QA & Software Testing As A Career

Over the past 25 years, the skills and experience necessary for a career in both Quality and Testing have changed substantially, however people still comment:

 “Is testing a worthwhile career?”

“Surely testing is for failed developers…”

“Anyone can test software!”

“Testing doesn’t pay as well as development…”

Good testers don’t grow on trees: they mature like a fine wine or craft beer!

There are many skills a good tester needs:

  • Analytical
  • Communicative
  • Organisational
  • Passion for business and quality
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity

As a career, there is a wide variety of roles to specialise in:

Manual/Exploratory Testing
Network & Hardware Testing
Mobile Application(s) Testing
Performance Testing
Security Testing
Automation Testing
User Experience Testing

So, let’s look at those aforementioned comments again…

“Is Testing a worthwhile career?”

The simple answer is YES. The more complex answer is YES!!

If you crave variety then each day as a tester is different. You get to witness an entire cycle of software development. We are the safety net for all developers and the first line of defence for all customers. Testers enjoy the highs and lows of projects and customer satisfaction.

If you are technically-minded, then solving the complex issues around test automation and how to successfully implement, run and maintain all the test artefacts can provide a huge challenge.

However, if you are more customer-focused, then the world of User Experience Testing is for you: predicting how the application under test is going to be used in the real world can be a real challenge, especially when considering mobile applications on smartphones, tablets, etc.


“Surely testing is for failed developers…”

The answer is NO.

Having a development background will help if you want to specialise in Test Automation, Performance Testing and other technical testing arenas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop these skills during your career.

Developers focus their thinking on developing code in an efficient manner to meet the customer’s specific business requirements – testers (even technical ones) focus on validating that the functionality meets the customer’s requirements and ensuring that, if or when an application fails, it fails cleanly and safely: we test to ensure the customer or end user experience is always paramount.


“Anyone can test software!”

Absolutely not. Not everyone who can cook goes on to become a chef!

In a previous article of mine, I wrote that testers must have multiple personas: they’re Investigators, strategists, business-focused, innovators, creators and communicators. Testers need to have all of these traits if they are to look at an application from a 360° point of view.

Therefore, no, not everyone can test: the same way as not everyone can develop code. It’s a skill that comes from your desire for quality and your dedication to the end user and customer experience.


“Testing doesn’t pay as well as development…”

On the whole, skilled and experienced testers realise that testing is a well-paid post. On par with skilled developers, add to that the variety of testing work on offer, then you can see that testing can offer a well-paid, challenging and rewarding career.

Don’t let anyone dissuade you from considering Testing as a great and challenging career: a career that will only present more fruitful challenges to you!