Career Questions to Ask Yourself

At Atomic, we take on a bunch of graduates in our Accelerator program. As part of their training, people working at Atomic will be scheduled to have an hour-long talk/interview with these graduates. The purpose is to explain the what, why, and how of your role at Atomic and then answer any questions these new developers may have. This year Atomic recruited another QA Analyst, and I’ve been having regular meetings with her to discuss testing/QA matters.

I’ve found that having to explain to people what I do and answering their questions has been very useful. This post lists some of the areas that I’ve had to think about, either from explaining my role or from the questions I’ve been asked. Maybe your career could benefit from asking these questions as well.

Am I stuck in a rut?

Every year there are a new set of Accelerators to give my talk to so it’s easy to just dust off my talk from the previous year and repeat it. But, hold on. Have I not learned anything new since then? Do I really do things the same way as when I started many years ago? It’s a good way to do some self-reflection and realize that maybe you need to shake things up a bit and not get complacent.

How do I show my value?

Having to explain why I’m useful on projects is another part of my talk. This can be split into two parts: how am I valuable to the team and how am I valuable to the client? How can they see and know why it’s worth having me on the team? What can I show them to make this visible? I could point to the 10 bugs I found during the sprint (that were fixed before it finished) but what if I only find two on the next one?  Did I add less value? If a developer does refactoring and reduces the lines of code by 200, have they still added value?

What artifacts do I produce?

What artifacts do I produce and why? Is a test strategy and test plan essential or do they gather dust once they have been written? Is a report of all the testing sessions I’ve done really useful to the client? What artifacts do I need to help with my testing?

How am I at context switching?

I usually work on multiple projects so there’s a lot of context switching. How have I learned to make this switching efficient? How do I work out which project to give my attention to and when?

What’s my strategy for getting up to speed?

How do I get started on a new project? Do I take different approaches depending on the project? Is my approach different on a brand new project versus on a project where the focus is on updates and enhancements?

What’s my typical day?

What’s my typical day like or do I not have one? Is my typical day the same sort of day as when I started at Atomic? (See “Am I stuck in a rut?” above.)

What do I enjoy?

Am I having fun at work? If so, what makes it fun and why do I enjoy that part so much? Conversely, what parts are not fun, why not, and what could I do to make them more enjoyable (or spend less time having to do them)?

I’ve not given any answers to these questions here, but the post aims to get you to think along similar lines and topics and evaluate what you do and why and how.

You could also try explaining your job to a rubber duck but they are not very good at giving feedback and asking questions…


Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *