Are you asking yourself sometimes if you are doing the right things?
Do you have a feeling that you should make changes in your testing job?
If the future of your testing career worries you, there are signs that can tell you if your job is in danger.
1. YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY FINDING A NEW JOB
The first 6 months in a new testing job are exciting.
You learn new things about the company, team, development process, applications to be tested.
But as time goes, the newness of things starts going away.
After a while, you know your job so well that you can do it with your eyes closed.
You decide then that it is time to move on.
So you try to find another job.
And try and try again.
Sometimes you get invited to interviews, other times you dont.
A few months pass since you started to look for a new job and you are still looking.
Not finding fast a new job is a signal that something is not going well with your testing career.
Why cant you find another job?
Maybe because ............
2. SCRIPTED TESTING IS ALL YOU KNOW
Most testers are manual testers.
This is their speciality:
to execute manual functional testing for web sites, mobile apps, windows applications.
Manual testing was very popular until recently because:
- users demanded high application quality so companies hired manual testers
- the SDLC process was a waterfall variation with phases that were more or less distinct and sequential (gather requirements, development, testing, release)
- developers did not do much testing so testing belonged to manual testers
Testers created detailed test cases while the developers created the code.
After the development phase ended, the testers executed the test cases and reported their discoveries to the development team.
The present and future of manual testing changed.
Due to the Agile processes, the focus is now to develop features quickly and deploy them frequently.
Creating requirements, development and testing happen fast and sometimes in parallel.
There is no time for putting together detailed requirements and test cases.
The tester needs to be able to learn fast the new features, create a high level testing checklist, test and report the issues.
And do this fast and continuously.
If your testing is still based on detailed test cases, this is another signal that you may have problems in your future career.
But having only functional testing in your toolbox may still be sufficient for a rewarding testing job.
If you dont have the next problem.
3. YOU ARE NOT DOING EXPLORATORY, CREATIVE TESTING
Not having time for creating test cases requires that you learn and test fast.
And find important bugs too.
Developers are much more involved in testing now and use unit testing frameworks (like JUNIT) for testing their code.
The unit tests catch many application issues reported in the past by manual testers.
So the manual testers need to do much better testing and find valuable issues not caught by unit testing.
To test fast, without test cases and find very good bugs requires a different testing approach.
The tester should use exploratory testing instead of scripted testing, be creative, think outside the box, behave as a user.
Use lateral thinking and become proficient with exploratory testing tours.
Being very good at exploratory testing is great if you can find the next job.
But it is often difficult to differentiate yourself from other manual testers, maybe not as good as yourself.
If you don't stand out from other testers, you may not be able to find another job so your testing career will suffer.
But what if your skills are just good at exploratory testing?
This is the third testing career warning: not standing out and not having great exploratory testing skills.
It is difficult to stand out when ....
4. YOU KNOW VERY WELL ONLY ONE TYPE OF TESTING
I asked many times IT recruiters what type of testers are companies hiring.
The answer was very consistent.
Most companies want testers that can wear multiple hats, are technical, can do test automation, know a programming language.
And they can cook spaghetti and speak italian.
Why are companies so demanding?
Because the more things a tester knows, the more value he adds to the project.
If the tester can not only test but also provide customer support, participate in code reviews, write test automation scripts, create unit tests, is he more valuable than another tester than just does functional testing?
Much more valuable.
Being a versatile tester is not only more valuable for the company but also for your career.
You can target not only manual testing jobs but also test automation, performance testing, api testing, hybrid testing roles too.
If you focus on one testing type only, your future testing career may be in danger.
But, how can you find the time to learn all these new skills?
And who will provide the training?
And what should you learn?
5. YOU ARE NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR TRAINING
No one will provide you the training for growing your career except yourself.
You may know this joke:
the person that can solve all your problems is the one that looks at you when you are in front of the mirror.
Few companies offer training programs to testers these days.
And if they do, the courses are for skills that the company needs which may be different from what the tester needs.
So, to keep your career afloat, you need to take responsibility for
- what you learn
- how you learn
- how to find the time for learning
6. YOU ARE KEEPING THE SAME TESTING JOB FOR A LONG TIME
This is the last warning that your testing career may be in danger.
There are companies out there where you can work for a long time and have a very rewarding experience.
If you can move between projects or departments or even better if you can change job responsibilities often, there is no need to change your job.
All these changes will keep you improving and learning.
But, if you work on the same product for a few years, do the same testing and within the same team, chances are that you stopped improving yourself a long time ago.
And if there is one thing that shows that your career may not have a future, this is the one:
you are not learning new things every day.