Testers get paid to break things?

As a tester my job is to break the system and log a bug to get it fixed!

Is it truth or myth?

:point_down: Discuss :point_down:

Here’s what people say on Twitter
and LinkedIn

1 Like

Testers do not break things. Testers find things that are broken (by someone else) and tell the people that matters about it.

That being said I do not like the idea of a binary working or broken and you should not only focus on the broken parts!

My mental idea about this consider these two statement:

  1. I did one test and I could not login.
  2. I did 1000 different tests and in one of them I could not login.

In both cases you have found 1 broken thing. But they tell different tales about the likelihood, quality and stability of the product. You helping the stakeholder to take the decision can I live with the risk more but describing a fuller picture over only one side of things.

Clearly a myth. :slight_smile:


I have probably been engineering for too long to fall for that kind of line even for an instant. My role is tester, but that’s a label, I use it much like a watchmaker uses a 4 pound hammer, to illustrate my real job. If I meet the CEO in the elevator, I say, “I’m the guy who breaks things, but mostly”. And use that to grab attention just like a 4 pound hammer tends to do in a jewelry store.

So my mental picture looks more like, “I help my team to not make mistakes. Tell me about the kinds of mistakes you care about most. Who gives us the most money, how can we make them happiest sir?”


Love the way you use examples to demonstrate the point. Nice one!

Very well put and now I may try out your elevator pitch about testing and tester :+1:

Well, the thread headline does make it sound fun - like the (pre-CGI) Japanese monster movies where someone got paid good money to dress up in a Godzilla suit and stomp all over a scale model of downtown Tokyo.

But what we’re actually paid for is to identify and highlight risks. When we find a show-stopping bug, then yes, that’s something that’s broken badly and we raise a bug report to fix it. But often, we find stuff that’s only slightly broken (which can sometimes be a bit harder) and then we go back to devs and say “We’ve found this thing that’s a bit broken, but if a user finds it they won’t be impressed with our product and so there’s a risk that this thing will happen.”

Then we suggest what the thing is that might happen. I sometimes like to put this on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “They will laugh at our product”, 5 or more is “There is a chance they will not buy our product (again)” (with the chances increasing the further over 5 you go), and 10 is “Someone dies”.

And then you write the bug up, so that you can prove you found the bug, reported it, and if there are any consequences they don’t come back to bite you.


Testers don’t like to break things; they like to dispel the illusion that things work. - Quote from one of my favorite books - Lessons Learned in Software Testing


It is one of my favorite books as well, which i’d happily read it again and again from now and then :smile:

Thank you @robertday for illustrating with a vivid example :hugs: