Software testing roles: Why can't we agree on a limited set of roles?

I think there should be a limited list of software testing roles to make job hunts easier. Often times recruiters who are not that well informed might overlook a candidate just because the play of words is different to what they were looking for (or maybe not)
To name a few and starting with my own title:

  • QA Software Tester
  • QA Engineer
  • SQA
  • SQAE
  • Test Engineer
  • Software QA
  • SQA Engineer
  • Software Tester

and then the most hyped these days:

  • SDET
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This list is incomplete lol :sweat_smile:
Some people can agree on a limited set of roles in software QA and testing but can’t force each company to follow the “general/common” set of roles. There always will be hot debates about some definitions and responsibilities, etc. Frankly speaking, it isn’t worth the effort :slight_smile: these are just titles - the same title may have different responsibilities and require different sets of skills in different teams while different titles may have the same responsibilities and require the same sets of skills. I would say that most companies don’t care about titles, yes they use some titles, grades, and seniority levels that seem easy to use for them but as I wrote before these are just titles that mean relatively the same until you have a conversation with a person about their skills and experience :wink:


It’s not just testing, roles in product management and development all end up having loads of synonyms. What then tends to make things worse is that sometimes the people hiring for roles don’t really know a lot about a profession so don’t know what to ask for (or how to ask for it).

Then adding to that, testing is a hugely nebulous career where certain titles can be seen as “oh that’s not me”. I’ve seen people hate the term QA / love the term QA / not want any sort of test or QA in their title which usually comes from an attempt to show the market what they can do:

  • I’m not a QA because I don’t check things / assure things
  • I’m an agile tester because I work well with uncertainty
  • I’m an engineer because I’m technical / can write code / test through the stack
  • I’m a manual tester because I don’t automate

So as to why we can’t agree, it’s because we all have different paths through a very wide career that needs lots of skills. We all probably look very different from each others in terms of our testing, so that’s reflected in roles. (Making it super hard for teams and recruiters to work out what we are - whoops).


Check this out.

Your list is incomplete according to me.

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