Money Making, Software Testing Career And Secrets of a Richest Tester

Nowadays a lot of people who pass out of engineering and science colleges are interested in taking software testing as their career. When I passed out of my college, IT had started to boom back in India, most of the fresh graduates with whom I interacted didn’t even know that there were jobs or careers in software testing.

I was offered a job as a tester in a startup for 7440 rupees a month compared to fresh developers (who were picked from better institutes from where I graduated) being paid 34,500 rupees a month.

Today there isn’t such a huge difference between what testers and developers get paid and I consider this generation to be luckier than my generation without ignoring the idea that my generation might have been luckier than its previous one.

Secrets of a Richest Tester

When I started my career as a software tester, I didn’t find any training center, which could coach me on software testing, and I lacked guidance too. I didn’t know about Google and its power of search.

In the organization which I worked for, there existed a senior software tester, not by designation or for the technical competence but just that he joined that organization 6 months before I did. He happened to coach me. I blindly believed all that he said about testing. I believed him and never questioned him at all.

By believing whatever he said I think I was becoming dumb. I looked for someone who could coach me and found two great people, one a developer and other a software architect in the organization whose ideas were much impressive than that senior software tester.

The duos were more open to questions from me as compared to the so-called senior software tester. When I questioned all things that I heard from the senior software tester, I found that most of what the senior tester said were highly idiotic.

I realized that my quest in life was to see myself doing good or great testing in the future. To do that, I must learn, I must learn, I must learn, I must practice, I must practice, I must practice…

What do I learn? What do I practice?

When I asked for information about software testing, some of my friends sent me few materials that were nothing more than, – types of testing, techniques of testing, different types of documentation, a process of testing and development.

A question that I asked myself, changed my life and you as well might wish to know what that question is: Is there something beyond what all these people think software testing is which I can learn?

Now that leads to more questions. If it exists, where does it exist? Who has the information? How can I find it?

That lead me to discover James Bach one of the world’s leading expert tester. His career graph is one of the most impressive career graphs that I have seen till date. He is a school drop out at 8th standard and yet became the youngest Test Manager of the world at the age of 20 in Apple Computers. He even helped Microsoft in Test Specification and was an expert witness in court cases that involved investigations of the computer world.

He has travelled to most countries where software testing is being done and has carried out consulting assignments over there. He is a kind of tester that can make most testers in the world feel ashamed of their lack of skills, knowledge and maybe money. This reminds me to say, he has made lots of money.

I thought this man must have a secret with him that other software testers don’t know and I wanted to learn that. I found that James Bach is very similar to Jackie Chan as he considers skilled testing to be a mental martial art. Sorry, James doesn’t have any testing certification that you know of and he thinks certification doesn’t help, so don’t try to think of certification when you are thinking of James Bach, the great tester, and guru of software testing.

I had to pass through several mental martial arts tests before I became his full-time student. Let me not take you through the entire story but to let you know that I reached a stage where he hired me to represent his company in India.

I don’t like comparing myself with others and run a rat race but some of my friends who were comparing with me were very disappointed as I progressed. I travel around the world speaking and coaching at international conferences. I am featured as an expert tester sometimes (which I acknowledge, I am not) in other countries. I have a fan following for my blog.

I am an independent consultant, working on different projects in a day and for different clients from different parts of the world. I coach, consult, speak, write, think, test, manage and learn software testing and problem-solving. I was interviewed by CNBC as they considered me a problem-solving expert and wrote a column for them as an Expert problem solver. I was invited to manage testing for an organization products and services division with about three years of working as a software tester. I have tested over a hundred and twenty-three products, so far.

Reputation means more money but if you do things just for gaining reputation you won’t get it. Reputation is a little tricky. People think it is about doing things what other people like but I think it is about other people liking what you are doing.

Don’t worry about too many “I”, I have written in this article and for the moment, think if you have so many “I” to say or probably even more, in testing that makes people approach you for consultation, you would be making more money than you ever imagined you would make as a tester.

I want to see Indian testers make more money than what they have been making. That’s precisely why I am writing this article for you all.

To start the journey, apply this heuristic: Question everything that – you hear, you see, you feel, you want to see, you want to hear, you want to feel, you don’t want to hear, you don’t want to feel and other things you think you missed.

How to apply this heuristic?

Let me give you an example to get you started: There is a common myth (which means something is fundamentally wrong but people blindly believe it) by which most testers to my knowledge in India live: Testing is done to improve Quality

  • Who said the above statement?
  • Why should I believe it?
  • By having the above idea that testing improves quality, can any tester on Earth say how much quality he has improved?
  • If a tester can’t say that then there is something wrong with the fundamental behind it.
  • Improve what quality?
  • What is quality?
  • Who defines what quality is?
  • Does a tester define what quality means?
  • If I go to a hotel and the hotel owner says he serves quality food and I as a customer think the quality is not good, whose view is important?
  • How can merely finding bugs improve quality?
  • So, if a tester reports 5000 bugs and the developer quits the organization the same day, has the quality improved?
  • So, if a tester finds 10000 bugs and doesn’t report them, has the quality improved?
  • In the above case, testing did happen, and hence did the quality improve?
  • If I was a tester report 50 bugs, and the developer in a context of fixing bugs introduces 100 more bugs, has the quality improved?
  • Why do all other testers don’t understand the fundamental that it is a developer who can improve the quality?
  • As a tester, isn’t my job to find information about quality than trying to think of improving the quality?
  • Oh my God! I have been misguided all this while. So what’s testing then?
  • Isn’t the above question, a good question?
  • Didn’t I learn from this that many people around us are fooling and that is what is stopping me from becoming someone like James Bach?
  • Do I want to be fooled?
  • Should I allow people, bugs, documents to fool me?

About the Author:

This is a guest article from Pradeep Soundararajan. He is a Consulting Tester, Satisfice Inc & Software Testing Magician. Reach him at his blog Tester tested

Feel free to share your comments/suggestions below.

173 Comments on “Money Making, Software Testing Career And Secrets of a Richest Tester

  1. hello sir ,iam so inspiried by your artical, you’s good & infomative

  2. Half way through the article I got bored, honestly…, not as informative as it looks, its not even inspirational. Anybody can become a tester and developer, but what sets great developers and great testers is commonsense. I read through James Blog too, I think this guy is copy pasting thing from that blog and to satisfy his ego. Yes as a tester if you just reporting bugs, and getting it corrected, I feel that any body can do that, but what makes a tester different from others is to think like a customer. Apply a rule, if I am not happy using the product its very likely that the end user will not be either, that’s my thought.

  3. @Pradeep

    Have you trainer anybody for free? The once you have trained have they got any job? Or you just let people read your bold and gain knowledge?

  4. Agree with AnotherTester. Commonsense and ability to think as customer makes one a great tester. As far as making money is concerned, being at right place and right time is important.

  5. Freshers and experienced guy don’t go by this article. Practically speaking this article sucks. In my experience certification doesn’t do a thing. I can mug up for a certification and attend interviews and clear the interviews, but I cannot perform a job. Like Tina mentioned Commonsense and ability to think as customer is more important than having ISTQB certification or any other recognized certification. This article is written is copy paste of James. Honestly, to excel in a job and learn more, you have leave ego, and not gloat about yourself in such a manner as in this article. I have read James blogs too, he is different. I doubt this article seriously, may be this guy made money. I have met real great testers who can put developers to shame though they don’t know anything about coding, they don’t have certification, they have such in depth knowledge and yet they don’t call themselves as experts and they don’t gloat that others call them experts, they do their work silently and certainly they don’t talk about money making. I am still learning from such people. Testing is creative process it’s an art, which people can cultivate, and honestly testing is all commonsense applied.

    I think I rock, you think I rock, but there is a difference in the meaning of the rock you are thinking and I am thinking, there is ambiguity i.e. you are thinking about a real rock that is just stationary, but whereas I am thinking that I am a rock start in. We have to be very specific.
    What matters is what you can apply practically, there is a difference between certified knowledge for the sake of knowledge than certified knowledge for the sake of certification.

    I have interviewed people with ISTQB certification with 5+ years’ experience, but still their answers come exactly like textbook answers, come on after 5 years I need practical answers. I have interviewed a few freshers in testing, some of them apply the knowledge they have gained, and others still remain bookish. Honestly not all interview questions are straight forward. Other things is as you gain more experience you should never forget basics and concepts.

    To the freshers that are reading this blog don’t get carried away. Don’t do a certification because testing is easy, and don’t get into testing because testing is easy than development. Both jobs are equally difficult, no training institute will tell this, compared to manual testing automation is tough because now-a-days testers are supposed to write scripts, so if consider coding is tough, I guess then automation is not your cup of tea. Then again it can be learned with your effort.

    Everybody thinks they rock in their job, I think too, it doesn’t count, other should tell you, not just because of the hype, other should truly appreciate a person based on real knowledge. When they appreciate I should keep quiet, I need not feel happy, because there are others that are better than me and they are humble, so when they don’t gloat I shouldn’t.

    • Great comment. I found this blog by searching desktop application testing techniques. I thought it’s worth smth. But than I opened this article. I saw such guys in Ukraine. They fool a lot of people by name themselves “QA specialist and mentors”. They can’t produce anything, they like to kiss QA Lead ass and etc. One guy even called himself QA automation specialist but in fact he didn’t script at all. One very senior guy told me, that guy like this “automation specialist” just dumb and we can’t spent time on him even during our discussion. I guess author of this blog is the same type of person. Comments of this “specialist” made me feel it on 100%.

  6. Thank you, sir, for such a great facts about testing & definitely going to follow this thing afterwards…

    I m currently working with a small organisation having a team of just 15 experienced people. My designation is Software Test Engineer..I m the only one Tester right now & no senior experienced testing person in our organisation to help me out..if getting trouble I always discuss my issues with Developer & Designer..also always taking help from online expertise,…so please give me suggestions, How to raise my skills in Testing further ?? What particular area or Skills I need to focus right now??

  7. Nowadays the value of a good tester has really gone down, all the testers feel that they are underpaid and not having a respected job in the software world.

    Nowadays mostly all the testers desktop would should some or the other IDE and some programming code would be there on his/her monitor. Most of them are trying to learn coding, and move to SDET roles (which is a fancy term to attract talent).

    The person who was a great tester is now in the verge of becoming a mediocre developer.

    Let me ask you all in the 1st place, why you became “testers”, i will start with my answer “to find the mistakes made by others-(DEV) as i really like to break things”. but that seems to have changed now as everyone is trying to d o stuff which they are not good.

    and the fact and irony in the industry is that, you report 1000 defects in a year and at the same time some mediocre automation guy writes 10 TCs automation which wont catch any defect. But still the automation guy will end up getting more hikes and recognition.

    The art of software testing is dying. save it.

  8. @Srinivas

    There are a lot of things to learn in software testing. Its a ocean, best way to the learn about testing is pick each of the testing types and research them. For example Database testing learn about, then pick the next security testing read and learn about it and so on and so forth. Not only read it, but also implement practically. Practical thinking and applying common sense is very important to grow as a tester.

  9. Sorry the above comments was even address at Pawan too

  10. Hi ,
    Iam shakthipriya,Iam a fresher interested in software testing only can u please help me in finding which testing course to be learned to get a good salary.

  11. Hi Pradeep,
    To give you a genius title for you i can save that you are the “Thevidiya paiyya” of softeare testing world

  12. @Amit, I am not sure what is that you want you say but I think you are angry, what you said certainly doesn’t sound like a c compliment

  13. @Pradeep
    Process and People make a good product and not in isolation. I second @LifeJoy and @Jai aka Kishore that you seem to be more self-centred rather than understanding the facts.

    Okay, now my point:
    Analysis on your analogy: There are better players than Sachin and do you know why he made it big, because he followed a process, one of which is practice before a match even though he is immensely experienced unlike other players like KP, YS etc who many time partied before the match.

    #2. Let’s assume person A is a very skilled driver who doesn’t care about process and person B is an average/poor driver who does.
    Now the process is:
    1. Wake up
    2. Get Ready
    3. Listen to traffic updates
    4. Take the commute on the less traffic route
    Now on a critical day at work, both person A and B starts at the same time and their usual route is closed because of an accident. Who do you think will make to office on the big day even tough one person is more skilled driver than other? I am sure A will do extremely well if he follows “THE” process.

    One more point:
    You mean to say that Google and other companies don’t follow the process and just rely on people? Following the process is different and getting certified/assessed is different.
    Infy and TCS are consulting firms and so they have to get certified/assessed to win projects unlike google who award projects or get it done in-house. My point is not having a certification/assessment doesn’t mean that they don’t follow “A” process.
    Weather documented or not, certified/assessed or not, “A” process is critical in growth. By the way I worked for the so called big companies who didn’t have any certification but have “A” process/processes. Wake-up SID :)

  14. To Add:

    My recommendation: Freshers, ignore this article and I am sure I dont need to advise experienced people ;)

  15. I didn’t care to read ahead after the first 2-3 paragraphs of self glorification.

  16. hello sir,,,,
    i just read the above article nd i must say u have speaken the truth….that most testers in india live by the the myth that tester improves the quality nd as an fresher im also one of them,,,,some of the points in the above articles really motivates me,,,,,hope so i could implemented your ideas in my testing skills

  17. @Pankaj
    If you really go through this article, its different from the real world. Being a test lead I am telling you this article sucks and is false. If QA team is not for improving the quality of the product, its a waste. We are here to find the bugs and get them fixed, which improves the quality of the product. If developers improve the quality why do you need testers.
    Developers fixes the issues/bugs/defects found, and if that improves quality why does a tester need to re-test them again to confirm if that the bug/defect/issues is closed?
    To be honest if you attend the interview based on reading such blogs, best of luck. At least I won’t select such candidates who think that testing is about finding and reporting bugs, that any body can do it, that’s not testing. Testing is not about delivering quality product to the customer. I bet we have all seen “tested OK”, that doesn’t say “Developed OK”, “QA Checked” doesn’t say “Developer Checked”. If I write code I won’t know its good or bad, it can be correct it need not be correct, who knows. That’s why I need someone to certify that its correct.

  18. @Pradeep
    I don’t know how I came here again, but I enjoyed reading it again…its fun and really fun. Please don’t ask me what is fun and how I know its fun?

    Your statement:

    “Let me give you an example to get you started: There is a common myth (which means something is fundamentally wrong but people blindly believe it) by which most testers to my knowledge in India live: Testing is done to improve Quality”

    I am trying to be heuristic here!!!

    How many testers do you know in India?
    “To my knowledge” – Really?? How did you gain that knowledge?

    You seem to have an esoteric knowledge, how did you achieve that. I think you need to write a blog on your magical powers…Abracadabra

  19. Your story is very impressive. Actually everything is in google. If we want to learn something first we have to learn how to google that thing.
    Software Testing has a very good scope in IT industry also people who wants to learn something in IT field I will refer Software Testing.
    There are lots of tools used in Software Testing. Choose the latest technique wisely.

  20. Hi, it is a very nice initiative that you had created a list of blogs about Software Testing.
    It will be very useful who want to know more about Software Testing.
    Thanks for the blog.

    • tHAT WILL REALLY WORK.

  21. I am JAme smith, the Software and QA trainer with JanBask training, I write articles on QA career trends, certifications etc, to help the individuals get the most out of their career.

    This article is very helpful to those who want to learn as a fresher. If you want to become a master in software testing means you have to learn simultaneously should practice with real-time projects and that make you as a skilled person in software testing.

Leave a Comment