Software Testing Career in the past:
About 2 decades ago, software testing was not perceived as a separate career, Software development and Software Testing went hand in hand. As software development models evolved, importance of Testing software by a specialized team was found more effective than testing being carried out by Developers.
About a decade ago, Software testing career was less preferred to Software development. Most of the new comers to IT industry thought Software Testing was less challenging than Software Development and Software Testing was a profession for people who were not very skilled and it can be picked up by anybody with or without formal education, and it was repetitive, boring and there was nothing much new to learn.
I still remember about an incident, it’s about 10 years ago, I and my friend (prefer not to mention his name) travelled to client location (from India to USA) on a short term assignment. My friend offered to take me to his cousin’s home for dinner on one of the weekends. On the way to his cousin’s place, he requested me not to mention that we were software test engineers, instead I should say we were Java developers. I was baffled to know that my friend’s relatives who were mostly developers in reputed companies in USA thought testing was for dumb heads!!! Now my same good old friend who felt shy to introduce himself as Software Test Engineer about a decade ago is working as Software Test Manager in one of the reputed companies that provides Software Testing Services. I am happy for him that he realized importance of software testing and pursued his career in Software Testing.
Software Testing Career at present:
In the last 1 to 2 years, most of the fresh graduates are seeking software testing as their career, this is due to increase in awareness of importance of software testing phase in SDLC, with increased focus on Standards and processes, Quality consciousness, increased popularity, usage of Software Testing tools, Software Testing certifications and also due to increase in number of software testing jobs has changed the perception that prevailed over last few years. Since past 3 to 4 years, educational institutions like NIIT, Aptech etc., have included “Software Testing” as one of the professional courses in their offerings to meet the ever increasing demand for trained software test engineers in IT industry.
What are the different career paths for Software Testing Professionals?
Like any other profession, Software Testing career too offers different growth paths. Growth path has two sides to it, firstly Designation and secondly Role. Designation also known as level indicates the professional rank and experience. Role indicates the accountability and responsibilities owned by an individual. As you can see in the below image entry designation or level can be Internship or as Junior Software Test Engineer and all the way to Manager or senior manager. From the below chart we can see how Designations and Roles are related and the number of years of industry experience it takes move up the ladder i.e. change in designations. The number of years of experience required to attain a particular designation is based out on normal scenarios. However, it can vary across different organizations and geographies. As an example, for or most of the professionals it might take 6 years to get designated as “Team Lead” for some it can be just 4 years, it depends on the company policy, geography, education background, individual’s performance and institute one graduated from e.g. IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology) or IIM (Indian Institutes of Management) are usually on fast track career path.
Click on the Software Testing Career chart to view it as larger image.
What is the educational qualification need to take up Software Testing Career?
To succeed in Software Testing Career preferably one should have a 3 year Bachelors degree or Engineering or Masters in Computer Science. Graduates and Engineers from other than computer science streams can take-up professional courses offered by reputed institutes. That provide certificate on completing Software Testing course. Before choosing external training institute one should evaluate software testing topics covered, hands on training provided on Software testing tools and any testing certifications they would coach for.
What are the responsibilities of Software Testing Professionals?
Responsibilities of Software Testing Professional depends on the role he is playing. As indicated in above Software Testing Career chart, there are various roles ranging from Junior software test engineer to Software Testing Unit lead.
Refer to article that briefly explains various roles and responsibilities in Software Testing profession OR refer to below articles that explain different roles and their responsibilities in detail.
What are the common myths or misconceptions about Software Testing?
Click here to know about the most common Software Testing Myths.
What are the skills required to be successful as Software Testing?
Right skills are necessary to succeed in any profession. To succeed in software testing career one would need combination of both Soft Skills and Technical skills to succeed. Different or additional skills required to be successful in software testing career depends on the Role and designation of the individual. Please read a detailed article on skills required for a Software Tester to succeed.
What are the common challenges associated with software testing?
- Volatile requirements: Most of the projects get delayed because of too many last minute changes and inclusion of additional requirements into the project scope. This may sound unreasonable but software development and software testing teams are forced to bear with it. Changes or inclusion of requirements in mid or end stage of the project will add additional rework and stress on software testing team.
- Other phases eat into testing time: Timely handover of software to testing teams for Testing is very crucial for success of Software Testing team. In most of the projects, software development phases eats into software testing timelines by completing their development or unit testing late. As a result the time provided for testing software will reduce but the scope and effort will remain same. So testing team is expected to work extra hours or over weekend to compensate for the time lost. This creates additional stress and fatigue over period of time.
- Quality of the Code being tested: Test Effort varies from one project to another and is not only dependent on size of the software and complexity of the software but also on the Quality of software to be tested. If the quality of the code provided for testing is bad then software testing team will end up executing more tests without getting testing timelines extended.
- Management expectations and attitude: In most of the companies, top management live in false impressions like
o Software Testing is easy and should not take much time.
o It’s fine if development eats into testing timelines
o Software testing team can be staffed with freshers to bring down the overall cost of the project.
o Engage testers on multiple projects to reduce cost of testing.
o Software testing team is solely responsible for quality of the software.
o Software testing does not require any training
o 100% Software test automation is achievable.
o Once tests are automated, there is very minimal or no test script maintenance required.
What is the Scope for Software Testing in India?
Software testing and IT industry has an uptrend since Year 2000, most of the developing countries like India, China and Philippines have gained the most from the IT boom. It has provided an opportunity for lots of startups and jobs. India and China are getting majority of their IT business from USA, UK and European countries.
What are the various certifications available for Software Testing professionals?
Software Testing Certifications are offered by various commercial boards and independent institutes. Industry acknowledged Testing Certifications are offered by following boards QAI, ASQ, ISEB and ISTQB. Most of these institutes offer certifications at various levels like Basic/Foundation, Practitioner/Advanced and Managerial/Expert.
Get to know about the advantages of being Certified Software Testing Professional.
How are the pay packages for different Software Testing career levels?
Pay package for Software Testing professionals is in par compared to other roles in IT industry. There are no defined rules, so as to decide the exact pay package would vary across companies depending on HR policies, designation, geography, and educational background and years of experience etc., In India entry level Software Test engineer would be getting about INR 100K to 300K per annum depending on company. In USA, entry level Software Test Engineer would be getting about $ 42K to 50K per annum.
How different would be Software Testing Career in future?
Outsourcing has been the mantra for Software Testing in the last one decade. Going forward new Software Testing service models are expected to evolve like “Crowdsource Testing” or “Crowd Testing” wherein Software Testing Professional can provide part time or full time testing services remotely, get paid by the defects reported or get paid by leveraging their specialized skills or expertise.
Do you want to take your Software Testing Career to next level?
If yes, then I strongly suggest you to enhance your knowledge by reading articles on this software testing blog, learn new Software Test automation tool, write guest articles for this software testing blog, share your experience and knowledge with Software Testing community and gain popularity in Software Testing Community.
Feel proud to be a Software Testing Professional, educate people around you about importance of Software Testing.
Over to you now:
Are you proud to be a Software Testing Professional?
Other Interesting Articles:
- Test Bed
- Software Test Life Cycle (STLC)
- Who is responsible for software quality ?
- software test engineer
- Why do Software have defects ?