With the likes of Amazon and Hewlett-Packard moving in on Manchester’s ever-growing tech scene, the northern capital is quickly becoming home to some of the UK’s most valued businesses, which in turn has created a hub of brilliant talent.

However, this has caused an issue with supply and demand and despite seeing engineers abandoning the Big Smoke for Manchester, there still aren’t enough to go around.

So, how do we fill the skills shortage and inspire the next generation to become our new testers?

In typical Northern fashion, we’re a friendly bunch and as a result we love sharing knowledge with the growing community. There’s been a sharp increase in tech-led meetups, which are a catalyst for brilliant ideas to flow, challenges to be discussed and experiences to be shared.

Manchester is home to some brilliant test events, including The Ministry of Testing, Equal ‘Experts Talks’ and North West Tester Gathering, all of which bring together passionate individuals in the industry to create a supportive community.

When I saw Tracey Kerr, foundation test analyst, and Chris Forsyth, foundation agile tester of Code Computerlove, wanting to give back to the industry and provide those considering a career change into testing with a safe space to learn, I welcomed Tracey’s invite to share insight from the perspective of a test Recruiter.

With Tracey’s retail background and Chris’ customer support experience, they’re the perfect advocates for an event championing “there’s no one way into testing”. Anyone with an interest in test was welcome.

QABC, hosted at the Code Computerlove offices in NQ, offered a non-technical introduction to what software testing is, how testing fits into the software development life cycle and some good ol’ fashioned jargon busting.

Tracey and Chris talked through two different methodologies in testing, Agile and Waterfall, different names for software testers and people they’d encounter as part of a larger team. The event gave everyone the opportunity to ask, “what’s the difference between a QA analyst and an automation tester?”, “what is Agile?” and “how can I get a foot in the door without any experience?”.

It was a brilliant night with a few brave attendees, powered by pizza, sharing how they got in to testing, none of which had a Computer Science degree, often seen as the typical route in to tech.

I shared what you can do to boost your learning trajectory, how to break into the testing job market, the do’s and don’ts when it comes to honing your CV, building and making the most of your LinkedIn network, choosing the right recruiter and using platforms like MeetUp to connect with people in the industry.

I’d be happy to chat to anyone if you would like to know more about the above, just send me a message.

The event was rounded off with a tour of the office to see the working environment of a tester, the Kanban boards and to reassure testing is not as scary as it sounds.

To top it off, Pepper, the most amazing Cocker Spaniel pup, was doing the rounds too.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, QABC has their second event coming up on Tuesday 29th October (sign up here!). Whether you’re thinking about a career change, have no idea if you want to go to uni or if you’re a nerd like me and just want to learn new things, you can check out the QABC meetup page or feel free to reach out to Tracey, Chris or myself.

For events within test, data science, devops and more keep an eye on the Burns Sheehan MeetUp page.