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Software testing career path!

Rama Bedarkar
Rama Bedarkar
Senior QA Manager
A quality professional with 2 masters degrees having almost 17 years of strong experience in Proj... more>>
When I was interviewing a fresher for campus recruitment, I asked a question:

"Which area of SDLC would you like to work for?"

His immediate reply was - "Development and coding"

My next logical question was - "Why coding and why not testing?"

Reply was - "Because its interesting and innovative and not boring like testing."

Its a known fact that 70 % of the top students join as Software Engineer and remaining 30 % who are at the lower ladder; have to forcefully join as test Engineer. Very few toppers plan to join as test Engineers.

There are some myths about software testing as a career path:

Testing is monotonous and boring task. There is no coding involved. The growth path is not as good or well paid as developers. Only Computer Science and IT engineers can join this career path. Testers are always treated as secondary work force compared to developers.

All engineers from all branches, PG students with MCA, MCM and MCS can join as a Test Engineer.

ET & C and Electrical engineers have always as edge in testing embedded systems thoroughly.

Since only 30 % freshers join this path, the competition is less and demand is more. The growth path is pretty stiff and fast compared to the developers. Test Engineers move to Senior Test Engineer and Test Leads role in 6+ years.

Todays testing has become so complicated and demand for early marketing the products is so high that industry has to use Automation test tools, Performance, Load testing tools which provide a great opportunity to do coding, scripting and writing programs. Sharp and intelligent test engineers pick up these skills very fast. Market demand for performance and Load testers for specific tools used in the industry is very high. Its very difficult to get performance, automation test engineers with right skills and expertise on specific tools and hence are very well paid.

Complex test bed or test environment creation needs technical skills.
These tasks can be automated using shell scripting and coding. Companies are really focusing on these areas for improving productivity and on using Automation to gain confidence about the quality and reliability of the product. For such tasks; there is a sizable room for innovation to break the cycle of repetitive, monotonous tasks.

Testers know the big picture of the product or application better; compared to the developers; as they have to write end to end test scenarios and test cases for the business requirements. Hence System and Regression testing is always independent third party testing which brings in value addition for quality assessment. No QA / Test manager shall give "Go ahead" for production deployment unless the results of regression and severity of open defects are known to him. Many times QA / test Manager plays a role that is more important than Development manager in clearing the Quality gate. Testers and QA professionals can break this notation of being less important than developers at this juncture.

Testers have to play a very assertive role and add value at each stage of SDLC / PDLC by doing defects analysis, risk analysis and providing upfront early information about the business functionality failing to the management.

With the changes in the technologies and increased complexity of applications within Clouds; interfacing of applications with mobile devices and usage of virtualization that comes in testing; I have no doubt that testers play a very strong role.

A mobile application needs to be tested on the different platforms like Android and Azure and iOS and many more with multiple versions and multiple devices in the market with different UI resolutions for its reliability, performance, scalability and usability.
A Cloud based application is tested to establish norms on how it behaves differently in Public and Private Cloud and on the different PaaS (platform as a service).

We have to have a simulated virtual test environment created (Simulated ATM / POS devices) and applications are tested on these virtualized devises and platforms for the different financial transactions for a BFSI product to ensure that transactions go well seamlessly.

Summing up, complexity of the applications with changes in technologies; is making testing inevitable!

To build a career in testing students should start preparing during their TY / FE engineering years by adding some testing / QA education diplomas / certifications in their resume. This would definitely give added advantage for their industry placements.
Being a QA professional, I always feel that; this is one of the fastest growing path and getting right candidates has become very difficult in testing domain. With addition of advanced testing methodologies like Automation, Lead, Performance, Scalability and Security testing; testing career path has become a challenging career and above average intelligent students can make a difference!

Today when I interview 20 candidates, I can offer job to only one candidate. For Automation and advanced testing skills I do not get candidate with the right skills and having right experience of working on right tools; that can be productive from day one.

To refer to the Survey findings of Global Software Testing Services; market testing needs are going to be increased in next 2 years and "Managed Testing Services" providing companies would need more than 15000 testers in 2012-13.

So can students start gearing up for this opportunity?

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