QA’s Roles Vs Goals: How to Balance Both to Achieve Your Goals

This article is dedicated to my passionate QA Fraternity!!!

Gone are the days when the QAs used to have ample time waiting for the builds to come and later they would start testing, raise bugs accordingly and then again wait for the developers to fix them.

They would spend a major portion of their time in practicing English, LOL!!. I mean writing Test Cases, reviewing them and finalizing them to be used for testing.

Time has changed a lot and so are the roles too. You may be lucky if you are surviving on just doing manual testing that too with big IT giants like Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Accenture etc.

QA Roles vs Goals

Being in a mid-sized or a small firm, you need to be aware of some special skills apart from basic manual testing. It could be anything like API testing, postman, SOAP, Database Testing, client-side validations to the more complex ones like automation and performance testing.

In this current trend, you might have noticed that the job openings even for testers with 2-4 years of experience, list down a lot of things.

Given below is a sample of the Job description for the role of a tester with 2-4 years of work experience:

  • Good Knowledge of Java.
  • Selenium – Mandatory.
  • Must be good in Performance Testing – Jmeter/LoadRunner with a thorough understanding of OS and performance tuning concepts

I have listed down only the basic skills but there are much more to add on to the list. Python, Perl, groovy etc find their own place in a majority of the openings.

So, what do we conclude here? Is the industry moving into SDET’s role?

However, I would agree on certain points like – a tester should have basic knowledge of the programming language and should be willing to do automation when required.  You must be wondering why is the term “when required” kept bold? This is due to the practices that are being followed nowadays.

A lot of companies hire for Automation Testing, but you should feel lucky only if you are able to find an automation project in that new organization. Many a time you would just land up in another manual project where you will find no scope for learning after few months.

The main reason for changing your current company might be “I am not getting automation experience”. You may have to put in all the efforts to learn automation and then change the company because you want to switch from manual testing. So here you are !!

You are screwed again !!


Another worst part which I have noticed happening in many organizations is that even a QA Lead or the QA Manager almost do the same work as a junior tester. This may not be the case everywhere, but being promoted as a QA lead doesn’t guarantee that you will get the roles you are looking out for.

Hierarchy in your project may lead you to do the same work which your peer juniors are performing. QA Manager roles are almost going.

So where should a Lead QA see himself in the future?

Finally, but most interestingly each and everyone in this IT fraternity dreams of going onsite. If you compare the onsite chances which the BA’s or developers get with what a QA gets, then you will feel sad to be on the losing side. I have worked with different organizations and there are some common words which ofter my ears used to hear from the HRs or Higher Management.

Those are the words that make me sad – “There are no onsite for QA’s”. But again, this is not the same case everywhere, However, I am just quoting the general trends in the industry.

So, let’s revisit the title of this article QA Roles v/s Goals.

The key point that I try to highlight here is “Are our roles focusing on our Goals”. I am sure that most of them would say NO!! As the days pass by, with the increase in your experience year by year, at times we do feel what is something new that we are doing? The answer will be that we are doing the same work that we did 3-4 years back.”.

I have come across profiles of certain testers that even with 10+ years of experience they are still working as “Test Analyst” or “Senior Test Analyst” whereas the developers with the same range of experience are becoming “Project Managers” or “Product Managers”.

If you retrospect the roles that you have been performing all throughout your career, then the below table will sound interesting as well as depressing. You will observe that you are not learning anything even after 7-8 years of work experience.

DesignationsYears on same role(AverageTotal years of Experience

Learnings/Concerns/Challenges

Junior Associate QA

11Test Case writing, raising defects, basic manual testing

Associate QA

1.52.5
Test Case reviews, Automation (if lucky)
Senior Associate QA

1.54Status Reporting, Automation, Performance (you start learning even if not in a project)

Associate Lead QA

26Creating Test Plans, Estimations and Team Handling( if lucky), assigning tasks, reporting status to client, more client calls

Lead QA

28Test Strategy, More Excel Work, Timesheet Management, Accounts creation, Billing Data

Associate Manager QA

311More of less you would have performed everything in Lead QA role.

Manager QA

314Almost no change in Roles, still thinking whether to continue in QA or move to BA

Director QA

317Almost no change in Roles. More on managing overall Quality in organizations.

So, I would say that 5-7 years bracket is very important in a QA career. You need to work on your strength & weakness and follow the path accordingly.

  • If you don’t have interest in coding and don’t understand Automation too, but you feel that you have good analytical skills and good communication skills, then better move to the BA role after 5 years.
  • If you are code crazy, then make sure you follow the Automation path. There is no point of staying in Manual. Keep changing the companies until you get your perfect role.
  • If you are not code-crazy but you understand the logic well, then understand the technologies in the market, and better move to Manager Delivery rather than Manager QA. And you will learn a lot in Delivery vertical.

Generally, people say that we should not switch companies very frequently but what if we are not satisfied with our roles? Should we compromise on what is going on? Keep on doing the same work if you don’t like? At the end of the day, keep on thinking what am I doing?

Guys!! Make sure that your roles make you reach your goals. If not, you are just merely compromising with your life and career. If you are not professionally satisfied, then you will absolutely end up ruining your personal life too.

About the author: This article is written by STH team member Hasneet. He is working as a Software testing lead in an MNC.

Have you experienced the same situation? Please feel free to share your experiences.

13 thoughts on “QA’s Roles Vs Goals: How to Balance Both to Achieve Your Goals

  1. Your article was an interesting read.

    I am also in a similar catch 22 situtation. I have a 10+ years of experience in manual testing only. I have little or no knowledge of automation. The only thing I am aware of in automation is Selenium web-driver(that too on a stand alone basis, i.e. working a simple single file code in Web-driver) and writing Cucumber feature files. Even for feature files, I am just writing them with someone else responsible for writing the step-definition and vocabulary/syntax/grammar. Never took the pains to look what is going on behind those feature files.
    API testing is another pain area which, despite being used in another team in my project itself, I never learnt. Tried learning it 2-3 times, but could not remain engrossed/interested in it for 1 or the other reason. Juniors are easily picking up SOAP UI ( API ) testing. May be, it’s my disinclination to learn something new which is the biggest road-block for me currently. Need to change my attitude and learn a few things so that I remain relevant in the QA market, which has already evolved quite a lot and is still evolving.

  2. Hi,

    I have 3.5 years of experience in manual testing and i have basic knowledge of automation but i want to learn new things in testing but not be able to understand, how can i start?

  3. Very truly said. After couple of years QA’s job is monotonous and no one bothers to give any responsibilities, or if you keep doing the same work without thinking of change, then no one bothers to give you any opportunity as everyone knows you are going to stick to the same place.

  4. Well, I do not want to be a staunch defender of lost causes, but despite how nice the article is written, I have the feeling that expressed as it is, if you do not automate then do not dedicate yourself to QA; and I also feeling that there is nothing more biased and harmful to the “quality of software” in this thought and in this statement.

    The demand of the market requires us to test more frequently and with more speed and of course with the highest possible quality, which necessarily also means empirical accuracy in the results obtained. It is true that many things have changed in this sense and it is possible that today the business decision makers are not permissive with the times and characteristic results of “traditional QA” and instead demand an evolution accordingly.
    This evolution has resulted in one hand, in the emergence of automation frameworks, that is in a sense the greater use of tools and consequently the development of “new skills” in testers.
    In the vast majority of cases these new capabilities involved the incorporation of knowledge associated with the world of coding such as IDEs, APIs, Web Services, code libraries, repository systems and branch management, use of methodologies such as test driven development, continuous integration, continuous releasing, among others things that never before were valid as preconditions to perform the role of QA / tester perfectly, until just a few years ago.
    Directly, I infer that it has also been translated into the reduction of human participation in terms of the QA managed and executed by human beings involving multi-functional roles in all stages of the development process.
    If instead testing is only valid from the point of view of the test automation, meaning the evolution of the tester, then I think we should not attribute this rudeness to the “Agile World” (as we were led to think if you look at the history) and its short iterations with its technical practices, but rather to a market that has grown thanks to the deceitful advertising of so many tools that promise utopias that to this day, I have not seen fulfilled in any of the more than 30 projects in which I have participated.
    Let’s suppose for a moment that it is totally valid that the QA market is only available to people who automate, and that those with only analytical capabilities, possibilities of only exploratory testing, plus “manual testing” execution, defects management, test plans designing and reporting abilities (admitting that reductionism as valid), no longer have a place in software development universe and as a consequence they must mutate to one of the roles proposed in the article; If that were the true situation, then we could say that practically QA activity does not exist.
    QA has died, instead we are already at the dawn of robotization and consequently we, humans beings are no longer needed in these areas of competition, while we can assume that the same thing will happen with other roles in short.
    The world seems to have accelerated 20X 30X, many things have certainly changed, but the guiding principles will remain the same, at least those that are worth sustaining, as testing will always be a set of activities that can only be executed by humans and everything else that can be automated and robotized will not be called testing, let’s say another name, many experts suggest checkin… but please, let’s avoid that such confusions continue.
    Let’s stop supposing that this helps us in some way to become better professionals in QA, because in reality those who achieve their goals presupposing that the ROLE HAS CHANGED, they are only facilitating the fulfillment of the business objectives of a few and weakening the labor market reducing it to the point that what many did before today a robot does.

  5. Hey guys
    Really a good article, I wanted to start as a tester but I was selected in software development profile, everything was going good salary company work pressure family etc etc things. But I am suffering because I was not interested in coding, in fact not 1% happy. I wanted to get rid of job, I started freelancing which again in development , but then I realised that problem is not with the job,it lies with the job profile that is coding which is not my cup of tea.

    I decided not to do it further, I quit worked,started some other random work,although not much successful but I was getting more happier than before..Now I have started a blog and one ecommerce project.

    So don’t waste time if you don’t enjoy your work. Quit Quit Quit. It is the only key to start what yoy like.

  6. QA palys a pivotal role in different stages. They helps to shape the software from its very initial development phase by communication between development team and stake holders. In all their role will define the targeted goals, if they plays well the targets would be fetched easily.

    Their primary role includes to find bugs during the whole product development phase, in turns it deliver the quality software into the market which ultimately helps the organization to achieve overall growth.
    Great post! ??

  7. I have experience of 2.5 years in manual testing only. I have done a course on selenium webdriver. There is no Automation testing in my current company. I want to switch to Automation testing. But all the companies are asking for experience in automation rather than just having basic the knowledge about it. Please can you give your suggestions.

  8. Very good article which depict current situation of QA. hats off to Hasneet . I think entire IT industry has huge population that is the reason professionals are being exploited by asking to multiple role , cross knowledge bullshit..
    if you take other industry in the case of HR..they are still doing HR they are not asked to do developer work or Finance work . only IT professionals are being exploited due to large available of IT resources in India and all company want only 2 to 4 years with all expertise and work like a donkey for 24/7. Lets take a example of hotel industry u have Dosa Master he wont work on other work. Even in construction industry electrical asked to carry out electrical not construction work only in IT industry one day u have to be manual tester then another day performance tester and on other day selenium expert bullshit.. this is the right time entry graduate to concentrate on core industry rather than IT industry for 4 years you will feel lucky later there is no career growth full of exploitation.

  9. In olden days at least people used to get onsite opportunity now it is rare and none of country is willing to welcome indians example US and Australia they don’t want you to come their place..10 years big corporate used to pay 2.5 to 3.5 lakhs as a average salary for entry level freshers even now they are giving same salary for freshers 2018 and the job is not secure..look at other industry any industry salary is doubled for entry level guys

  10. @Witty Wilson
    I can understand your pain as I am going though the similar situation. I have almost 3 yrs of manual testing exp. and now looking into Automation. I have knowledge of Selenium, appium etc..
    Currently companies are not hiring manual testers much and shifted to automation. Also they require automation testers. So few things which we can do to face this situation are:

    1. Admit to a course for Selenium. It has a huge demand currently.
    2. Start creating automation frameworks after learning. Take the help from internet.
    3. Start working on live projects in automation testing. You will find those on internet.
    4. By this way, you can show your automation knowledge and experience.
    5. Add automation skills to your resume and job profiles on job portal sites.

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