The Need Experience/Get Experience Trap

Last night I put this advertisement up on Linkedin:

Hello Folks. I’m looking to help place a mid to senior tester in the North Central Region of the USA. Relocation provided. Salary and benefits from day 1. Must be able to work in the USA, cannot sponsor visas. Must be onsite. Testing work is for mobile devices with randomization and gaming. This is a senior contributor role expected to develop quickly into lead and test management. This company views customer-facing-testing as something that humans do. While tools are fine, an obsession with test automation will not be a fit. If you ever said you were “just” an exploratory tester, well, get rid of the “just” and talk to me, goose. Thinking minds inquire within. Please Share like etc.

Several people suggested Arlene Andrews, an enthusiastic beginner I have been following on twitter for some time. Arlene is sharp, articulate, and has a wide and impressive amount of life experience.

She just hasn’t done any (full-time salaried) software testing (yet).

The help wanted ad is, of course, completely real. The position is still available. If you might be a fit, or know someone, let’s talk.

With the skills she has, the motivation and commitment she has demonstrated to the software delivery community, I wanted to help.

The get experience to have experience trap

Mumble-odd years ago, when my hair was entirely brown, I entered the job market during an upswing. My bachelor’s degree in Math with a concentration in computer science was good enough to get me hired, and in a year or two I had experience. By the time I started working on my master’s at night, the dotCom crash had happened. I started to hear this complaint, that it takes experience to get experience is a trap.

When I look back I see that I got lucky three ways. First I had supportive parents and the opportunity to go to college, again that I happened to know exactly what I wanted to do at the age of seventeen. My third stroke if luck was when I graduated at the right time – the tech boom was driving a booming job market.

Arlene’s life hasn’t played out quite that way. Her background, while impressive, does not include the exact right credentials. She is stuck in the get experience to have experience trap. Sadly, as much as I’d like to support her, my recruiting fees are generally paid for mid to senior level experience people. I just can’t put her forward.

So this is what I am going to do.

Excelon does have some part-time, remote work we can staff out to her. That at least gets Arlene knowing how we work, how to invoice, and gets working with Excelon on her LinkedIn. Second, we are going to sponsor her to attend the Women in Open Agile event this October. The conference free is $350.00.

Excelon has already committed to getting Arlene to the conference; I (Matt Heusser) will personally get her airfare covered. Will any one else step up with hotel, conference ticket, food, Uber fare?

The Excelon Business Model

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that our business model is based on creating opportunity for those willing to do the spade work. This is sort of an extreme example, with a payoff that is uncertain and delayed, as opposed to immediate and certain.

We need to do things like put testers in the North Central Region, right now. That is a “keep the lights on” opportunity.

Every now and again, though, we get to do something that is less keep the lights on, and more investing in community.

Today we are trying to help Arlene get started. The road to revenue is uncertain, but we’d like to try.

Will you join us?

There is a GoFundMe for that.

Maybe tell your friends?


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