Is the Job of a Software Tester Really as Low-profile as it is Perceived to Be?
At times, choosing to become a Software Tester is not a conscious decision for some of us, especially when we are starting our careers.
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While we have a strong desire to be successful IT professionals, we often assume that being an IT professional is synonymous with being a Developer. While being a developer is wonderful and has great potential, it should not be assumed that being a tester is the complete opposite.
When a testing opportunity arises, we often have doubts and wonder if it’s the right career move.
What You Will Learn:
Myths About the Job of a Software Tester
Here are some of the misconceptions that may arise among beginner-level IT professionals:
Myth #1: No application of Engineering knowledge
Myth #2: Limited scope for learning
Myth #3: Testers do not receive credit for the final software product
Myth #4: Developers are paid more than testers
None of these are true. Let me explain why:
Myth #1: No Application of Engineering Knowledge
- Often, as Computer Science graduates in particular, we feel disappointed if our 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. Thus, we are unprepared to believe that topics other than development, DB, or network have any contribution to make to software production. Feeling slightly deceived is natural.
- However, while it is not a typical requirement for testers to have an in-depth understanding of programming languages, this trend is changing and testers with programming skills are highly valued. We can discover this for ourselves if we persevere a little longer and try to learn everything there is to know about the QA field. This is one of the situations where “Our patience will be rewarded.”
- It is also interesting that as testers, we are paid to doubt a product. Of course, there is nothing malicious about it. Our intention is to identify problem areas before the users do, which can only be achieved when we have the most extensive knowledge of the software product. If this is not an application of knowledge, then what is?
- The next step in uncovering software shortcomings is to delve deeper. Root Cause Analysis means that we not only report an issue, but we also analyze the issue by applying the knowledge we have gained from our experiences and determine the possible cause of the issue. This is the value-added skill that testers should aim to achieve.
Myth #2: Limited Scope for Learning
- Testing is not a random activity. It requires a lot of planning, strategizing, understanding of technology, time management, and even the not-so-obvious aspects like understanding the ease of use, market relevance, and performance of the software. The uniqueness lies in the fact that a tester gets a 360-degree view of the software from all perspectives. Therefore, expertise in Domain Knowledge, best practices in the software development process, and technical know-how are some additional areas where we can gain a strong understanding.
- Continuous learning is the key to success in any field, including testing. We can choose to specialize in performance testing, automation testing, security testing, database testing, or any other technical testing methods. Alternatively, we can progress in our careers as Business Analysts, Technical Writers, or even Project Managers due to our expertise in process application, management, and business orientation.
- A significant part of our job description is to collaborate with other project teams, participate/facilitate various meetings, and create process documents/reports, and more. This presents a wonderful opportunity to enhance our communication skills, particularly in terms of writing and presenting information effectively.
Myth #3: Testers Receive No Credit for the Final Software Product
- On the contrary, the testing team has the final say on whether a product goes live or not. In this case, we get to play God. 🙂
- We also have a unique opportunity to suggest changes/improvements to make the product better. This is because, in our eyes, “A missing requirement/enhancement is also a defect.”
- As a matter of fact, there is no bias in the industry against any team that contributes positively to a software product. Our efforts do not go unnoticed, and thinking otherwise is simply inaccurate.
Myth #4: Developers Earn More Than Testers
- This is not true – the pay rates are equivalent.
- All entry-level professionals are paid the same (regardless of their discipline).
- As we progress further in our careers, pay depends on factors such as our previous pay, experience in the relevant field, expectations of the new position, financial situation of the new employer, current market demand, and more; it does not depend on the specific branch of IT we work in.
Note: Let us not forget that ambition and aptitude are crucial drivers. Some of us may strive to excel in specific fields and have set goals outside the Software Testing field. If that is the case, 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 ended up in the testing field accidentally or unavoidably. This is certainly not a dead-end but rather a fork in the path towards a promising future. In fact, it might be one of those accidents to be grateful for.
In the comments, let us know how many of you ended up as testers by accident and how you feel about the QA field now. Do you agree with our list and explanations?