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The World’s Best Boss Needs Advice on Education October 24, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
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worlds-best-boss-bahai-insittutionsIf you watch The Office, you know that goofy Michael Scott, king of the faux pas, has a mug proclaiming himself the “Worlds Best Boss.”

I have been jokingly claiming that I am, indeed, the real World’s Best Boss in my video resume that I put on my Website. I don’t actively send this video to recruiters because I was really just experimenting with the video resume thing. Not only is it not professionally done, but I’m clearly not much of a comedienne.  On top of that, not everyone watches The Office so they might not even get the joke!

But still, I AM looking for a management job. Unfortunately, when I put “World’s Best Boss” in the search strings at the job sites, not a single job pops up.  Management jobs typically require you have recent hand’s on experience with whatever management job you’re seeking. They want the boss to be able to step in and do the work.  Honestly, I did my best management work when I was in QA… an area that I had no prior hand’s on experience.  I think part of what made me a strong manager was that I didn’t get in and try to do the work of the staff. I know when my boss tries to do my work  it make me feel like they don’t think I can do it. But I understand. Employers want to be sure the managers have the knowledge to be able to understand and help with the issues their staff may encounter.

My history is this: I spent 17 years as a Software Developer followed by 10 years as a Manager of Software Development, QA, and Customer Operations.  I like development, but I love management. I got a Masters of Science in Management so I have plenty of education and experience with management.  Unfortunately, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve done hand’s on development or test.  I’ve gotten quite a few interviews, but I think the reason I don’t get the job is that my techie skills are obsolete.

I’m trying to fill out this WIA paperwork, which is a government program that will help fund up to $5K of training if I can show it will lead to a job. With the vast amount of technology out there, it’s hard to know where to focus. Here are the four options I’m considering and pros and cons of each.  If any of you have advice, please feel free to leave a comment.

QA Certification

Pro: If I’m going for a QA Mgr. job, this would show that I know the fundamentals, vocabulary, etc.

Con: I don’t think I’ll really learn any new skills from this and I haven’t seen any jobs that require a QA certification, though there have been some that list them as nice-to-have.

Agile / SCRUM Training

Pro: Agile Development is a big trend these days and many jobs require experience and in-depth knowledge of Agile.  SCRUM seems to be the subset of Agile that is listed most often. Having this training on my resume, may help with credibility in an interview.

Con: I’ve done plenty of reading about Agile Methodologies and understand the concepts well. In fact, I think many of the development projects I’ve worked on incorporated the concepts, even though we weren’t calling the methodology “Agile.”  I don’t think training is going to give me the “experience” called for on the job req.

Automation Training

Pro: Automation, specifically the HP Toolset (Quality Center, QTP, LoadRunner) are hot items these days.  A lot of the QA Management jobs require automation experience.  Once again, I’ve had exposure these tools, but I haven’t actually used them. These skills seem to be in high demand.

Con: This training is expensive. I actually did have introductory training on the tools when I was at Sun, so this would really just be a refresher.  I don’t think $5K would give me enough training to become proficient with the tools and they are too expensive for me to purchase and learn on my own.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist

Pro: The development management jobs require recent development work. .NET/C# seem to be the most prevalent technologies. With my development background, I think I could easily learn these and it would refresh my development skills.

Con: The quickest I could complete this program is 9 weeks, and that would mean very agressive full-time study in a learning center, leaving less time to job-seek. If I go part time, it would take 4-6 months. It seems a long time to be focused on a skill that might not even be required, particularly if I’m going for a QA management job.

My paperwork for WIA is due Monday. Advice?

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