HR Challenge: Software Testing as a secondary option

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Computer Security

HR Challenge: Software Testing as a secondary option

Any fool can find faults a.k.a defects’: Software Testing over a period of decade has become both easier and more difficult than ever.

Contemporary test outsourcing is an independent IT field, the so called Software Testing & Quality Assurance.In 1947 the story of software testing began. The first software error was discovered in a HarvardUniversity computer. It was a real moth in a Mark II relay that was causing the dysfunction and is where the term ‘bug’ in IT vocabulary came from. Since the use of computer programs began to increase, so did the number of errors. This was due to the absence of any quality control. In 1970, people began to lose trust in the computer industry as the writing of code, held no clear standards.

During the time in 1970’s, there were fewer people who used computers as compared to the generation of today where everyone is using computers to complete their daily tasks. Lately, it has become all the more difficult as with advent of new technology, there is a vast pool of programming languages, various operating systems and hardware platforms that have evolved. The software that we work on today touches a million of lives – by making our work more easier or on the other hand leading us to the level of frustration and the cost of lost of business or work associated with the same. A quote by Glenford J. Myers fits perfectly here: “Computers – and the software that drives them-certainly affect more people and more business today” compared to any age.

Software Testing was and is seen as a secondary option to development. Majority of the students that I have come across want to become high end programmers, but very few know or have knowledge about the testing domain and its importance. Today, a quarter of a century later when we have new development systems, languages with built in tools and programmers who are prone to developing on the fly, testing still plays an important part in any Software Development Life Cycle.

Testing is more than just debugging. The purpose of testing can be quality assurance, verification and validation, or reliability estimation. Software testing is a trade-off between budget, time and quality. A decade ago, testing was not recognized at the same level as that of development. Today, the scenario has taken another turn where both billing rates and salary levels are comparable, and at times better than that of the programming professionals.Software testing is any activity that is aimed at evaluating an attribute or capability of a program or a system and determining that it meets its required results.

In my experience as part of the recruitment team that visits campus on a regular basis for hiring, I have come across future employee(s) who can feel in them the rush and passion for programming and those who think they can do programming and become ace developers.

The former are the ones that scare me as they feel that testing can be done by the so called ‘lower’ few amongst them. They feel that they should in a way never have to do testing. Many a times, if and when they are able to make for the final round, they are surprised to realize and know about a company that is only involved in testing and it does exist !! Just to be precise they say, “ … we are sitting here today as its only today we came to know about an organization that is primarily involved in testing and would love to explore that as an option..”

In today’s niche market of testing, to find testing engineers has become a task similar to finding a needle a in hay stack. To find those who think testing is a primary profession and not a secondary option is not easy.

When I come back from a recruitment drive and tell my colleagues at workplace that we recruited 6 out of 750, it’s always a pleasure to see the shock that flashes across their face. The answer to that shock is – At QA InfoTech we intend to build a team of testers that are better than our developers and those 6 selected are the ones worthy of being included into the QA InfoTech family.

Quality Assurance Testing has always been an out-of-vogue subject. Today we find that there are more books and articles, training centers available imparting sufficient knowledge about software testing, implying that the subject has now garnered more visibility that the earlier times. The Global Software Testing market is estimated to be $17 billion dollars which is growing and would require more than 30,000 professionals in the next one year as per the IDC report.However, in order to be true to my profession, in my pursuit of recruiting, my thirst would only be quenched when I am able to find those candidates who feel the passion for Software Testing as their foremost option!

In today’s industry, – we do not have to justify the need for Software Testers, companies are already convinced. Better awareness amongst universities and colleges is needed, to inculcate Software Testing as a career option amongst today’s students’; tomorrow’s prospective employees. As part of our campus drives, we will continue to take on this mission and I think it should be the mission of every Software Testing company/group to ensure we pick, groom and nurture excellent test professionals, to give back to the IT industry as customers are more exposed to technology and nothing less than perfect is acceptable.

From an HR angle, I would want to misquote Myers; “Testing would no longer remain among the “dark arts” of software development. “

However we all as members of the testing fraternity have an important responsibility in giving this discipline a face lift especially amongst the fresher community, to ensure we create a pool of passionate testers for the future.

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Summary:

Quality Assurance Testing has always been an out-of-vogue subject. Today we find that there are more books and articles, training centers available imparting sufficient knowledge about software testing, implying that the subject has now garnered more visibility that the earlier times.

Author:  Knowledge Sharing Team at QA InfoTech is responsible for research on new tools & technologies for effective Software Testing and quality assurance services across all industry verticals. QA InfoTech (an ISO 9001:2008 & CMMI III certified) is one of the leading Software Testing Companies with five testing “Centers of Excellence” in the United States and India. It offers end to end Manual Testing and Automated testing services.

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