How to remain relevant – the book

I often get asked by testers how to remain relevant and employable and how to find the good jobs.

I normally give people a run down of how they need to evolve their skills, how they need to become better at communicating what they do and I also tell them to hop online and start building their network.

I’ve repeated this advice to a number of testers a number of times and I’ve had good feedback from this advice (it’s obviously more detailed than just the above few sentences). So I decided to write a book full of this advice plus a load more.

The book started at a quick 10 chapter book about getting good jobs and writing good CVs.

I aimed to have it released in January 2013. It’s now finally ready in September 2013.

It always felt incomplete and it turned out I had a load more to say on the subject. It grew and grew and then shrunk again during the editing, and then grew again after I added some more chapters.

It’s taken ages and I’ve learned a lot about writing a book and just quite how much dedication it requires.

I wrote the book during my lunch breaks at work. I’d shuffle off to the the 7th floor to an empty desk space and spend an hour writing. I’d often be surrounded by other escaped artists trying to grab some quiet time to get projects finished. It was all pretty cool until the “noisy lunch eater” joined us and the noise he made munching on his sandwiches was enough to dispel our happy band of artists.

I digress.

Remaining Relevant Book Cover linking to the LeanPup site

The book cover

 

Why did you write the book?

I wrote the book to help people understand how they must remain relevant, to provide advice on how to find good jobs and how to rock the application process.

I’m quite happy with the book now, but I do intend to extend it at some point in the future. Right now though I just need to ship it and focus on my EuroSTAR presentation.

I wrote the book using the Leanpub platform and thoroughly enjoyed the process. It’s pretty much finished but I do have a couple of reviewers still feeding back some changes and no doubt an audience of testers will report back any problems. I’d quite like to get the front cover updated also, but right now I’m ready to publish it.

It might also seem like I give the certification schemes a bad time during this book but I feel it’s justified. Many of the problems I have as a hiring manager (i.e. -finding great testers) are due in part to the belief that certifications are the only thing testers need to get good jobs.

There is also an entire army of recruitment consultants and test managers using certifications as markers of excellence and the sole means for recruiting – thereby created a supply and demand cycle.

Certifications are not a marker of excellence and they are not the only thing you need to get good jobs. You need more. This book will help you understand the ‘more’ that I feel you need. The certification schemes also don’t teach you how to progress your career in testing. They don’t teach you how to work with others, how to communicate well, how to find good jobs, how to understand job adverts, how to write winning CVs or how to rock an interview. I hope this book goes some way to helping you understand and apply these aspects of being a tester. Being able to test is one thing, being able to explain yourself, work with others and get a a job are different skills but crucial to your success.

I will also be covering some of the aspects from the book on my blog over the next few months, but with the alternative perspective of a hiring manager (I.e – me)

I will be donating 10% of all proceeds from this book to two charities split 50/50 between Naomi House and UNICEF. I will donate this money at the end of the financial year here in the UK.

Where can I get the book?

The book is available on the leanpub platform here : https://leanpub.com/remainingrelevant

What’s actually in the book?

The following are the main chapters from the book with a little text explaining what to expect in each chapter.

  1. About The Author – it’s all about me. Oh yes.
  2. Dedication – who the book is dedicated to.
  3. 10Percent – My donation strategy for this book.
  4. Introduction – A brief introduction to why remaining relevant is hard work.
  5. Stock CVs and Certifications – Certifications are not your silver bullet to getting a good job (I’ve tried to be subtle here. Certifications may help you get some jobs. I don’t believe the really good jobs will require a cert – they may ask for one, but it won’t be the only thing to land you a job)
  6. How to get started – Why are you job hunting?
  7. Is there really a career in testing? – Many testers believe that testing is a stop-gap job, something to do until something better comes along. The reality is there are some great careers to be had in testing. This chapter includes some ideas for driving out what you like about testing, if anything :)
  8. What Skills Do I Need? – Do you really need to upskill to get good jobs…….yes, yes you do.
  9. Learning – How to learn and why learning should be core to your self improvement strategy.
  10. Organising Your Learning – ideas for organising learning.
  11. An example of my learning – An example of how I learn – might suit your style, might not.
  12. Communicating Your Passion – How to communicate to other people what value you offer.
  13. Your CV – Lots of hints and tips on how to create a good CV.
  14. Creating An Online Presence – How to create a validated online social presence.
  15. Networking And Connecting – Why networking in person is so important to getting a good job.
  16. Finding Good Jobs – How to find good jobs.
  17. Understanding Job Adverts – How to make sense of boring, dull and misleading job adverts.
  18. Applying For Jobs – How to do an awesome job application.
  19. Speculative Applications – ideas on how to apply speculatively to companies meeting your criteria.
  20. Phone Interviews – Ideas on how to rock a phone interview.
  21. Interviewing – Ideas on how to rock a face-to-face interview.
  22. Accepting A Job – How to accept a job like a pro.
  23. Dealing With Rejection – Hey, it’s going to happen, but how you deal with it matters more
  24. Patience Is A Virtue – Slow down. Give it time. Patience is indeed a virtue when job hunting.
  25. Never Give Up – Don’t stop. Ever. Not until you get the job.
  26. Checklists – Simple checklists to help you prep for applying and interviewing.
  27. References and Further Reading – references.

Is this the same book you tweeted about writing nearly a year and a half ago?

No. That book is called “Idle Thoughts On Software Testing” and is due to be completed in January 2014……or maybe September 2014 judging by how long this much smaller book took.

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4 Responses

  1. James Macdonald says:

    Hi,
    Just bought and downloaded the book this evening and I can see it being pretty much “unputdownable” for me. Comes at exactly the right moment when I’m trying to decide whether I really can make my way as a Tester or not.
    At the risk of coming across as an unbearable smart-arse, there are a couple of typos I thought I’d mention in case you haven’t already marked them for correction. Please feel free to remove this comment once you’ve got them.
    page 9 “livelyhood” should be “livelihood”
    page 11 “laid of” should be “laid off”

    Thanks in advance for the help I know the book is going to give me.

    • RobLambert21 says:

      Hi James,

      Thanks for the nice comments. Thanks for the feedback on typos – had one of them listed but the other one was not picked up :) Thanks for that.
      The beauty of Lean Pub is that you can get the book out there for review before it’s really ready but the downside is typos and grammar mistakes :)

      Hope you enjoy the book and thanks for buying it.

      Rob

  2. Andrew Coyle says:

    Hi Rob,
    I’ve just purchased your new book. Raji informed me of it’s published existence. I’ve yet to read it but am looking forward to absorbing you wealth of knowledge.
    Many thanks
    Andrew