As you might know by now from my previous posts, I’ve always been between testing and developing.
Every company is different and every person in the team is different. Some developers highly respect testing, write tests or at least like to learn to think like testers. There are developers that use testers as a shield against management’s disappointment when something goes wrong in production.
Some testers know how to code and are interested in new languages, technologies, systems… others might know some programming but just enough so they can stay in a comfortable job (this could apply to the devs too). Others are great testers although they do not know how to program (and that should not be an issue or be taken lightly by the rest of the team).
I have noticed a lot of confusion and open interpretations on the testing side of development and I have seen many movements on that side: I have seen some companies moving from QA to SDETs, and others moving from SDETs to Software engineers. It seems like this is the new fashion, the process to follow, developers to do both dev and test tasks (and operations as well, if possible…).
I have been concerned, to be honest, that I might end up in pure development and I would be fully extincted.. I felt as endangered as my lynx specie is.
The introduction of TDD and then of BDD, makes companies ignore other types of testing (maybe with exception of security) in favour of deploying earlier and faster, thus leaving the end to end ‘testing’ directly to the users.
However, I think this is not the right approach. Don’t get me wrong, I was already developing and testing, I would have ‘no issues’ moving with this current. But at the end of the day, if nobody is in charge of the quality, why would anybody care about it?
If previous testers are either gone or converted to developing first and thinking about quality second.. at some point, after hiring more and move developers and promoting thinking about speed of development first, who is going to think about quality? Who will have the knowledge to make a point or call out missing scenarios?
This might as well be a cyclic fashion, and at some point companies would be needing a test expert. Someone that cares about quality and creates integration and system testing, checks that the unit tests are right, verifies which tests are going to be run in the different builds, creates other types of testing, researches about testing, architect solutions for automation… Or at minimum someone that can train the developers to check for the right things and ensures the right testing happens.
How can you get test experts if there are no testers anymore? At the moment, the answer is: from other companies that are still using testers… but what if there are no such companies anymore?
I’ve heard complaints about how hard is to find testers that also program or have development qualities. Or developers that are OK being called testers and undertaking tasks in the test system. Maybe this post helps someone understand the paradox.
So, if we don’t find testers.. is it ethic/safe to deploy without comprehensive end to end and allow the users to report the issues in order to speed up development? To me, it is not, although I can understand where this comes from and that in some environments it’s very hard and costly to find alternatives.
Will this be the new quality assurance culture? I don’t think so, but that doesn’t mean that the things will go back to the way they were.
Should I be scared of losing my job? Well, that highly depends on your company, so I cannot answer that in an easy way.
What can I do to make sure I will stand out? I’d say, try to make yourself valuable, just as with any job. And I do not mean writing spaghetti code, (although high respect to the pastafarians, arr!) I mean knowledge wise.
I think there is much more to come. Research to be done. New ways of automating, new processes, development, test expertise …
And that’s why I think the future of testing is uncertain, but it will be different to what we have known until now. It has started to change and I think we better take on that boat and participate in the change that let us be driven by it.
Where to start? We should start by automating everything, including the automation. But that would be… well… a different story!