Alumni Spotlight

How Chris Became a QA Engineer with TripleTen

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Liz Eggleston

Edited By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on November 6, 2023

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After an initial attempt to get into web development through self-teaching, Chris Dillard realized he needed a different entry point into tech. By enrolling in the QA Engineering Bootcamp at TripleTen, Chris learned manual QA and QA automation, and got the career support he needed to land his first QA Automation Engineer job. Chris shares his insights on how he went from no formal educational background to a skilled engineer in just five months!

What inspired you to launch a QA testing career in 2023?

I don't really have much of an educational background. I graduated high school and attended some college but it didn't work out. I was in the same day job for roughly seven years and realized I wasn't going anywhere. In 2020, I started considering what I wanted to do next and what careers were in high demand, and I saw web development. After some research, I thought web development could be a good career for me. I tried learning on my own, hit a wall, and gave up. I was still interested in the tech industry so I looked into other positions that might have an easier entry point than web development. I was intrigued by quality assurance (QA) testing and saw I would need a certification. That’s when I reached out to TripleTen and became a QA engineer in less than a year! 

When you were self-teaching, what were you learning? 

When I was teaching myself to code, I was so new to it that I didn't know there was a difference between front end and back end but I was trying to learn front end: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The course I bought didn’t offer real scenarios so I couldn’t figure out how to apply what I was learning. I could understand the concepts individually, but I didn’t know how it all came together. When I found out about QA testing, it seemed easier to learn and thought it was something I could do.

When you were researching bootcamp options, what stood out about TripleTen?

I was ready for a quick change and TripleTen responded really quickly to my request — they reached out to me within two days, whereas the others set up a time and never contacted me or didn’t reach out at all! From there, the application process was simple. I talked to an admissions counselor about what I was looking for, what the bootcamp entailed, filled out an application, and started in a couple weeks.

Did you receive any special financing through TripleTen to make the tuition more affordable for you? 

At the time, TripleTen had a few flexible options, including upfront payment,  installment plans, and Income-based options: where you can pay part up front and the rest after you’re hired. I chose the last one and it worked out well for me, though the moment between graduation and getting hired was stressful. 

What was a week like in the QA Engineering Bootcamp at TripleTen? Did you juggle working while participating in the part-time bootcamp?

I dedicated one hour per day Monday through Friday. On the weekends, I would devote 5-6 hours. Overall, I was doing the bootcamp for 15-20 hours a week. I worked from home so it was easy to juggle, but if I had a commute I don’t know if it would have been as doable in the 5 months I completed the course in. 

At TripleTen, they don't let you see anything past the section that you’re learning — they tell you the course curriculum and the length, but after that you don't see it until you're there. You complete one section and then it opens up the next section. I think that's really good because it ensures that you don't get overwhelmed. The course length is 5 months all self-paced as long as you stay on track.

What did you actually learn in the bootcamp curriculum?

We learned both manual QA and QA automation. I learned about SQL, databases, APIs, and writing test scripts. TripleTen teaches JavaScript compressed into one section, which will be difficult for someone who’s never seen JavaScript to learn in two weeks! I definitely think the automation curriculum could go deeper. We spent about four months on manual and one month on automation. 

What were your QA Testing tutors like at TripleTen? 

The structure of TripleTen is self-guided. There are no instructors, but they do have tutors that are around during office hours to answer questions about the content and projects you’re working on. The mentors were super approachable and helpful!

What was the online community like at TripleTen?

There were a couple of us that formed a group and studied together. They've done a lot more to create study groups. When I went it was a lot of independent time on projects and asking tutors for support.

What kinds of projects did you work on in the QA testing bootcamp?

TripleTen uses their own apps for testing scenarios, so we tested input fields, like images or clickable things on an image. We did projects in database testing, API testing, and automation testing.  

How did TripleTen prepare you for the tech job hunt

When you graduate, you can utilize Career Acceleration and have a career coach! They host mock interviews, resume reviews, and a job strategy session where we identify roles I was interested in and go after those. I was just trying to get hired and didn’t think I could afford to be selective, but I received a lot of support from the resume review and mock interviews. 

What roles did you feel qualified to apply for after graduating?

I looked at a job description and if it included something I could do, I applied. As it got further along in my job search, I just applied to everything from temporary contract roles to permanent positions. I probably submitted over 250 applications!

Do you have any tips for others on the job hunt right now?

Looking back, mass applying is not the right strategy. You have to get in front of people and show them what you can do. I got hired because I built a connection with human resources at the company I now work at. 

Now you’re a QA Automation Engineer at Trustwell! Why did you get the job?

Trustwell was the only company that was interested in me, and they interviewed me for an automation role that dealt with a framework I hadn't learned yet, but knew a different one, and they ended up turning me down. I kept checking on their site to see if another position would open up and another was posted. This position had the same title as the one I applied for previously so I applied without reading the description. I received an email from HR saying it was a different role but that the manager wanted to interview me anyway.

What product or service does Trustwell supply?

Trustwell is in the food industry. They have an application where restaurants, grocery stores, and other food suppliers can manage FDA compliance through audits, recalls, and other documentation.

What kinds of projects are you working on at Trustwell? 

I'm on the engineering team of 10-15 engineers, including three QA engineers. Right now, we're doing regression, for the new features that are being developed. Then, once regression is complete, we'll get ready for release.

Are they mentoring you since you're brand new to the tech field?

I'm not being mentored but I am asking questions. The role I got was advertised as a mid-level position so they're expecting me to know a decent amount without needing hand-holding. They did go over their application with me, which is very complex.

Do you feel like you're hoping to eventually move on to becoming a software developer or are you going to see how far you can get into QA?

I still want to learn web development, but I also want to enhance my QA skills — there's so many other things that I can learn by being a QA! Maybe in a few years I’ll learn web development again — it's definitely a skill I want to develop.

So far, is this the tech job you expected?

I honestly didn't have any expectations as far as job duties went! This job is similar to my TripleTen bootcamp experience in that I'm testing things to make sure they work, so taking this job, I felt prepared from TripleTen’s real world curriculum. 

At this point in your QA testing career, was TripleTen worth it for you?

I originally went into web development because I wanted to make more money. In that regard it has definitely been worth it for me since I landed a job and can utilize these skills I’ve learned. It’s a lot of work and dedication, but that’s what’s sometimes required to get out of a stagnant, stuck situation. You can stay stuck or you can give a challenge a chance and see what you can gain! Compared to where I was before, stuck in a job I didn’t like, I had nothing to lose to take this leap. 

Find out more and read TripleTen reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with TripleTen.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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