A lot of choices!
It's not quite true that there are no or few chances for job promotion in the career of software testing.
A software tester starts a career as a trainee and becomes a senior software tester or software testing leader having worked for 4 to 5 years. Playing a leading role covers supplementary responsibilities like metrics collection, review, quality assurance, process management, SDLC models selection, administration etc.
Here is the comparison of a tester’s a career and the experience for US market (it can be differ from company to company):
Salary - US $
Software Tester (Junior or Trainee level)
Under 1 year
Software Testing - Middle Level
About 3 years
Software Testing - Senior Level/Lead
About 5 years
Software Testing - Architect
About 10 years
Software Testing - Manager
About 10 years
Software Testing - Director
About 15 years
As you start manual testing, you can achieve the below specializations:
Automation Testing. As an automation Test Engineer, your responsibility is to conduct automate manual test case execution that alternatively can be time consuming.
Performance Testing. As a performance test engineer, you must check the ability of application to respond.
Business Analyst. The main advantage of a tester over a developer is that they have a profound knowledge of business. A clear career advance for testers is growing into a Business Analyst. Being a Business Analyst you must analyze and estimate your company's business model and work flows, and particularly their integration with technology.
The longer and more persistent you will work in this field, the faster you will grow as a professional and the more successful your career will be. Start right now! A long trip starts with a small step! Having started a career in IT as a QA engineer, you will be able to grow in one of two directions – either technical or managing processes.