Multi-skilled test specialist, how?

T-shape tester, broken comb tester, multi-skilled specialist …

How do you do it? How do you amplify your learning?

What was your story and experiences about it?

“is it possible to combine both testing practitioner and management specialties together?” if so, how? if not, why?

I’m keen to hear your thoughts


… or a full-stack QA who knows functional, performance, security, automation, etc. :expressionless:
With any job, you can’t be a master of all trades. Hence, if you are leading a team of QA’s, it would be good to have complimentary skill sets where one person is good in technical skills, one person is good in quality standards, and so on and so forth.
I tend away from hiring people who mirrors your strengths. You can always mentor / coach them. It would be good have a cross-functional team who can pick up weaknesses or gaps.

Just my 2 cents.


Good question. I have managed multiple agile teams and 300+ Global Quality engineers. First thing to hire diversified skill set engineers. Few are strong at domain expertise with strong data engineers, few resources with framework expertise and others will be combination of automation or performance or security testing. Also, many companies are adapting DevOps culture and migrating to Cloud infrastructure. We should look for engineers with CI/CD and cloud skills. If you find challenge with middle management, have a conversation and train them on their area of interest to drive and strengthen the strategy. Conduct workshops, all hands-on meeting to empower, encourage for a healthy competition between teams and learn from each other. Organizations have to spend on trainings to upskill employees. If employees are resisting to up-skill and want to follow traditional practices, Coach them how it’s going to help advance their career and support organizational goals.

  1. T shaped? I stopped just “testing”, the moment the release manager came to me and asked if the product is ready to release.
    Any tester who thinks their job is only to execute tests, come up with new tests, and encourage developers to write unit tests and E2E tests, needs to just be asked that one big question. I am pretty sure other watersheds do exist, but that is the one that made it for me.

  2. How do you learn? I am “lucky” to have a coding background, so my learning has been highly directional, and covering quality of the architecture and quality of the actual team coding-writing practices. So not very much learning on test methodology. Most of my learning has been into the creating and using tools to support devops and CI/CD areas.

…( for now, too many questions in one Luke.)

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Thanks Conrad. I need to learn to breakdown my questions and stop asking them all at once :sweat_smile:

…“what is your story and experience?” , and linking in the point about “can you combine being manager and practitioner?”

I want to think of myself as being multi-skilled, but only because I can read and input on a c/C++/java or even a C# pull request. Teams need people who can do this in order to get a Jira task across the line. Code review even by a duck has value when everyone is too busy to lend you their eyeballs, but when the tester can eyeball a logic change, it can lead them to a deeper system or E2E behavior knowledge. Your skills as tester do need to be manual and automation as well as CI/CD maintainer. And that often means knowing just enough coding language skill in all the tooling glue code. I suspect, more than ever, you are dead as a tester if you don’t apply yourself to all of the testing assistance pieces.

Not knowing how a tool helps, or it’s specific value, to the quality picture is a big ask, and I find old rusty tools in the drawer all of the time. Go looking! Which comes on to the manager role, I think you can be manager and practitioner. I’m not good enough myself to, but if you are able to manage the process, and be a people organiser with test skills, these people do exist. I want a manager who knows which old bins to go hunting around in for old tools, and when it pays to create new tools or just buy them in. All testers should want to get your promotion to test manager, and then carve out time to get your hands dirty at some level. It’s not for everyone to be both, but when you can, you have so much more of a quality impact than a practitioner. (At least in my mind.)

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