I’ve often wondered why it is so hard to find testers who can write code.
Like seen what @darth_piriteze is talking about. People wanted to get into software development but they just didn’t work out. They would have a college or university degree in computers, had a software development job but didn’t work out. So the manager would try to get me to hire him as a tester. The thought was they had technical knowledge. If they could apply it to software development, maybe they could use it as a tester.
When we started doing automated testing, these same people thought this was something they would be good at. Maybe some of them see it as a way back into becoming a software developer.
As @paulmaxwellwalters points out, there are also people who just want into the industry. They don’t have the background of a person with a computer science degree. They probably got a job as a manual software tester and thought it would be a good career move to get into automated testing. They don’t understand things like different languages, design patterns, algorithms, etc.
Thus it isn’t hard to find either a person with a CS degree but failed as a programmer or a tester with no CS degree and just enough programming knowledge to write an automated test.
Personally, whenever I was a hiring manager, the best testers who were also good at programming, databases or networking tended to be people who were programmers, DBAs, IT/System Engineers but found they didn’t love it. They fell into testing and loved it.
I’m actually one of those people. I was a software developer. I was self-taught and worked my way up the chain. After 17 years of software development I still didn’t feel satisfied. I thought I’d be happier as a teacher. So quit my job and went back to school to work on a B.Ed degree. While working on that I took a job testing development tools (assemblers, compilers, IDEs, etc.). That was 20 years ago and I’m still testing… I found something I am passionate about.
I wasn’t a bad software developer. i didn’t even know what QA or Tester was. I took the job as a software tester because I didn’t want to take a ‘real’ job as a software developer. I never expected to fall in love with testing.
I think now I’d ask people to name a few books on testing. There are books I really enjoy like the books I read when I was a software developer. As a developer I liked books like The Art of Programming (Donald Knuth), Design Patterns (Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides), Intro to Algorithms (Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein), etc…
As a tester I like books like Agile Testing (Lisa Crispin), Developer Testing (Alexander Tarlinder), xUnit Patterns (Gerard Meszaros), etc…
I start interviews with “Name a few books or authors who you have read and made you a better tester.” Maybe I have to accept blogs, podcasts, conference speakers, articles, etc…