I always wanted to be a teacher from my childhood days. I have seen my mom giving tuition. My aunts, uncles, sisters-in-law, and cousins were all in the teaching field. Since I grew up observing them all teaching, I also envisioned myself as a teacher. I believed there was no better profession in the world, and I still do.
As I grew older, my goals shifted slightly. I started to see myself as a lecturer rather than a teacher. I was the first girl in my family to become an engineer.
During my studies, I never thought about working in the IT field.
I had a narrow view that IT or Computer Engineering meant only for coding. The employee has to work around the clock and move to another location. So, I had enough reasons to convince myself to pursue a career in teaching. Even today, if someone asks me in the middle of the night to explain how to debug a program using a loop, I can do so happily.
After completing my engineering degree, I started working as a lecturer. After getting married, I moved to a new city but continued working as a lecturer. During that period, my husband went to Singapore for work, and we all moved to our native place. I could not find a lecturing job as there were no engineering colleges. And other colleges only offered positions as computer lab assistants, which I declined. I began providing private tutoring for engineering students, and my life seemed settled.
Discovering Passion Through Writing: My Journey from Boredom to Blogging Bliss
Then, a turning point occurred in my life. Within five months, I also moved to Singapore. I managed to find a job in marketing, which was outside my skill set. I soon realized that it did not bring me joy. And without joy, there was no fulfilment.
I left that job after three months. I started getting bored. I did not have much to do except grocery shopping and household chores. One day, my husband suggested trying something new! It can be writing or documenting or anything that could help to stay content. I had never considered writing before! He suggested some blogging platforms like Medium, Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress. I created accounts for each of them and started publishing articles.
WordPress turned out to be the most engaging platform, and I decided to continue writing a blog on WordPress.
That was how I started my blog, out of boredom, which became a passion later. I connected with hundreds of fellow bloggers. I also started participating in various blogger events and started getting recognition. And this was something I could do for hours.
Crossroads and Choices: Navigating Career Transitions from Teaching to Testing
In 2015, we returned to India. We settled in Pune, which presented a new challenge for me in finding a lecturing job. Some institutes only offered me positions as visiting faculty. And pursuing further studies seemed impractical at that time. So, I had two options left. Either continue writing blogs full-time or join the IT sector. I enrolled in a testing crash course, which I would not recommend anyone to do. The institute focused on theory more and minimal practical knowledge. I also cleared my ISTQB certification.
And you won’t believe what happened next….!
After a few months, I landed a position at rtCamp as a QA Engineer! It’s fascinating to think that I initially used WordPress as a consumer to publish my blogs, and now I find myself testing websites built on the WordPress platform.
Like many others, I once considered WordPress to be exclusively a blogging platform, unaware of the efficiency and sophistication of the entire WordPress ecosystem.
Back then, I had little technical knowledge about WordPress, but I became familiar with the plethora of terms specific to the WordPress environment and other technical nuances. I delved into concepts ranging from the Dashboard to slugs and post metadata, among other things. Initially, I conducted manual testing of websites, but over time, I acquired proficiency in various automation frameworks. At rtCamp, we have explored a multitude of frameworks for comprehensive automation, covering areas such as end-to-end testing, visual testing, acceptance testing, API testing, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about our QA services, you can explore them here.
COVID19 – A Journey of Career Break, Home Schooling, and Life Lessons
Fast forward to 2020, a year we remember as a pandemic! I took a career break around June 2020 for many reasons. I decided to home school my son. Teaching a preschooler is quite different from teaching a college student. I had no idea how I would be able to make homeschooling happen. I come from a traditional school environment.
To understand the depth of homeschooling was also a challenge for me. I had no idea where to start!
I started following many such accounts dedicated to homeschooling. But it did not go well initially. We took multiple breaks. I kept revisiting my failures in homeschooling strategies, what went well, what could be improved, and how can I make more engaging things like that!
I also started reading many parenting books. My son became more comfortable with the time. It was a journey filled with various gaps and learning experiences! I started documenting my parenting and homeschool journey. I also share bits of it on Instagram too.
During those years, we traveled to many places around India. And homeschooling became more like school on the road. It was not only about learning ABCs and 1, 2, 3. Homeschooling meant acquiring life skills. We traveled to different places, immersing ourselves in local cultures and food. We worked and improved on many aspects during our home school journey. Apart from academics, we learnt gardening, composting, eco-friendly practices, reading books, sharing toys/books and many more new things! My son never liked books but we ended up visiting the library twice a week!
My husband and I considered extending homeschooling, at least for kindergarten. But there are always pros and cons to everything! Home schooling is blissful yet it comes with challenges for parents and kids. I also wanted my son to attend a real school and want him to understand the difference between homeschooling v/s going to school every day where school follows a fixed curriculum. He is too small at this age to understand what is best for him. I wanted him to experience what school life is all about! Luckily, we found a good school in town that does not follow the traditional teaching approach. They focused on teaching children how to think rather than telling them what to think.
Emerging from the Comfort Zone: Rediscovering My Career Path After an Extended Career Break
As my son started school, I again had some free time but was unsure about resuming my career. I retreated into a cocoon of safety. Resuming work meant facing new challenges for which I wasn’t prepared. So, I took more time to adjust to the upcoming changes. I explained to my son why I wanted to work and prepared him. Today, I am proud of how well he has managed.
Overcoming Rejections and Career Break Challenges
During the second half of the last year, I began preparing myself. The job market took a hit due to an economic downturn. Layoffs and pay cuts were happening even at major companies like Google and Microsoft. Despite the challenges, I started looking for job opportunities. My journey was marked by numerous rejections, even after successfully clearing interviews. In several instances, when multiple candidates vied for the same position, my career break seemed to be a decisive factor in being overlooked. This experience was disheartening, as many organizations fail to recognize the value of individuals who have taken career breaks!
My Journey Back to Work with rtCamp
But fate had other plans. I reconnected with my former employer this year around April 2023, and they didnât let me down. It gives me goosebumps even now as I write this. I resumed my career back at rtCamp this year in June 2023
Rejoining the same organization after an extended break gave me the feeling of returning back to home after a vacation! rtCamp is known for its motto of “Good Work and Good People” and they proven to stand by it!
From User to Contributor in the WordPress ecosystem
One of the remarkable aspects of rtCamp is, that we are encouraged to contribute to the WordPress ecosystem. I gradually began contributing to the WordPress Core, and it fills me with pride whenever even a modest suggestion, enhancement, or reported bug gets approved. Whether it’s a small or substantial contribution, each one enhances WordPress as a whole which millions of people use, resulting in continuous improvements. Being a part of the WordPress community brings me immense joy, and I consider myself blessed. Here are some of the tickets that opened and got fixed.
Inspired to Speak: My experience of attending Speaker Workshop for Indian Women
Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Speaker Workshop for Indian Women in the WordPress Community, which took place on September 23-24. This workshop not only boosted my confidence but also shattered many myths. It made me realize that no one is an absolute expert, and nobody is perfect. Sooner or later, you break the cocoon to free your wings if you want to fly!
Regrettably, I hadn’t been able to attend any Meetups or WordCamps before. However, I am genuinely looking forward to participating in upcoming WordCamps and meetups very soon!
From testing exam papers to testing websites
I only knew I had teaching skills, but WordPress taught me to be versatile. One should keep exploring various opportunities rather than waiting for destiny to knock on the door.
By the way, rtCamp is always hiring. If you’re interested in working with rtCamp, visit their career page.