Testing is not a career

It’s a journey…

If you talk to a number of successful testers today you will see a common thread.  The majority of them did not plan to become a tester, they became testers almost by accident via a number of different paths.winding road

If so then, which is the best path to becoming a successful and professional tester?

The truth is, I don’t know.

Furthermore, I am not even sure there is a correct path.

But I understood something more interesting from talking to many of these successful testers in the last 20 years.

It took me a while to realize this, as I had to be able to ignore what they were doing and even what they were telling me, in order to be able to focus on who these people were and what set them apart…

Successful testers have the following Qualities that I have found in almost all of them:

  1. Empathy – the ability to see the world through the eyes of others and understand what is important to them.
  2. Curiosity – to be able to dig deeper into the real reasons behind behaviors that others would simply dismiss as not interesting or irrelevant.
  3. Technical Skills – to go deep into layers of their products that are usually not explored or exploited by other testers .
  4. Self Learners – to make sure they don’t wait for information and knowledge to reach them, they are looking for ways to expand their horizons on their own.
  5. Stubbornness – to not get NO for an answer when people are trying to tell them they are wasting their time.
  6. Communicative – to make sure they are heard and understood when they need to communicate their ideas. I focused on this point exactly in a webinar earlier this year – view webinar
  7. Humility – to understand when they are pursuing the wrong path and make corrections without drowning on their egos.
  8. Perseverance – to understand results do not come from quick winning sprints but from running the long marathon races.

I know there are many lists and many people writing them, but I am keeping this one handy and the next time someone asks me how can they become better testers I will start by ask them to look into the list and really asking themselves if they have at least most of these points.

If they don’t see themselves there, then I will suggest they look for another profession.

And if they do, I will ask them to look for ways for using these skills in order to make their work professional.  Trusted that when done correctly and smart enough they will be able to become great testers in their own time.

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4 Responses to Testing is not a career

  1. TestIT February 10, 2017 at 9:14 am #


    I am having almost 7 years of experience and Currently working as a Software Test Lead in a good company, though I am not having hands on experience on Automation side, but able to understand written scripts and the logic behind it.

    current trend is more of having hands on exp in Automation but frankly speaking Its not of my interest and do not want to be in that.

    My Question is what are the other areas I can explore from career perspective, though I know few as below which I can think of at the moment.
    1: QA Manager
    2: BA
    3: Project Manager


  2. Joel Montvelisky February 12, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    The option of moving into QA Management is always a valid one, but on the other hand it is a more difficult one since most people want to move up, and this creates more pressure and competition to reach the top. This also means that you need to have some added value in order to become a manager, and this is not a bad thing in itself as you also need to get more experience in order to expand your testing experience.

    More concretely speaking, if you are looking for other areas, you can also look at other types of applications to test, with other technologies and user types that will force you to learn more and new things about testing. In general, I believe that testers that have moved around different disciplines can use their experience in multiple fields in order to enrich their testing approaches and provide additional value to their work.

    You can also look for opportunities outside of testing, like the ones you described, and here the sky’s the limit since you can basically move wherever you want.

    Hope this helps!


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