Is Software Tester’s Job Really a Low-profile Job?

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. 

_Low-profile Job

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.

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?

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87 thoughts on “Is Software Tester’s Job Really a Low-profile Job?”

  1. I absolutely agree with you. 2 years back I entered testing field against my will. I was on bench n forced to do testing. I consider myself lucky now. :):)

  2. thanks for busting all these myths. These were really bugging me in my career and now I can refer this post to someone asking me if testing is good for them or not. thanks again :)

  3. And there is also a myth saying “If there is any crisis/recession, organisation’s layoff eye would first look on testers”…which is absolutely false..If you are a quality performer, you always have job security..and if you are either way,you are on edge irrespective of your job..may it be development or whatever…By the way, kudos to author for sharing this article at the right time when tester really are slowly losing their confidence…

    • @ hari
      absolutely right. thanks for sharing and busting one more myth!
      Top performers always survive any crisis no, matter if you are a developer or tester.

  4. Nice article I am absolutely agree with you there are so many myths in IT industry about testing but you explain very impressive way…Thanks Again…

  5. Hai vijay,

    super article. I am passionate about the Testing.

    i need some suggestions from u.

    i have 2.5yrs of exp in mobile testing. how much i want to paid yearly.

    and also i am in manual only.

    For domain knowledge what are the area i want to improve or learn.

    rply me vijay,

    Thanks & Regards,

    • @ Kesav
      If you want to continue in mobile testing their are tremendous opportunities in the same field. To get domain knowledge you can participate in beta testing of mobile applications online. You can find these opportunities using Google. Also you can learn automation tools for mobile application testing. Learn various emulators and frameworks.

      The pay for your experience can vary by companies and it can be anywhere between 2 to 5 lakhs per annum. But as I said it may vary by company to company and may be less or more than that.

  6. Kudos… My contribution to this post is that It hardly matters if someone is in dev/test/BA/sales. Until and unless you are not enjoying your work or putting your full enthu then there is no point of leveraging the salary that employer is paying you.
    I am in IT from past 5 years and many of my testers friends including me are getting higher salary then devs. The only reason is that we love our work, we do enjoy so have gained expertise in domain and the market technologies ;-)

    • @ Tarun
      Thanks for sharing your experience on salary, and for the nice message – work enjoyment is the most important factor.

  7. Nice roundup, although…., it should be mentioned that some of these items are only in an ideal company/project (not so common). For example saying that ‘the testing team’s opinion of whether a product goes live or not is final’…, more often than not ‘the person in command’ tries to ‘hide’ the problems and release anyway. Now of course, that is a topic worthy of it’s own discussion, but i thought i’d mention it anyway, for completeness sake. (or am i ‘testing’ your article? damn my professional deformation ;-) )

    • @ D.Dierickx
      Yes in ideal process it should be the decision of testing team called Go/No-go decision. It is important because the final decision, which is taken by the management, depends on this.

  8. The Myths Or Fact column is really nice.. Im a Test Engg.. most of times I had all these doubts regarding my career.. Thanks again for making it clear

  9. This is a very good post, clear all the doubts in the mind. i have 2+ years of experience in field of software testing i have won 2 back to back employee of the months award leaving all the developers behind ..since i joined my company. if you do anything from your hear+brain success is yours

  10. software testing is the best part in development cycle phase.but job is not thats much easy to get. i am searching for one year..and i am not getting because companies dont have opening for fresher as i have done both manual and automation both

  11. Well summed up article. thanks for clearing this with us.

    However, some companies (this day in age of advanced technology ‘nd processes) still regard testing teams/department ‘as a nice to have’ team/department, in which case it goes to certify the myth mentioned in this article as true.

    But then again, the top management understand ‘nd value the role testing play in SDLC, testing can be worth fulfilling.

  12. Tester gets no credit for the final software product – So True

    I am in testing since 3yrs and see this in each and every ocassion

  13. The real problem for a QA starts when we searching for oppurtunities. Look at the openings for QA when compared to Dev, the ratio is around 1:4. regarding pay, though at the entry level all of them are paid equally , the companies wont do the same as we gain exp. lets say for a Dev of 6 yrs exp the companies are ready to pay 12 lpa where as for a qa it would be definetly 10-20% less. why are QA’s paid less – Look at the client billing rates. for a Dev it would be around 30$ per hour but where as for QA it would be around 22$ per hour.. Pay wise i am pretty much sure QA is paid LESS than Dev.

  14. Yehh !! I am an accidental tester ;) Though being computer engineer instead of choosing development choosing software testing as a carrer made me luckier enough.. I love testing ;)

  15. 10 years before I just entered in the field of Software Testing as a Trainee and managed to grow upto Manager of Testing Team. I got lot of things to learn. Even I realized that how important Testing is when management use to ask me what would be your time limits, what are your feedbacks on the current product, will it be acceptable to client, etc… Feeling lucky to be in this field and will obviously continue in it only.

  16. Nice Article.Thanks for sharing.It will lift the Spirits of the QA Team.During 2004 Recession, I had to move to Testing.Thanks to the Recession,as they were firing Dev.s in our company(since they were highly paid and could afford them…when the market was down)…some of us were forced to move to Testing…as our company could not afford to lose some of them.We moved to Testing hesitantly.Currently when I look back,I feel that we took the Right Decision…as the Demand for the QAs is more than when we started and the Growth(including the package component) is also same(and sometimes higher) as/than the Developer.QAs are no less than Dev.s is my Experience.
    P.S: I am Happy to share this article in all my Social Networking Sites.Thank You.

  17. Well it is really very encouraging to all the freshers who are into testing and want to make something really great in the same field.

  18. @ Yashdeep, Sanjay
    the pay depends on many factors mentioned in this post 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.
    So a manual tester *may* get less compared to a performance tester or a performance tester can get more than a developer.

  19. Hi Vijay, thanks for this eye-opener article. I’m in testing field since last 7 years and have faced those myths occasionally. Although you’ve busted all myths well, am not hesitant to say that there is little truth in Myth #3 :).
    If we see s/w testing as a profession across the globe, you’ll find many emerging economies where they don’t accept testers easily as part of IT-Ops. Sometimes they’re considered only for blaming the failures. Majority of the decision making is done by Business & Execution Management where Test Team do not have representation. Testers are only deemed to give a health report not the verdict. Hope my message goes in right spirit, without hurting the sentiments here :)
    Yes, landscape is changing off-course.

  20. My Heartiest Wish TO All Experienced Testers,
    Currently I have started my IT career in SEO Field just before 2 months ago as a fresher and now I want to shift in
    Testing field, so is my decision is right and good for or not. please help me and guide me as I am very much tensed about my career. I also would like to mention that I have done BCA and MCA so be a tester will be good for me as compared to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or not.
    Looking for some great and really helpful answers..

  21. @Praful
    This is not about whether you want to SEO or Tester. The fact is which field interests you more. Don’t follow like the flock of sheep. You need to filter yourself from the negative thoughts and just concentrate what actually interests you more.

    It’s not about as you have accessed this software testing page and then suddenly you change your mind after reading the reviews. Don’t panic money will follow you when you love your job..:))

  22. Hey guys,
    This is Awesome post to boost a Tester’s motivation ,
    I have recently entered this field i am Android Content Tester and i just have 5 months Experiance right now and even have average knowledge of Android development , and now by reading the comments i have got an idea of what are the possible future of my Field, Can anyone guide me More accuratly , What should i do..?

  23. This is very true info. I agree with this. Thanks a lot for clarifying the myths. But I do agree with Sanjay’s opinion that QA gets less pay as compared to Dev.

  24. hey guys i admired ur all myths ..currently i have entered in to testing field..working as manual tester in website appication can anyone tell how should i improve my technical skills and what are the new updated skills i need to get for my career?

  25. Currently i completed MSC (CS) and my age is 38, i want to work with software company, having any probability work as QA, if yes please advice us

    Thank you

  26. I have read entire article and all comments and found that each one of us is correct in your own context.
    My thought goes in following way.
    Myth #1: No application of Engineering knowledge
    In the context of entire IT (not any stream development, testing, DBA etc.) It is true that you can jump into information technology field without having engineering knowledge but the value of the having engineering knowledge (or qualification) would have different impact in your career path.
    In the context of testing, it is very easy to get into manual testing with(out) prior knowledge of the engineering but if we talk about specialized testing services like performance testing, security testing, database testing, testing advisory services or even test assets management service, the prior engineering knowledge will defiantly help to take better decision in the benefit of time to market.
    Myth #2: Limited scope for learning
    Tester learning curve must be higher than anybody else in IT organization because he/she is the only individual who can break the system for good cause. While doing this activity (test scenario identification, thinking negative/positive scenario and finally executing those scenarios on the product), actually tester is wearing a hat of business to prevent the failure before/after production movement so, he must need to learn to identify the failure at all level (domain level, technical (code, database), server failure (performance testing) and security testing). If tester fail in any of the above task, the business will get fail so, he must need to learn/unlearn wisely.
    Myth #3: Credit not given to the testers for the final software product
    This things depends on many factors:
    Company Culture: The QA/Testing needs to be top down approach starting from CIO/CTO to newly joined fresher(s). If founders and top management are more inclined with developers and development community then there are high chances to taste the failure on the production from top notch customers. There are number of companies who depends on the development community and slowly added testing services to prevent the failure on production.
    Client Portfolio: It also depends on the customers as well where there is a concept called client vs. matured client where client itself asking for testing on the first glance.
    Its depend on you (only you) in which company and client you want to serve.

    Myth #4: Pay for developers is higher than testers
    Robin says “To double your income invest triple in your learning”
    The pay is depend on the number of factor like (supply vs. demand) if you are manual tester and you want to die as a manual tester then you need to keep your growth till 10% to 15% hike on an year.
    Nobody is going to pay more if you will not learn performance testing, security testing & test management with commercial and open source technology.
    The general trend of the billability is as below.
    $Manual tester (3-5 Years) < $Developer (3-5 Years) < $Performance Tester (3-5 Years) < $Security tester (3-5 Years)

  27. I have a query, please guide me, it’s been 8 months since i work as a network analyst. I joined as a fresher for n/w analyst. I want to know if i can switch my domain in testing, am i eligible? I am asking this because although i am a B.Tech in CS but have no testing experience in my past.

  28. I always wanted to be a developer, but my carrer turned out to start with it as a Software Test Engineer. I had a very bad feeling that i got into the field which was not my aim to be, but now after reading this article i guess i will stick to be Software Tester rather than a developer. Thank you for such a nice post. :)

  29. Hi , I have a question , i have a 2 years of experience in java developemnt ,but now i am thinking to move into testing profile as development does not facinates me any more .I am kinda of bored of it,I dont want that when i go for a testing job they treat me as a fresher in testing so i am planning to do a selenium tool course as i had done devlopment in java.Am i moving into a right direction ,should i go for some other tool like QTP etc.plz help.

  30. added to it , I have never done testing but i am very much sure that testing will be much more intersting than development .Plz help me in taking right decision..

  31. Hi Harry,
    You are very much right on ur career path.We have a opening @ insideview.Drop me your resume we are pleased to deploy intelligent individuals like you.

  32. Hello vijay,
    I am working for the past 10 months in game testing and now i want to make a career in software testing.I already did a software testing course and also read your software testing career ebook,but the catch is that i’m 2012 passed out,with some gap after my graduation and has less than 60% in 10+2.

    Will my game testing experience work in the software testing industry? If not,plz suggest how to enter the software testing industry?? I’m really wandering helplessly,Plz help me out…..Thanks in advance…

  33. One way to feel that you have chosen the right track is to use your programming knowledge in automation testing. This way testers can feel good about their technical skills and still do testing in the end.

    Great post…thanks!

  34. Really am clear now after reading this article. Being a Tester i felt little low on Testing. Now i realized the truth. It really helps me a lot in adding up my profile

  35. Hello,This post is really good…
    Sir I m completed my Bsc-IT in 2014 .. Now going through a course PSTS(Professional Software Tester Specialist) from well-known academy.. Is this enough for getting permanent job in Testing?How much Salary will I get as a fresher?

  36. software testing (Manual) is a shit job. you have no skill, any can do that job, it require no experience. i m doing it for last 5 years. Initial pay is good but as you move up, no one is ready to pay what the developer of same exp. is getting, coz there are a lot of freshers are available who can do the same job you are doing. Either learn some automation or work in same company till you retire.

  37. When I enrolled into the IT business I was forced to choose into two things: 1) an intern position to get developing experience or 2) a software tester position. The second option was brought by a senior tester that showed me the importance of the testing work in software development, showing me even an example of whatever happens when load testing is not used in a project. I got really interested on that and I decided to follow the tests path. One thing is true, not all the companies pay well for this work, however when you get experience you can join better companies and better payment, even better, you can learn the importance of the QA applied in a software project and to enjoy the work. More important, you can go more deeper in the software development process and get a key position on a project.

  38. Hi as a Fresher i have joined one E-Learning software company 2 moths before , but there i have found my self that my coding is not so good so i have decided to switch my self from development to testing with my senors permission, so please tell me, my decision is wrong or good?


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