I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what’s next in software testing. What are the new ideas in testing? What is our role in the future of quality software? How do we advance the state of the art in testing?
But I worry.
I think forward thinking will come from highly experienced testers with a breadth of knowledge and the ability to lead to help us define what’s next.But testing still seems to be (for most) a job you do for a while until you do something else rather than a career.
When I go to industry test conferences, someone often will ask the keynote audience how long they’ve been testing. For as long as I’ve been attending conferences, over 75% of the audience has been testing less than a year. Most of the people who have been testing longer are presenting at the conference or attending in some other “official” capacity (vendor tools, consulting opportunities, etc.).
I think the obstacles to advancing testing are worse than the revolving door pattern of the career choice. The role of the experienced (or “expert”) tester appears to be a role of helping the new testers get a handle on the basics. Now – don’t get me wrong, I have said a million times that the role of an expert tester is to make their team and peers better, but it’s a vicious circle when the career path of a tester ends at coaching and mentoring for the noobs. Then again, it’s big money if you want to go into test consulting . Given the perceived turnover rate in testing and the growth of the industry, if you are good at bringing new testers up to speed, you should have gainful employment for years to come.
And it’s good to coach, mentor, and guide new testers – but it’s not enough. There are a world of challenges out there in testing, but little exploration into advancements, let along game changing activities. I’m approaching 20 years in software testing, and I still love it. But I think there’s much more out there than most of us think.
So let’s go find it.