Software Tester’s Job – Is it really as low-profile as it is believed to be?
Sometimes, the decision to become a Software Tester is not a deliberate one for some of us, especially at the beginning of our careers.
Though the desire to be a successful IT professional is strong, we assume that the term ‘IT professional’ is synonymous with ‘Developer’. While being a developer is great and has immense potential, it should not be concluded that being a tester means the exact opposite.
When a testing opportunity presents itself, there are many doubts in our minds and we often wonder whether it’s the right career move or not.
What You Will Learn:
Myths About Software Tester’s Job
These are some of the Myths that may be in the minds of beginner-level IT professionals:
Myth #1: No application of Engineering knowledge
Myth #2: Limited scope for learning
Myth #3: Credit not given to the testers for the final software product
Myth #4: Pay for developers is higher than for testers
None of which are true. Let me explain why:
Myth #1: No Application Of Engineering Knowledge
- Many times, we (Computer Science graduates especially) feel a sense of disappointment if the first assignment in our first job is a testing project. This is because the curriculum of Software Engineering does not include the Software Testing discipline. So we are unprepared to perceive that topics other than development, DB or network have anything to contribute to software production. It is natural to feel slightly cheated.
- However, though it is not typical or required of testers to have an in-depth understanding of programming languages, this trend is changing and testers with programming skills are highly valued. We can find that out for ourselves if we persist for a little longer while trying to learn all there is to know about the QA field. This is one of the places where “Our patience will be rewarded”.
- It is also interesting that we testers are paid to disbelieve in a product. Nothing malicious of course. Our intent is to find problem areas before the users do – which can be achieved only when we know the intricacies of the software product to the maximum extent. If this is not an application of knowledge, then what is?
- The next step to uncovering shortcomings with software is to delve a little deeper. Root Cause Analysis – this means we not only report an issue, but we also analyze the issue by applying the knowledge gathered from our experiences and figure out the possible reason for the issue. This is the value-add we testers should aim to achieve.
Myth #2: Limited Scope For Learning
- Testing is not a haphazard activity. It needs a lot of planning, strategizing, understanding of technology, time management and also the not-so-obvious aspects like understanding the software’s ease of use, market relevance, performance, etc. The uniqueness is that a tester gets to have a 360-degree view of the software from all angles – thus Domain Knowledge expertise, expertise on best practices in the software development process and technical know-how are some of the additional areas we will have a good grip on.
- Continuous learning is the key to success in any field. It is true of testing too. We could choose to move forward towards performance, Automation, Security, Database or any other testing methods that are so much more technical in nature. Or we grow in our careers as Business Analysts, Technical Writers, sometimes Project Managers, etc. because of our process application, management expertise and business orientation.
- A major part of our job description is to collaborate with the other project teams, present/facilitate various meetings and to create process documents/reports, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity to practice communication skills, in the form of writing and presenting information in an effective manner.
Myth #3: Tester Gets No Credit For The Final Software Product
- Quite the contrary, the testing team’s opinion of whether a product goes live or not is final. We get to play God in this case. :)
- We also have a unique opportunity to suggest changes/improvements to make the product better. This is because, according to us– “A missing requirement/enhancement is also a defect”.
- As a matter of fact, there is no prejudice in the industry against any team that contributes positively to a software product. Our efforts do not go unnoticed and to think that they would is simply inaccurate.
Myth #4: Developers Are Paid More Than Testers
- Not true – pay rates are equivalent.
- All entry-level professionals are paid the same (irrespective of what discipline they belong to).
- Moving further along in your career, the pay depends on factors like – your previous pay, your experience in the relevant field, the new position’s expectations, the financial situation of the new employer, the current market demand, etc.; not on the branch of IT that you work in.
Note: Not to forget that ambition and aptitude are critical drivers. Some of us want to excel in certain fields and have set certain goals for ourselves. If those goals happen to fall outside of the Software Testing field, then so be it. We wish you the best in your pursuit.
We hope that the above myth-busters will reassure those of us who have been plunged into the testing field accidentally or unavoidably that this is certainly not a dead-end but a fork in the path towards a bright future. In fact, this might be one of those accidents to be thankful for.
In the comments, let us know how many of you are accidental testers and how you like the QA field now. Do you agree with our list and explanations?