The argument over the importance of software testing, and how software testing should be taken more seriously, is as old as the hills. “Software testing is seen as a second rate career” is the most common thing testers have to fight against, with various degrees of success, normally dependent on the company they are working for and that company’s approach to quality. But do testers really help themselves?
Over the years I’ve been a tester and managed a lot of testers and others involved in QA. More recently I’ve also started to manage a development team, and when talking about careers to developers and testers, the difference are sometimes startling. Most developers had a plan from college onwards, most still have a plan, and it’s been coding. It’s rare you find someone fell into software development by accident. Now compare this with the testers. Some have a plan, some have stuck to a plan but a majority have not. It’s been a case of falling into testing, often from totally different careers or training. Think of it as being in the right place at the right time 🙂
This got me thinking – is it an issue that developers have a plan and testers just found their way into their chosen career? Does this in fact mean that testers have a more broad experience and that actually makes them more rounded individuals? Does this make them better testers? Does it just demonstrate the lack of formal test training in schools and universities? Do we need more certification to be taken seriously? (joke – we really don’t).
Whatever you feel about it, it’s clear to me that only be recruiting sensibly, by inspiring people to become career testers, and by continually sharing and demonstrating that software testing is worthwhile will we swing the balance. Those in the software testing profession should be focusing on those at the start of their careers, not just focusing on test process and continual improvement. I hope to be able to find more testers in it for the long run, and in the middle of a longer term plan for their software testing careers.