My Journey into Software Testing… So Far: Brennan Nadeau
When I first read about PLATO’s program, I thought it was too good to be true. After graduating high school, I decided to take a year off. I wanted to spend a year working in my community and try out a digital creative art program with Wolastoq Education. At this point in my life, I didn’t think the idea of going to university or college was right for me. Still, I was intrigued when I saw an ad for PLATO’s Indigenous Software Tester Training program. I have been interested in technology since childhood. I love playing video games and working with different computer programs. Combined with my interest in technology as a career and the length of the course, the Indigenous Software Tester Training program seemed like a very reasonable place to start.
The process for joining PLATO’s course was simple once I got started. I filled out a form on the PLATO website with the required questions. I got an email back with a scheduled interview with Denis Carignan, Executive VP Indigenous Impact & Innovation and Jessica Boyer-Bennett, PLATO Training Coordinator. After the interview, I received an acceptance email. Before the course, I was living in Perth-Andover. When I received the acceptance email, I was initially daunted about finding a place in Fredericton and moving to a new city so I could take the course. Really before the opportunity to take this course, I had only visited Fredericton as a child. I luckily found a place within my budget and could move in before class started.
Even during the first week, I was still incredibly nervous that I would not have the skills needed to do this job, and I was in a new city on my own. I did not know any coding languages or testing tools, and I was about to start a whole new career. On the first day of class, though, I quickly learned that I did not need to know those skills and that everything I needed to learn to become a software tester would be taught during the course. My fellow students were all incredibly quiet during the beginning of the course, I think because we did not know each other yet, and we were all paying attention to learn how we would become software testers. However, once we figured out what we were doing and got comfortable with each other and our instructors, the classroom became somewhere to look forward to. It was fun learning together in a place where we were able to be ourselves with everyone.
The course taught me a lot of skills I never thought of as being a part of testing. For starters, every week, we had to read an article related to software testing and write a blog response to the article to improve our writing skills. I benefited from these writing exercises a lot. Before the course, I didn’t have much experience writing anything. As the weeks went on, I saw my writing skills improving and now I can use those skills to create my own blog post for the PLATO website.
We also practiced public speaking in front of the class. The first time we did it, we picked our own topic and made a PowerPoint to go with it. Then as we did more public speaking, we were given topics on the spot to simulate having to produce information quickly for speaking in stand-ups.
Finally, we got to take on life skills such as budgeting, office etiquette, and even how to start a new pot of coffee in the office during the course – although that was not necessarily in the curriculum. My teachers also supported me greatly as I developed the life skills it took to move to a city from a small rural town. I have our teachers Dani and Ellery to thank for being there for the class and me as we took significant steps together and grew into the life skills we need to make this new career possible.
I compare testing to how I like to take things on in real life. What I like about testing is something explained to us in the first days of the class when we started learning about testing on a calculator: “Do not be afraid to do anything when testing and ask questions. Like what will happen if I divide by 0 on a calculator?” I was nervous about starting a software tester training program. Still, I took on the training to see what would happen and then with “this test,” I could keep going forward in the course, and as I continued to ask questions, I continued to become a better tester.
Now that I am halfway through my internship, I am excited about the graduation ceremony. I will invite my closest friends and family to be there, and I look forward to getting my certificate. Besides my high school diploma, this will be the first accomplishment I can hang on the wall. The fact that I am getting it while I am still young fills me with confidence as I look toward my future. I am also proud to see my fellow classmates graduate with me. As a class, we all got to hear each other’s stories and what we’ve done to get to where we are now, and I am happy that we are all finding something we want to keep doing as we get started in software testing.
To learn more about PLATO’s Software Tester Training program or to start your career as a Software Tester, visit our Training page.