When it comes to software testing, we see that the days when it was possible to find a job as a 100% functional tester are coming to an end. Does this mean that these professionals are condemned to disappear?
The days when it was possible to find a job as a 100% functional tester are coming to an end. It is hard to imagine work just like former testers did in which they only wrote test cases, trying to cover all possible scenarios, then just manually executing them and reporting detected issues.
It is harder to find the time and the same enthusiasm to rerun the whole suite of regression test cases when a new release is delivered.
Nowadays, software companies are looking for testers with technical skills or those specialized in some particular disciplines, such as security, performance, mobile, or automation, just to name a few. Add this to the fact that Agile methodologies are advancing rapidly in software development, and this context demands a growing tendency for testers to work closely with developers. We are convinced that the greatest change is, indeed, the need to build a collective awareness that all the team works for the common good.
Being a manual tester does not seem to be an option anymore, and testers are facing the need to upgrade their technical skills and have a clear understanding of the technology used in each application in order to write effective tests.
Among their different functions and roles, testers are the communicators between the business and technical areas. No one would discuss the fact that the tester must know the business’s client to do his/her job; however, only a few recognize that working next to the developers is also very important to ensure quality. In the daily routine, it is common to see developers with a lot of pressure as the delivery date approaches and this situation can impact on the final result. This is where the testers show up!
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There are still plenty of companies lagging behind, which continue believing that it is a good practice to pay for detected bugs or that they need to contract two different companies: one to provide them with development services and another one to provide them with software testing services. Erroneously, they believe that in doing so they will gain product quality.
Yet, in spite of everything that has been said, there are functional testers who are really good at their work partly because of all their know-how of the business and partly because of the set of skills and testing strategies they implement. The outcome of their work is good, but there is always room for improvement. The real value of a tester is not only that they are the best at detecting bugs in the code but also that they detect inadequacies in the methods of those who design and produce the code.
Having all this in mind, we are sure that even continuous learning is required in almost all jobs, this is absolutely essential when it comes to software testing. There is a lot that testers can learn to become good and trusted professionals.
For that reason, at Hexacta, we believe that venturing into the technical side is the way forward, and learning programming is definitely one of the tools that allows us to take advantage of our profession.
As we highlighted before, it is important to understand the inside out of the application so that it becomes easy to comprehend its functioning and create tests accordingly.
Hence, advancing in technical skills becomes inevitable to keep up with the industry trends so as to avoid becoming obsolete. It is for this reason that Hexacta is working on specializing the technical testers.
We are convinced that functional testers need to learn technical skills, which are not limited to learning programming, but also include knowledge of HTML, database, automation frameworks, different software architectures to exploit their vulnerabilities, and knowledge to test web services, among others.
It is necessary for each tester to know the usage of tools as well as the knowledge of different testing techniques like black box testing, performance testing, load testing, penetration testing, security testing, system testing, and unit testing, etc., which all contribute to the testing area professionalization.
Today, Hexacta already has tester teams that are actually working on several of these technologies while it continues to provide training to the rest of the testers as a means to cope with the new challenges coming with technological evolution.
It is not easy to reach a unanimous conclusion, but reality shows that the market is making a noticeable trend, increasingly insisting that testers need and require technical skills. Our discipline is within Software Engineering and therefore, if we want to get the maximum potential out of it, we need to begin at its foundation.
For this reason, whether you are a developer, tester, functional analyst, or web designer, if you work in the software industry, you need to accept the fact that things are changing at a rapid pace. So, coming back to the original question, software testing is changing, and the manual tester is not going to disappear, but his roles and responsibilities are no longer the same!
Do not deny change, embrace it!
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