Titles like “Stop hiring software testers”, which was later changed to “Stop hiring software checkers”, is just being sensationalistic. If the title to the article what “Stop hiring people who add no value” we would all think, “Duh, that makes sense.” We all have an understanding of “people who add no value.” No one wants to hire someone who adds no value. This does not challenge my definition of “adds no value.” No one is going to say, “Yep, that is me! I add no value.”
Even if you add no value, you don’t identify with that description. However, many people identify with the title “software tester” or “software checker.” Janna has already put people on the defensive just from the title. There are also going to be people who believe what you, a software tester, adds no value. Do those people agree with Janna’s definition of “software checker?” Maybe, maybe not.
Do I get a list of requirements after the developers have implemented a feature and I check that those requirements have been met? Sure. Is that all I do? Absolutely not. Do I automate tests? Sometimes. Do I test the requirements during story writing? Do I do exploratory testing? Absolutely. Do I pair with developers and challenge the type of tests they are writing? Sure. I think differently than a lot of software developers. I can role-play and ‘become’ the customer. There are ways I can approach testing a piece of software that I have rarely seen a developer do. There are things I enjoy doing that developers have told me they find tedious or boring. So I always seem to add value on a software team.
Does QA, tester, checker mean the same thing to everyone? Nope. Will we ever get everyone to agree to what these terms mean? Or at least in my life time? Probably not. Are there two different schools of testing? Why aren’t there three different schools of testing? Or maybe there is 17 different schools of software testing. Binary systems are easier to understand. As a small child the world was very black and white (binary). As I got older I learned the world is more complex than that.
When people write articles with absolutes or try to break things down to a binary system, I think they are trying to understand a complex system by making it ‘simple’. There is a hint of truth to articles like this. People who want to believe it can believe it. They will read into it what they believe.
In my experience I have worked with people who check the requirements are being met. If they miss something but it was not in the requirements then it was not their fault. If they see something they think is going to be an issue but they don’t want to bring it up because they are afraid the product owner will shoot the messenger.
Does a company want to hire people who keep their head down and fly under the radar? Not really. Is this the sort of person Janna and Alan are hinting at? Maybe. If this is the case, do I think these people’s days are number. Nope. Bet you were expecting me to say yes. I want to say yes. Even though I know no one wants to hire these people, they will still find work. They will still get hired as QA, software tester, etc.
Janna talks about how the software industry is changing and people like this are not getting hired. Is this true? I don’t see any evidence for this in her article. My experience has been to meet more and more people who would fit her definition of software checker. I remember working at companies who had HORRIBLE development practices. I quit before they went out of business. I gave them 3 to 5 years to change or go under. This is how I thought 30 years ago. I don’t know one company which I thought would go out of business and actually went out of business.
I don’t think someone who matches Janna’s definition of software checker has to worry they won’t be able to find a job. It might be hard at times to find a company who will hire them but my gut tells me they will still be around 20 years from now. I have no hard evidence of this.
Realistically, I add value to a software development project. My title is “software tester” or “QA”. When I apply for a job, my resume says, “This is what I did for my past employers. This is what I will do for you.” If they focus on my title and skip the body, no big loss. Someone will read what I can do for their company and I’ll get a job.