start out as
start (one) out as (something)
To have one begin at some basic or low-level position, especially as the first stage in a process of development. Phil, start him out as a dishwasher and see how he does with that. Just because your boss started you out as a data-entry clerk doesn't mean that you can't move up in the company.
start out as (something)
To begin development from some particular status, condition, rank, etc. I started out as a QA tester, but I was eventually given the chance to be one of the company's software developers. It started out as short story, but I kept adding characters and plot developments until I eventually made it into a full-fledged novel. Hey, don't feel bad—we all start out as beginners. It's only through practice and experience that we get better!
start out as something
to begin one's career as something. I started out as a clerk and two years later I'm still a clerk! I wanted to start out as an assistant manager.