Is the economy getting better? Worse? No matter what, these 3 tips will have you ready! What happens if the economy goes down? If you are a software tester or manager, how can you prepare? We have identified 3 trends that can help you prepare for an economic downturn if you are a tester or test manager. Happily enough, if you do these 3 things, you’ll also be in great shape if the economy improves! Trend #1: When the economy goes down, educational enrollment goes up. Build an Advantage: If you are a tester, get ahead of the crowd. Recession-proof yourself by building your skills now. While layoffs can be a surprise, the reaction is not. When faced with job loss, professionals seek education and credentials. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. educational enrollment levels peaked just after the recession ended. What does that mean for you? Be proactive. Improve your testing skills now, before the next recession hits. Yes, you’re probably very busy right now. But consider this: it’s far less stressful to add new skills while you’re still earning a salary. If you aren’t sure where to start, see the Software Testing Career & Skills Path for ideas. Don’t wait for your employer to send you to training. Taz Daughtrey, the Lead Cybersecurity Instructor at Central Virginia Community College, noted that self-development is important for today’s software quality professionals. “It’s not quite the ‘gig economy’ but there is certainly much more self-reliance and initiative in growing one’s own skills,” said Daughtrey. Trend #2: When everyone wants a job, getting an interview can be frustratingly difficult. Build an Advantage: Build your resume and contacts now. There were many stories about how difficult it was to get an interview during the last recession. Companies were overwhelmed with applications. They only interviewed those who stood out from the pack. Judy McKay, author of ASTQB’s very popular white paper, “7 Things a Software Testing Manager Wants in an Employee,” offers advice about getting your resume noticed. “Training for specific areas of expertise can make one more marketable. For example, it’s rare to find a testing job these days that doesn’t want automation experience as well. Performance testing and security testing are just added cherries on top. Making yourself attractive right at the resume will get that vital foot in the door for a job.” On any given day, job boards such as Indeed.com may have hundreds of postings that request candidates with ISTQB / ASTQB certification. Imagine the importance of your certification when an employer is overwhelmed with applications and is trying to decide between two candidates. Moreover, many job postings specifically ask for certification: “ISTQB Foundation Level certification (CTFL), ISTQB Foundation Level Agile Extension (CTFL-AT) and ASTQB Mobile Tester certification (CMT) preferred.” This isn’t a theoretical example – it is from a job posting during a good economy. The author of “Surviving the Top Ten Challenges of Software Testing,” Randall Rice, agrees. “I have talked with several of my advanced certification students who have told me that having multiple advanced certifications is a real attention-grabber in the marketplace. Instead of getting one or two calls, they get more like 10 to 12 calls.” Getting your ISTQB certification from ASTQB has an extra benefit: You can appear in the AT*Work™ directory of software testers that employers use to search for currently available certified software testers. This is an ASTQB/AT*SQA exclusive benefit: you can only appear in the directory if you earned your ISTQB certification through ASTQB or AT*SQA. Don’t overlook your professional network. When a recession hits, LinkedIn lights up with contacts and referral requests. Now is the time to make those connections. So join the ASTQB LinkedIn group. Go to your local software quality meet-up. Connect with past colleagues to see how they are doing. See if you can help someone else in their career. All these actions will pay off if someday you need help in your career. Trend #3: The amount of work doesn’t drop as quickly as the number of staff to do that work. Build an Advantage: If you are a manager, build capacity now. The word “recession” brings to mind images of layoffs. But there is another side of the coin. Just because there are fewer workers doesn’t mean there is less work. Imagine being a manager in that situation, with your own job on the line. Thankfully, there is a solution. You can increase the capacity of your team with advanced certification training such as Test Analyst and Technical Test Analyst. Similarly, you can add skills through specialty testing certifications such as Test Automation Engineering, Security Testing, Performance Testing, Usability Testing and Mobile Testing. The time to build those skills is now. Talk to your team about recession-proofing your department. They will appreciate the proactive approach, especially because it might help them keep their jobs. To save time and reduce travel costs, consider doing remote training with an ASTQB-accredited testing training provider. This is the easy way to build capacity and efficiency across your entire team because everyone will be using the same terminology and principles. As a bonus, if your team provides consulting services internally or externally, adding advanced and specialty testing skills will allow you to take on a greater range of projects. Competition during a recession is fierce, so adding those certifications now will also help your team win new projects when it counts. Conclusion As busy as you are, it’s probably difficult to imagine another recession. That’s precisely why now is the best time to prepare. So build your skills. Build your contacts. And build your capacity. Then get a good night’s sleep knowing you’re ready for whatever may come. In the worst-case scenario of being laid off, ASTQB has you covered with extra career benefits such as being included in the AT*Work™ Software Tester Directory that employers use to find the best software testers.