QA Ninja ?!?
A friend of mine asked me to check the site of a start-up company he is interviewing for as a tester. The site of the company looks nice, they are in the social media arena and working on yet another way to link between companies and what’s been said about them by bloggers, tweeters, etc.
As I told him, these are the start-ups that will either make it big and noisily, or sink silently into the horizon… But this is not what made me want to write about them, after all these companies are “a dime a dozen” today.
What caught my eye was that in their “Open positions page” (I was checking the job my friend was applying for) they were looking for a “QA ninja“.
Can someone please ask these guys to stop calling us names?
My first reaction was to ask myself “what were they thinking?!”
I guess the person publishing this position thought:
“We are a special, young, and very cool company; and we are looking for a special kind of tester! If we call the position a QA Ninja, the candidate will understand his job is “a very cool job” and not the job of a regular tester!”
Even if this is not exactly what he thought, I am sure it was very close. I mean these guys are not bad or anything, but they surely don’t understand how we testers see our jobs, or what are the things that will make us want to work somewhere or not.
About managers who think testers are anti-bug miracles.
My second thought about choosing to name the job a QA Ninja was that the hiring manager may not really understand what he is looking for in his testers.
To understand what I mean, close your eyes and think about a ninja (and I mean the idea of a ninja based on generation-X movies and TV shows). You will come up with either movies like American Ninja or shows like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or if you are a current parent you may thing of the Ninjago characters by LEGO.
In all these images a Ninja is a commando fighter that will enter a dark and dangerous situation and complete his noble objective silently, cautiously, and doing lots and lots of jumps and climbing along the way.
BTW, if you look at the meaning of the real Ninjas (at least based on wikipedia) you will see that they are defined as covert agents or mercenaries who specialized in unorthodox warfare, such as espionage, sabotage, infiltration and assassination…
What this means is that many managers simply fail to understand the concept of Quality Assurance and what they should be looking for in their testers! We are not anti-bug miracle makers, magicians or ninjas for that matter.
A tester will not get rid of all the bugs in the system, and in the vast majority of projects they will not even find all the bugs in the system by the time it is released.
A good tester, will provide visibility into the project and product been developed. A great tester will take this visibility and transform it into Testing Intelligence, or the information that will help the management team make educated decisions regarding their products and projects!
But in no case will we take a sword and kill all the bugs (although sometimes we will want to grab a sword and stab a couple of developers…)
If you are looking to attract top quality testers try this…
A good tester likes a challenge.
He will also like to influence not only how he tests the product but also how the system is designed and developed in order to make the testing more effective. But above all he will like to know he will be heard when he has something to say.
You can advertise that you are looking for a tester that will improve the quality of the product and process, to introduce methodology and technology that will make these efforts more effective and scalable, and that will help the whole team take the the company to the next level regarding the stability, usability and overall performance of the product or system been developed.
Understand that we don’t see ourselves as ninja climbing walls in the night, but as professionals who have a lot to contribute to our projects.
Ps. About my friend and his job…
In the end, I recommended my friend to take the job, after all the company looks pretty exciting and he describes the people there as very open and nice to work with.
But I also told him he needs to have a good expectations-settings talk with his managers before accepting the job, to make sure they understand what he can provide as a tester.
What’s your take?
Have you ever seen a job posted under a weird name or worked under a manager who thought your job as a tester was something completely different from what you are supposed to do?
Share it with us!!
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