Thursday, October 1, 2009

Testing:: Chosen-By-Profession turned Chose-the-Profession.

It was morning of 12th Nov, 2004 when I found myself standing in a classroom and for the first time it was my back facing the black board and a new batch of  future software professionals sitting in front of me and most of them were as anxious as me (obviously for different reasons). These young professionals fresh out of top colleges in India were campus hired ELTs (Entry Level Trainees) of Cognizant Technology Solutions.

Since that day and the day when I am typing this I have come across many Software Testers (99.9% of them where chosen by the profession and not otherwise) and the questions I have been asked or I could read it on their face is:

  • “What am I doing in Software Testing Batch? OR Why am I not present in .Net/Java Batch running in next classroom? Am I not good enough?”
  • “Don’t I have required technical skills to be in Development? OR Based on my aptitude have I been put into Testing?”
  • “Do people get lesser raise / bonus in Testing over Development?”
  • “If I perform well and prove my skills, will they shift me into development?”
  • “My elder brother/ cousin/parents/uncle etc told me that testing is not a good profession and its just about validating someone’s one. Is that true?”

Anyone who was present in one of those classrooms is reading this blog would know that raising above questions is definitely no sin and in fact I had the same questions myself as i was “chosen-by-the-profession” too. Please make a note here (I said “I was” and not “I am”).

I would have moved into development way back in 2004 but i CHOSE to stay in Software Testing and that was BY-CHOICE. Just to give you a brief background (no boasting here), I used to and still think that i am amazingly good in development (and yes i did all graduation lab & major projects on my own –be it C, C++,Computer Graphics Linux, Oracle, Java and got 3 scholarships for topping the college)

Times have changed since 2003-04 and now testing has turned out to be a lucrative and easy career option for candidates who find it difficult to crack into development but in next few paragraphs you will read “How I fell in love with Software Testing” and “Why Software testing is as good as Building software”

Software Testing is fun

If as a kid you enjoyed playing with a new electronic gadget more than building sand castles you will know what am i talking about?


If you had the curiosity and strong urge to see how watch or a transistor works, you will be able to correlate the itching that you get when you want to understand the new unexplored  & unseen thing

so guys, testing is like seeing a product and then letting yourself go with the flow and try to understand how it works and where it doesn’t?

Human mind always wants to find out what you CANT do with any object in hand. and let’s say getting paid for it. Isn’t it a bonus?

Software Testing is an ART

Software Testing is art and so is software development as well but think of it that specifications and requirements say “what needs to be done” and design done by the architects & modellers says “how is it to be done” so development is left with very LITTLE room for innovation. I have known developers whose jobs are so monotonous and life is limited to just convert the plain English into a programming language code.

Now in Software Testing nobody says “HOW IT NEEDS TO BE TESTED?” :)

To an extent test plan and test strategy covers the scope and approaches to be followed but as a tester you can think innovative and challenge the very requirement or a workflow or a specific behaviour. You have absolute power to think of a undocumented alternative path and ultimately discover a MISSING/EXTRA requirement.

Software Testing is Advocacy

You like fighting for a cause ? You like making sure that justice is done?

You are customer’s advocate and most of the time he might not be even knowing it. Its YOU who has to ensure that justice is served and your customer is getting service / experience for the amount paid. Usability / Accessibility / Security / Performance are few non-explicit expectations which often get ignored by Developers, Managers, Business Analyst and that’s something can make a huge difference in a great customer experience.

Software Testing is Progressive

You want to be an entrepreneur? You want to understand your business?

There are lot of customer-facing professionals / business analyst who have been testers in their early career. The obvious reason why they are so successful is that they GET TO SEE A BIGGER PICTURE. They understand business better than developers because:

1. They clarify requirements / bugs directly or indirectly with customers

2. They understand the whole system (multiple modules and their integration)

3. They don’t get distracted by getting too deep in technology

Software Testing is Respectable

You have the key responsibility. You got to to take the call here. GO / NO-GO?

Customer & Management relies on your work to decide if we are ready to go into the wild and compete with the world.

You are the one who drives the Quality. You are the one who ensure processes are adhered to. You are the gate keeper.  You are the important one here.

Software Testing is Challenge

If you are the one who don't like life to be boring or predictable, then join Testing.  One life is not enough to learn everything in testing. Sometimes reproducing a simple-yet-important bug becomes a nightmare and at times understanding the customer requirement becomes so tough when you are working in an offshore model or when the dev slips and you are the one who has to still deliver quality without compromising on the timelines.

Software Testing is Technical

My favourite. This is exactly opposite to the popular belief that testing don’t need good testing skills. In fact, if you are not technical:

1. You won’t be able to repro many bugs because unless you understand what's-happening-behind-the-scenes you wont understand the problem

2. You wont be able to find the root cause many times. You will just be able to say “there is a problem” but “don’t-know-why”

3. You wont be able to suggest a better solutions / alternative

In the end, software testing is one profession that requires great communication skills, strong technical skills and most importantly a testing mind (passion to learn and understand new things)

Remember, Testing will Test you  FOREVER.


Navneet Kumar said...

Very thoughtful Raj. Agreed.
Whichever career you choose or get chosen by, once you pursue it passionately, you will succeed.

Tanmoy Das said...

Excellent thought ... I know testers always crying saying why I am here. This article of yours can change the perception.
Also, another question every fresher asks, if they are put into testing, is why me, why not the guy sitting in the 'other' room. I believe in India with IT services industry, it's always chosen by profession, seldom is choose-the-profession