Experienced QA/SDET, wondering if this is a good career move

  • First post here in general. I'm debating what the next move for my career should be and could really use some external points of view.

    A bit of background about me:

    • 34 years old.
    • In South America.
    • Have a 3 year CS degree that's probably below a bachelor's and will likely not get validated outside the country.
    • Working in one of the top 3 companies in the country (and also one of the top non-FANG companies worldwide).
    • Been working in IT/CS since 2010.
    • Senior position. I do lead stuff and mentoring but I've never had a formal position that reflects that on my CV.
    • Since 2010 I've gone through several jobs. Lasting a year or so in each one at first because they didn't give me much room to grow. That changed with my past 2 jobs in which I spent 3 and 1/2 years on one and I'm 2 and 1/2 years on the current one.
    • Started as your usual manual QA but for the past 5 years I've been doing automation exclusively. In my past 2 companies I've also been in charge of setting the QA practices, training teams and heading the quality side of entire projects of my own. In my current company I'm not so much the one who writes tests for every feature but actually the one in charge of making sure we have whatever we need to carry out the testing, then the dev team writes the automated unit/int/e2e tests for their features. Basically I build the infrastructure, write the frameworks, bring ideas for new tools or approaches and things like that. Of course I also write tests whenever needed.

    Overall I'm pretty happy with what I've done with my career so far and I have established enough contacts and a good reputation that I know I can very likely get a job at any company in the country I'd wish to apply.

    Now, I always had this idea that if I'm gonna quit my current company it would be to go work abroad and... well, I have a formal offer to go to Germany.

    The thing is... I'm not 100% sure it is a good move career-wise. In every other aspect (quality of live, experience, etc) it is a HUGE change for the better but the position will likely be the same thing I'm doing now and probably without that many responsibilities. The position is for a senior automation engineer and the responsibilities from what I've been told read something like this:

    • Review/create test cases
    • Handle the QA envs using TF/k8.
    • Help push the change to CI/CD for releases.
    • Figure out how to do load test and make it easy for the devs to do it.
    • Everyone does manual smoke validations on release so doing that as well (Which I'm fully pretending to automate).
    • And the usual stuff of improving quality/speed to not make QA a bottleneck and spread good practices all over the team and department.

    Other stuff I've been told is that the team does not have a QA position. The department as a whole does not have any QA people beyond senior (so no principals or leads) and from what I understand there's a lot of manual stuff they do that should be easily improved.

    So, all the wall-of-text/details out of the way I could REALLY use an outsider's perspective on this. I'm pretty certain I'm worrying about nothing. Worst case scenario I end up in a place I hate and at that point I either suck it up for a couple years and get a permanent residency in the EU or just say "fuck it" and go back home where I will still have my own place and the ability to get a pretty good job quickly.

    The one question I can't seem to get out of my mind is. If I take the leap now it would likely be 2 or 3 years before I can be up for a promotion when in my current company I will likely get one next month or in 6 at the latest (but obviously I can't sit on this offer that long). Would being 37/38 and not having had anything 'bigger' than senior positions come bite me in the ass if I want to apply to those?. I'm pretty sure it won't but I only know the job market in my home country... not so much in Europe. I have lead experience as that has been my job for the past year... just not the official title in my CV.

    Anyway, thanks for making it this far. Just writing it out helped me de-stress a bit.

  • @lau Felt great reading about you experience and thoughts. If I were you I would go for it right away and avoid regrets later if any.

    As you said you would be getting a decent job pretty easily even if you comeback I say there isn't anything stopping you from experiencing a new culture.

    Sometimes we know answers, and all we need is a tap on back 🙂 All the best!

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