, up to 80% of jobs are filled through the hidden job market.
This means that if you want to land your dream job, or sometimes even just your next job, you may need to tap into this hidden market. And one way to get noticed above the other candidates is by creating a software testing portfolio. A portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills and expertise to potential employers. It allows you to demonstrate your testing methodologies, strategies, and results in a clear and concise manner.
At the Coders Guild, all aspiring Quality Engineers are mandated to create a portfolio, and I can testify that in showing them off on LI profiles, covering letters and at interviews, they have been the difference in landing them their first roles in QA.
When you have a well-crafted portfolio, you can use it to approach potential employers and hiring managers. You can share your portfolio with them during interviews or networking events, and they can see firsthand the value that you can bring to their organization. This can set you apart from other candidates who may not have a portfolio. Bonus points if you do something with the website or tech that the place you’re interviewing at uses.
2. Increasing Confidence (You *can* do it!)
One of the benefits of creating a software testing portfolio is the increased confidence that comes with it. That’s basically why I did mine. I was sick of feeling “not technical enough” and wanted to prove that I could learn this stuff with some application and graft. When you have a portfolio, you have tangible evidence of your skills and accomplishments. You can see the results of your hard work, and you can use that to build your confidence. People also love helping you on your journey, and I was amazed that every single tutor, industry professional and community champion I asked was more than happy to help me get over those inevitable bumps in the road.
We know that the only constant in tech is change. Creating a portfolio forces you to reflect on your work and think critically about your testing methodologies. This can help you identify areas for improvement and can help you grow as a quality engineer. As you continue to add to your portfolio, you’ll see your skills and expertise grow, which can further boost your confidence.
3. Code Reuse
Creating a software testing portfolio can also help you with code reuse. One example, I wrote a short Selenium automation framework by following a Test Automation University course (all free!). Mailinator saw the blog post I did alongside it, and asked if I’d like to write a tutorial on how to use Selenium with their email testing platform. Because the code was already written, it was easy to adapt it to the new site. And it felt great to get further value from something I’d already completed.
I don’t advocate copying code from work (of course!) but if you have learned a new technique or concept, why not write some boilerplate code you can reuse in future? These scripts and code can be reused for future projects, saving you time and effort.
4. Side Hustle: Opportunities to Speak, Write and get involved
Creating a software testing portfolio can also open up speaking opportunities for you. When you have a portfolio, you have a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can share with others. This can make you an attractive speaker for industry events, conferences, and webinars. I’ve spoken about Portfolio’s at international conferences, keynoted at Ministry of Testing events alongside writing for Teatime with Testers and many others. In fact, my Test Automation University course came about because Angie Jones read my portfolio blog (which she inspired!) and saw I had an interest in Postman.
Speaking at events is a great way to build your personal brand and establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry. It can also help you grow your network and meet other professionals who share your passion for software testing. And let’s face it, it’s always fun to share your knowledge and experience with others.
5. Inspiring Others
Finally, creating a software testing portfolio can be an inspiration to others. When you create a portfolio, you’re showcasing your skills and expertise to the world. This can inspire others who are just starting out in the industry, or who are looking to take their skills to the next level. I have been amazed at the number of people who have reached out to me to tell me about their portfolio journey.
To Sum It All Up
A software testing portfolio can bring many benefits to a quality engineer. It can help you tap into the hidden job market, increase your confidence, promote code reuse, open up speaking opportunities, and inspire others. Creating a portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills and expertise to the world, and can help you stand out in a competitive industry. So why not start creating your own portfolio today? It’s a worthwhile investment in your career and personal growth as a quality engineer.
Take a look at my portfolio here if you want some inspiration – it has all the accompanying blog posts with it along with the github links if you want to delve deeper.
2 thoughts on “5 Reasons You Should Consider Creating A Software Testing Portfolio”
Love this, Beth. I’m inspired to start a portfolio, but not sure where to start. Any advice on getting started?
Inspiring *you* would be a huge deal to me!
I’d recommend checking out my ministry of testing article that has some good tips https://www.ministryoftesting.com/articles/2a9ee887?s_id=14601584 also the original post by Angie Jones that inspired me was https://techbeacon.com/app-dev-testing/10-portfolio-projects-aspiring-automation-engineers
My no. 1 tip though is – start small. Better to do a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing.
Enjoy and let me know if I can do anything else to support or help.
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