ASTQB was fortunate to learn the story of Jeanette Volquardsen. We thought you would enjoy hearing it as well.

You are currently a QA Lead. Can you tell us a little about your job?
I have been in Quality Assurance since 1994 and am currently a hands-on QA Technical Lead freelancer in a large medical company in Denmark. That means I am driving a team of QA analysts, mentoring, coaching, helping, teaching, and supporting them all the while still completing my testing activities. Mostly, I coordinate test case writing and execution along with defect prioritization and other testing duties that are more of the management caliber. It is the way to go if you like to run a team but also want to know what is going on in the weeds. I feel like I am a way better manager when I can answer all my team members’ tech questions as well as their test strategy questions without hesitation.

There seem to be many, varied paths that lead to a career in software testing. How did you enter the field?
As many others do, I began in testing quite by coincidence. The IT consulting company that hired me right after college noticed my structural flair for breaking software along with knowing how to keep doing it. It was fun. I liked the methodical ways of Quality Assurance and knew I liked breaking software. It tends to be more of a coincidence for many.

You currently split time between the United States and Denmark. How did that come to be?
I was an expat in Chicago, U.S. for 26 years and decided to go back to Denmark. The company I worked for in the U.S. went bankrupt during the pandemic and I wanted to see if I could work from home/remote in Denmark, but for a U.S. company. I decided to move before I had landed a new job and hoped I could land it from Denmark. While in Denmark, getting settled, I noticed that there was a remarkable shortage of QA Professionals and applied for a few jobs in Denmark. I was incredibly lucky and received two job offers after the first two interviews. I accepted one with the condition I would be able to work some weeks/months from Chicago, IL during the first few years. I still have a family and connections in Chicago and need to go back frequently.

You have an impressive set of ISTQB certifications through ASTQB: ISTQB Foundation, Agile, Advanced Agile Technical Tester, Advanced Test Manager, and Advanced Security Tester. Can you tell us how these will help your career?
When I applied for QA positions in Denmark, I noticed that ISTQB Foundation Level certification was a must-have in Europe in order to be considered for the positions. Some American certifications such as CSQA and CSTE from QAI were unknown and the employers did not care for them. In looking into taking the ISTQB certification exams, I noticed that ASTQB & AT*SQA were the only organizations that made them count on both continents. I was very impressed with that as well as the ability to take them online. It was a win-win. I hastily read the syllabi and sat for the certifications through AT*SQA. It was fast, efficient and well organized. I can completely recommend them. As soon as I completed the certifications, I was hired on. It was a no-brainer to acquire them and it was what got me hired.

You’ve earned your certifications just recently. Have they been helpful? 
I know that without them, I would not have landed the jobs that I did. The fact that I took several certifications right after each other impressed the employers as well as interviewers here.

You’ve taken the above ISTQB certifications through ASTQB (ISTQB in the U.S.) and their ISTQB exam provider AT*SQA. Can you tell us why – and if you would recommend that others also take their ISTQB exams through ASTQB and AT*SQA?
I took the certifications through ASTQB & AT*SQA because they were the only ones that could put you on the Official U.S. List of Certified Testers™ as well as the ISTQB Successful Candidate Register. I love that fact and it was the #1 reason that I chose ASTQB as my preferred exam provider of all time. I thought that was a win-win as I am not certain my Danish adventure will pan out. If it does not pan out, then I can still use the certifications to prove to American employers my achievements.

It was why I started with ASTQB. Then it turned out be an amazing experience. ASTQB and their exam provider, AT*SQA, were a solid choice. They were fast, efficient and a great partner to work with. Going forward, I would need a very good reason to go to someone other than ASTQB for my certifications.

What career advice would you give to someone who is starting their first job in software testing / QA?
If you are first starting out in QA, my advice to you is to get involved. Join your local Quality Assurance chapter, such as CQAA in Chicago (Chicago Quality Assurance Association). They are great for networking and for landing jobs. You will be surprised how little and tightknit the QA community is. Everyone knows everyone really fast and you want to be known in your QA circle. It has landed me several jobs and the connections are fun too. Another solid piece of advice is to take a Quality Assurance certification. I can, of course, recommend the ISTQB Foundation Level certification through ASTQB. The ISTQB certification is becoming more known and respected in the USA. The benefit of that certification is that you do not need to renew it ever as it does not expire. The syllabus is online and all you need is your smarts and your will to succeed. You got this!