Is software testing a “real career”?

I absolutely love reading testing blogs… they tend to focus on the future of testing and the advances we can make to get to market quicker. But, is this just a dream? The reason I ask is that I feel the frustration coming from software testers and their leaders that they are not valued when I meet with them. They seem to be still fighting the same fight after all these years. No budget for testing in the organization, no tools because they’re too expensive, it’s not that important, blah blah blah. And, why is testing and QA thought of as a step to a career in Development? I think I need to make something clear; their work is JUST AS important as a software developer (not meant to slight my developer colleagues, you are awesome too). When something goes terribly wrong in the SDLC, who rises to the occasion… THE TESTER!

I’m trying to remember how far back in my career that I started fighting to recognize testing as a career. It clearly wasn’t before electricity; but I know it was way before I invented the internet. Ok maybe I didn’t invent the internet, but I wanted to make sure you were still following my thoughts and I didn’t lose you, so bear with me. 😊

Problem #1, When a defect gets through, we are beaten about the head because it made it through and we must have missed it. Let’s face it, we didn’t create the problem, we’re just here to help find it. It is extremely challenging to find every permutation to test every scenario. It is also just as problematic when testers are expected to complete their part when a project gets severely behind schedule.

Problem #2, When we find the issue, we’re known as trouble makers which takes you back to Problem #1. It’s a vicious circle, but guess what… we don’t care. We love the challenge and we are strong and resilient. You can’t and will not ever get us down… it’s part of our DNA.

Problem #3 Since a tester can’t do it all these days, maybe we’re not articulating the value of this profession. Instead of asking your company to spend money on a profession that looks superfluous to leadership, show them your worth! How does 50-75% savings feel to you… it’s good right? Tell them what they get for the money (tools, process improvements, etc.) and give it to them in a ROI format that they understand… time and money, and money (Oops, I already said that!).

As technology progresses (DevOps, Agile, and multiple others), testers may finally get to shine. When companies take the time to carefully work through this evolution, they would gain a significant saving from their testing organization and finally see the value in what the testing team brings to the table.

If you are thick skinned, a good communicator, strong at following process and can handle opposition, you are on a clear path to a challenging and rewarding career. The world is your oyster.

Lisa Ratajczyk is Director of Solution Acquisition for Original Software – Americas