Just a few things to get started in your professional life being the VERY best at what you do. It never has to do with technical skill, though that does help; it never has to do with connections or your network, though that does help; it only has to do with what you are willing to learn and your ATTITUDE.
ALWAYS be a part of the solution not the problem.
If you are always raising problems, never creating solutions, you will never succeed, in life or in your career. Think of things that could make your life better then extrapolate them to apply to others around you.
Example: As a QA engineer, do not wait for someone else to fix your issue, be a part of the fix. Ask what the issue was, understand the solution, document it so you can share it/ reference it if it happens again.
Do not wait for others to help you, help yourself.
Life is too short to be a passive being. Be a go-getter from the start and learn how to help YOURSELF by ASKING for help. Too often, we get into a rut and forget that to learn something, WE have to DO the learning.
Example: If you are blocked from doing something, find the resources to unblock you. Do not reach out to someone and if they do not respond, wait for them indefinitely. Follow up personally, ask them if they are the wrong resource, research documentation and/or search your knowledgebase/issue tracking tool for similar issues.
Gather information but do not hoard it.
If you run into a problem, chances are many before you and many after you will run into the same issue.
Example: If you get a question from a team member about a particular issue, answer it and save it for later use. If you see the answer coming in handy on a regular basis, create a library to save the useful answers. Do not wait for that library to magically be created or maintained. Promote it and when it becomes useful, others will automatically start adding to it and maintaining it.
Think Leader Mentality Not Hive Mentality
I have been worker bee. I have liked been a worker bee. But being the core building block of a company means that you see first hand the issues that plague the company. There will come a time when your voice will be heard and be ready to have ideas to make things better.
If we think of the whole, the absolute, as opposed to the specific, the detailed, we think about the cracks that could potentially arise down the line. Spending a little more time to address those cracks ahead of time may mean more time and effort saved down the road.
Example: Always think of the whole after you finish working on a feature. For a QA Engineer, this could mean thinking of additional scenarios that are more edge case, of regression impact, of even making it easier on the next resource by documenting something that was not called out.
Be Prepared to Explain Yourself - multiple times to multiple people
Public speaking is by far one of the most useful tools in a person's arsenal. If you don't like speaking publicly or get nervous, PRACTICE! There is something to be said for practicing a presentation 10/20 times so it becomes so ingrained in your psyche that when you are facing a crowd, you subconsciously do well.
Example: As a QA Engineer, I get a plethora of chances to explain myself each day. Why are you pointing this story so high? Why do you have to test so extensively? Why did you find so many bugs (this one's my favorite- Answer: Because there were so many bugs to be found???)
Learn to speak calmly, objectively and clearly. It helps to have some predefined reason for your process ahead of time because you will be asked these questions. And you will be asked again and AGAIN.