Code Camp for QAs: Cross-Training to Grow Your "T"

by Lindsay O'Neill on January 17, 2020

Folks in software quality come from all over the educational spectrum: degrees in English, anthropology and history abound. Somehow we stumble upon this vocation and realize our calling, but often, we can find our background IT knowledge somewhat lacking.

At Centare, we encourage people to build a T-shaped skill set, developing expertise in one or two areas while cultivating a broad base of general knowledge and supporting skills. For software quality, one great way to expand our skill sets is to participate in a coding boot camp. While a deep level of technical understanding isn't a prerequisite for every testing assignment, it can certainly pay dividends. Here's why you should consider it:

You can do this on the cheap

While you can pay thousands for an in-person, full-time, mentor-supported course, that's not the only way. Depending on your budget and learning style, there are a variety of options. You can find a comprehensive online boot camp for under $20, and go through it at your own pace.

Understand bugs better

Learning the nuts and bolts of programming can give you more insight into bugs you uncover as you test. For example, learning some basic CSS makes it easier to pinpoint and communicate issues with the UI. Or crack open Chrome developer tools and decipher some of those cryptic console errors.

Communicate better with your team

As you progress through boot camp, you'll undoubtedly start to learn more developer-speak. Picking up new terminology will make it easier to communicate with developers. You can better understand their approach to what they're programming, and you can share feedback more clearly.

Start automating tests (or automate better)

Perhaps the most obvious reason for a QA to learn to code is to write automated tests. While you can start automating without any kind of formal training, having some foundational knowledge of programming can help immeasurably.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, broadening your skill set is essential to make you a more well-rounded, effective QA, and a programming boot camp is a natural fit. Personally, as an English major who snuck into QA through a backdoor, I've found increasing my technical knowledge to be invaluable as I move forward in my quality career. Not only does this strengthen my test automation abilities and make me much more appealing to clients, but it also makes me a much better teammate.

To get started, here are some coding boot camps to check out:


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