When do you get to call yourself a "Tester"

Question - A what point in your career are you allowed to call yourself a tester?

Part of my previous experience was as a UAT tester from the business where I conducted manual targeted integration, regression & exploratory most releases. I also logged defects and retested them after the build was released into the environment. I contributed to writing test cases and updating ones that were incorrectly written. I was employed by the business as an Underwriter but was used during most releases (cycle was 4 - 6wks)

The reason I am asking is I have had some inference all my previous work history as a UAT tester is null toward my professional growth but I believe it was a major contributing factor to what I am today so I count it.

What is everyone’s thoughts around when do you get to call yourself a “Real Tester” - yip I did do the finger quotes in the air while I typed that :wink:

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I intensely dislike any gatekeeping of terms like these. I believe “Tester” is a self-identifying term - you get to be a “Tester” because you say you are, not because you’ve proven your qualifications to external entities. There’s something there where self-doubt about being able to claim the “Tester” label can lead to imposter syndrome - I’m not good enough to call myself “Tester” because I haven’t accomplished X, Y, or Z. Or, even worse, I’m not good enough to call myself “Tester” because I don’t have certain formal qualifications. Those voices can lead to lots of self-deprecation and self-doubt, which is all unfounded. Self-identification should be enough to call yourself a “Real Tester.”

Unfortunately, the reality is that we do have to deal with gatekeeping in our workplaces. Self-identifying as a “Tester” is not going to be enough to get hired in that role. So there is some amount of providing a background in order to justify that claim. I think that should always be done as a positive though - I’m a “Tester”, here are actions I’ve accomplished that are “testing”. There’s an important distinction in mindset between “qualities X, Y, and Z add up to being a Tester”, and “I’m a Tester, and as such, I’ve done things X, Y, and Z.”


Alex thank you what a wonderful way you explained this as you are completely right this kind of questioning from others, usually recruiters, but even worse within the testing community itself, can lead to impostor syndrome that a lot of us fight daily.

I also feel if the person isn’t currently employed by a business or freelancing but is working on improving their professional development that is still within the realm of being a tester.

Really appreciate your comment :smile:

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Unless ‘Tester’ is something that requires a certain level of education or qualifications, like say, a ‘PhD’ or a ‘Structural Engineer’, why not call yourself a Tester? You have experience testing and can speak to what you’ve done, you are a Tester. If you are new to the industry or uncomfortable making the ‘I’m a Tester’ statement, maybe qualify it with I’m a ‘New’ Tester.

UAT testing is important, challenging work. Not everything makes sense to automate. When you think about yourself as a Tester, think about ways you’ve contributed and improved processes. The ability to talk about your goals, challenges, results and what you learned are key. Don’t forget to practice introducing yourself as Kim the Tester. :smile:

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That’s funny and very serendipitous as I just started a new position this week where I was introduced as “The Tester” to all the Executive Management team. I had to really try to not burst out laughing just because its all ironic :roll_eyes:

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Everyone can be and probably already IS a tester. What is the first thing you do when you bought a new vacuum cleaner? Or window-shop for a new bike?
You’re trying out, you’re thinking critically, you make observations, you infer, learn, decide,…

Just by identifying as a tester or ‘the person who’ll look at it critically’ puts you in a position where you’ll look for potential problems instead of ‘proving it works’ and that’s immensely valuable as it is. Especially if you’re THE tester.

Once you have decided to look for trouble, the important step has been taken. The next one is improving your skills of deduction, falsifying powers, ability to convince and tools of inspection & experimenting. You’re on the path to become a better tester, so are all of us.
Some of us cross roads sometimes, decide to walk part of it together, others get stuck looking at oddities, but our paths are our own to take and forge. Make it a good one!


I’ve worked in various positions over the years. In 1998 I was hired at a company to test software development tools. My title was Quality Assurance. So on my resume I put Quality Assurance. Under my job title I had bullet points listing what I had done for the company. In an interview for my next job, the interviewer looked at my resume and noted that my title didn’t really match what I had achieved for my previous company. I told him the title was what I was legally assigned by HR. But I can do what is listed in the bullet points. That company did agile software development and was not looking for a traditional QA. My bullet points showed I was agile. I got the job.

If I’m having a conversation with someone and I want them to know what I do, I give them the bullet point version. My title isn’t really relevant. For my non-technical friends, I tell them I ensure the quality of software. If they seem honestly interested, I tell them how I do it (the bullet points) and not what my title is.

Finally, whenever I’m a hiring manager, I read the bullet points. I don’t care what HR says your title is. I’ll hire you based on what I believe you’ll do for my company (the bullet points).