One year as a test consultant – a retrospective

Throughout my career I have mostly worked in house for a “software house”, with which I mean an organisation that builds software as a core of their business model. Even my times at Finalist IT Group and Quantiq X-Media, when working for external customers, and in the case of Finalist on site at the customer, I have always worked for organisations that create software to sell or sell the services of developers.

When I left Spil Games I decided I wanted a change in my career? or better said, i wanted to try different side of the business. I had spent the better part of the last 4 years managing people and processes and enjoyed it a lot and now it was time to move my skills to a different level making sure enjoying myself as a software tester is as well in scope as the managing bit. I really wanted to get back to what I like most: software testing, setting up a testing process, showing developers how things can be better when continuous testing is going on, in short “finding solutions by executing and not just managing”.
For the last year I have worked as a test consultant at Polteq Test Services. In this year I have touched a range of things in my work I am extremely passionate about, setting up test automation, attempting to help testers improve themselves and the product they work on, helped review a book, used my network to help companies deliver better products by having them tested, helping out writing commercial offers for potential customers of Polteq and probably more I don’t even remember.

So far I have quite enjoyed the variation in the work and quite enjoy being on site at the customers. The one thing I truly miss though is the direct interaction with my colleagues. When working fully in-house there are always steady colleagues, who share your thoughts and worries about the employer, the atmosphere etc. In consultancy however, quite often you do not have your own colleagues on site, you’re mostly working with the customer. So now and again you want to be able to vent frustrations, whether they are about work, traffic or your customer, it is not always easy to do that when on site.

A side effect of working for a company specialized in software testing is, that I am a lot more involved in the “community” and development of the trade. My twitter stream is a lot more active, I have started blogging about my work, I try to stay in touch with communities and groups on LinkedIn and of course on Software Testing Club.

Extra personal effect of me no longer managing people, I am generally a lot more relaxed at home, I have learned to leave my work behind me and not (well, ok, hardly) take it home with me.

Overall looking back to this year I can say that I enjoyed my new position as a consultant. My expectations were quite high to be honest and  I enjoyed it even more. So far it turned out to be beneficial for both my professional and personal life. I used my skills and capabilities in a totally out-of-box way, discovered new talents and potentials and tried out quite some new activities (book, big presentations, creating a whole new concept / theory, etc).  At the moment I consider this a very good step for my career as this kind of job keeps me motivated and inspired.

6 thoughts on “One year as a test consultant – a retrospective

  1. I am currently making exactly the same change, in my situation it is to give me more control over the direction of my career. I started my career as a consultant (albeit a permanent employee of an IT consultancy and not self-employed), but have spent the last ten or so years working ‘in-house’ as you have. As a result I can easily identify with all the emotions (and frustrations) you mention. I am prepared to miss some things but I am hoping that the extra reward I’m seeking will offset those.

    • Hey Matt,
      for me the extra reward is definitely the fact that I barely get a chance to be bored with my work. There is a lot of variation in the things I do and the companies I work for, which really keeps life interesting and keeps me learning new things and technologies.

  2. Nice to read. I haven’t worked in-house, so I don’t know exactly how the interaction with colleagues is in that situation. But I do share the need to interact with colleagues! How do you feel like setting up a testing dojo for Polteq together?

  3. Hi Martin,
    Thanks for writing this post. I haven’t yet ‘made the change’ but I’m seriously considering it and reading your story gives an insightful glimpse into the future. I’ll be interested to read further posts on this topic.

    • Hi Kim,
      I am not sure how many more stories on this topic will be following, since i generally just blog about things that keep my mind occupied. I will try to come up with something though 🙂

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