Software Testing Career – Are you moving in the right direction?

Posted on Posted in Exploratory Testing, Software Testing

So this image triggered some discussion on twitter, and I think it’s worth explaining it a bit more. With this picture, I wanted to highlight two main things

  1. Shortage of skilled/inspiring testers
  2. Need to move up and become a skilled and inspiring tester.

There is no scientific basis for this image. This image is purely based on what I have observed or experienced. I have met people who would be a perfect fit for the categories I have created. Also, this pyramid has nothing to do with the experience – It’s possible to spend an entire lifetime as a lazy tester and newbies can be truly inspiring. Also, it’s not a progression as such – skilled testers doesn’t mean that they’ll have to be community builders, domain experts or decent coders.

I have used this pyramid to show only one thing – the size of the pool.

I have seen fewer inspiring testers and many technical testers. I have seen fewer domain experts or experts in particular aspects of the system (such as performance, accessibility, security, etc.) than testers who can write decent code. Please bear in mind that this is my observation – not an Oracle – If you were to create a similar model, it would be different. For example, if you are a performance tester and hang around with performance testers most of the time, you might think there are more performance testers than testers who can write decent code :-). However, I think you will agree with the sequence of top and bottom three :-).

The second thing I wanted to highlight with this image was the need to move up.

Irrespective of the model we use for developing software, we are all part of a development team. Inspiring or skilled testers can potentially change (for good) the way testing field and testers are perceived by others (non-testers) in the team. They can show how testers can add value. In my opinion, many people remain lazy / good-enough testers because of the lack of push and motivation. If there are inspired testers around them to show the possibilities and lead the way – they might change.

We need skilled and inspired testers to change the perception that software testing is easy and anybody can do that. We need skilled testers so that good-enough testers can see the potential and become skilled / inspired.

Also, in a crowded market, possession and demonstration of skills (In community) is a good way to differentiate yourself from others.

And finally, as I mentioned earlier, don’t think of this pyramid as steps you need to follow to become a skilled or inspiring tester. This pyramid is just a model for me to see the relative size of testers in different pools and to see if I have moved to a different pool over time or not.

It would be worth creating your model and see where do you stand at the moment? Are you moving/progressing? Do you have the support and information you need to step in the right direction? How do you know if you are heading in the right direction or not?

It would be good to hear your story – please let us know how you have shaped your career and the direction in which your career is heading. Thanks for sharing.

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