Great testers, not so great CVs…

Last week I wrote about the Project Guy Ariely from AQUA was organizing, where people from the Testing Community in Israel donated their time and experience, and gave short presentations (90 min to 3 hours) about various topics related to Testing and QA.

I presented a session about QA Management Systems, and based on the questions asked there were in the room at least 10 to 15 Testers I’d like to interview next time I have an open position in my QA Team.

Where’s the problem, and I’ve seen this in Israel but I am guessing it is also an issue in other places.
Many testers looking for a job today do not have a College Degree in Computer Science and this makes their CV less valuable in the eyes of the average QA Team Leader and Manager. This problem becomes even more acute as a large number unemployed testers today have this degree as a line in their resume.

So here is my request to all the Team Leaders and Managers looking for testers:

When are we going to finally realize that a Tester is not a type of Developer?

A tester needs to understand about programming, but we don’t need a formal degree on it (BTW, some of the most incredible programmers I know don’t hold a CS degree either!).

Instead of in-depth knowledge in programming languages, look for people who can understand the human language and can translate user requirements into tests that verify their real and complete needs.
Instead of looking for candidates with knowledge in development algorithms, look for people who are curious and organized by nature and don’t need an existing path to do their job efficiently.
Instead of someone who can inspect one line of code for hours at a time looking for a way to fix a bug, find the testers who will think “outside the box” and in a minute come up with 7 different scenarios to run on the new feature (and find the unimaginable bug!).

In short, understand what you look for in the person you want to hire, and then decide whether he needs a CS degree…

To the people without a CS degree looking for a Testing Job today (in Israel and maybe elsewhere), first of all understand that you are at an unfair disadvantage. Better to know this than to not understand the reason you are not getting as many interviews as the next guy.

Now, think about what you can do to compensate for this in your CV. I don’t have a magic formula, but you need to think about ways of getting around this issue and making your resume “look good” even without such a degree. One way of trying to do this is based on your personal and professional experience…

Lastly, realize that most of the good jobs are seldom published on Hiring Bulletin Boards, they are filled based on personal recommendations. So make sure all your friends, family and neighbors know that you are looking for a Job and are ready to recommend you next time someone asks for a good tester during an informal chat.

It’s in your hands to catch that Job before someone else does…

A closing comment:
If back when I started testing a CS degree would have been a prerequisite, I would not be writing this post since I have a BSc in Industrial Engineering…

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One Response to Great testers, not so great CVs…

  1. testalways November 11, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    There are a lot of problems that come from thinking testers are a type (usually a sub-type) of developer. Quite big in outsourcing especially where the balance is lost fast.
    I think this happens sometimes because, maybe, temperamentally, a person closer to a developer will make it more comfortable for everyone.
    Another reason is that there is need for control from senior developers when dealing with testers

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