Career Options for Software Test Professionals

Over the last decade, the profile of a Software Tester has undergone tremendous changes. Testing has become a show-stopper for several applications/product implementations and businesses have realized the importance of Structured Testing of applications before release.

Testing has created several levels, types & specializations and these various types of testing have increased the intrinsic value of a software tester.

Right from being a monotonous test case executor, several career options have evolved in front of the testing community.


Career Options for Software Test Professionals

The below diagram depicts the various options available to a Software Tester.

Software testing career options

Of late, testing has been looked after as a good professional career for many of the aspiring youths. As mentioned above, from being a test engineer one can move to senior test engineer, test lead to test manager; else can become QA lead, QA Manager.

The options available on the testing tool side are enormous. There are a number of functional, performance, and security testing tools besides test management tools like Quality Center from HP, CQTM from IBM, etc.,

The demand for niche skills like SOA testers and Security testers is on the increase. There is a dearth of skills in test automation areas – scripting skills in tools languages like VB, Java and other scripting languages like Perl, Shell, Python, etc.,

Technical resources with the capabilities to evaluate automation tools, create automation frameworks and reusable components are on demand. There is always demand for good performance testers who can analyze the performance test results, identify the bottlenecks and suggest tuning techniques.

Specialization has Come to Stay in the Testing Career

Given below are some of the key areas where one needs to specialize to move ahead in a career path in testing apart from good knowledge in the Software Lifecycle Testing Process.

#1) Domain Knowledge: Good knowledge in the domain area of the application adds value to the testing professionals. There are several ever living domains like BFSI, Telecom, Healthcare, manufacturing, embedded, etc. A number of certifications are available for each of these areas where the tester can get himself/herself certified.

#2) Automation Testing Tools Knowledge: There is a great demand for Automation and Performance testers. Good skill in scripting languages of these tools is the basic necessity for succeeding in test automation. Knowledge on creation, validation, and enhancement of test automation frameworks is very much required.

#3) Certifications: QAI, ASQ, ISTQB, and several other institutes are offering testing specific certifications. These certifications improve the confidence of the clients in the testing professionals. CQTM and PMP are some managerial certifications, that would help the testers to scale up on the professional ladder.

Certifications on the testing tools offered by vendors like HP increases the technical competency of the individual.

#4) Niche areas in Testing: Experts predict that niche areas like SOA testing and Security testing are gaining momentum in the testing space. Many tools are emerging in these areas. As testing professionals, we should be aware of where the industry is heading and update our knowledge in those areas.

Knowledge updation is a continuous process. Several websites like sticky minds and QAForums offer excellent insight into various facets of the testing arena. I always request my team members to spend at least two hours a week on these selected websites to update themselves to the current happenings and events.

As the saying goes “You need to run continuously to keep yourself in the same place“, – we as testing professionals we should always work towards sharpening our testing skills to succeed in this competitive environment.

What is your career goal?

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About the Author: This is a guest post from author Gunasekaran Veerapillai, Bangalore

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