Software Testing Job Market

There was an article in July 2007 about job market for software testers produced by Cem Kaner, Professor of Software Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology. I want to highlight it again here because I found it quite interesting and worth reading at least.

Recently I looked into the requirements to the position of QA Engineer and similar ones. Practically all QA positions require development/coding skills.

Quotation from the article: “If you are a tester with some budget for enhancing your education, your best investment might be upgrading your development skills.

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2 Comments on “Software Testing Job Market”

  1. fijiaaron Says:

    Hello again, Vadim. I agree, it’s development skills, and especially Unix & SQL skills that recruiters are looking for these days.

    Knowing Unix and SQL make sense, because you’ll be using them alot for verifying test results, but I think the value of a non-technical tester are under-rated. Automation with tools like QTP are not the pancea they were once marketed as, though testers like them because writing automated tests is more exciting than redoing manual tests.

    The trap here is that it often takes more time to implement automation than to manually test, and capture-replay tests are notoriously brittle. You also lose out in things like usability testing with automated tools, though making your application easier to automate can also be a good exercise in usability.

    But of course, no one (in management or development) takes seriously the idea that they should change the way an application works in order to make it easier for a test automation tool. Even if they should.

    I think two things influence the push for development skills in hiring testers.

    One is simple lazyness. It’s easier to look for buzzwords on resumes because development skills consist of a lot of buzzwords, and they are to search for. AJAX, QTP, and NUNIT are very specific terms that are not likely to turn of false positives like “Quality” or “Integration.”

    The other is the idea that knowing development skills equates to intelligence. And I think a lot of technically minded, intelligent testers do have development skills, so it’s not that bad of a metric.

    The real story is that if a tester has experience, the only real career path is into development.

    I believe understanding how applications are developed *is* a valuable tool for intuitively finding bugs, but it may also be a disadvantage, particularly from a usability perspective.

    But I think that not all good testers need to go into development. While developing automation and reporting tools are natural steps in QA, they are not necessarily the only ones. Unfortunately, it tends to be the best way to increase value, because having more “difficult” skills tends to increase value, and less tangible skills like thoroughness and creativity are not as easy to measure and can only be fully appreciated over time, so a tester that increases their value through demonstrable “testing” skills almost necessarily has to stay with one company to demonstrate their value.

  2. feelsgood11 Says:

    Hello fijiaaron,

    Thanks a lot for the commnet.

    It’s no doubt that posessing Unix and SQL skills will make tester being more valuable and in demand specialist on the market.

    But I don’t think that they should go into development. It’s common that there is kind of lack of skilled testing specialists. When Tester goes into development he will just become one of the others. His value will descrease.
    On the contrary, if he stay in testing he will be able to get a great job in a great company.

    I had a chanse to go into development but decided to stay in testing.
    Now I am studying performance testing and want to become a good J2EE performance specialist.
    I guess performance testing is one of the field where competition is not big.

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