Things freshers believe about a career in testing

Qxf2 wants to help testers. We think it is the best way to build our brand and showcase our work. We do a decent job of helping experienced testers get started with tools. But we do a lousy job of helping fresh graduates. So one of our goals over the next several months is to conduct paid internship programs that help us figure out how best to help freshers get their career started in testing.

Note: For the non-Indian audience of this blog, “fresher” = “recently graduated student”.

Why this post

I have several years of teaching experience. I recently conducted a 14-week internship program for two fresh graduates. I quickly realized training freshers and preparing them for the corporate world is very different from teaching students in colleges. While training the interns, I observed that they strongly wished to move to software development. Yes, I am happy that they have decided what they want to do in their career. But I was wondering why not choose testing as a career path? What made them prefer development over testing? I started questioning myself. I am sharing my thoughts here so that more experienced corporate trainers can chime in with their experience and offer advice on how Qxf2 can do better. If you have any suggestions on this please write down your comments.

For the rest of this post, I want to share a few things I observed about why freshers hesitate to join the testing field and a few counter-arguments that I can think of.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: To be clear, I don’t think there is anything wrong with software development. It is a fantastic career path and if you truly like building things, go ahead and choose development. This post is to help freshers who are open to any job that provides a good, stable, technical career.

The mindset I have observed in freshers

I noticed several beliefs that made my interns hesitate to fully commit to a career in testing. I don’t blame them – some of their beliefs are valid and true in many contexts. But I do feel that things are changing and that a fresher in 2017 should examine these beliefs.

1. Development is more challenging than testing
It really depends on the product. I feel more applications are developed with more complex features hence I believe we get more challenging tasks in testing also. As a software tester, we discover bugs in an application with a different attitude. And that requires good analytical skills.

2. Testing does not need coding skills
I know where this belief comes from. In several large companies, after training, those who performed well will be moved to development. The remaining trainees will be assigned to various fields. So freshers will get the mindset only development needs good coding skills and other fields don’t need much of coding skills. Actually, if we are using automation, we need coding skills. It also helps to be able to read code so you get a sense of its quality.

3. A tester’s involvement in the project is less compared to the developer
Well, not always and especially not in well-made products. If we consider the project involvement both the developer and tester’s involvement is crucial from day 1. We test the application as a user and in some sense, we would know come aspects of the product better than the developer. Besides, if you are really worried about this, consider joining startups. If you get a job as a tester in startups, then your work and its impact will be very visible.

4. Testers earn less than developers
I think there is a whole lot of truth to this belief. Over a career, I think developers will end up making more money …. although I do not have numbers to back up this claim. There are notable exceptions like Microsoft which pays SDEs and SDETs the same. And testers do not get as many onsite opportunities. Freshers want to move to various countries and they want to make more money at the start of their career itself. So they are choosing development rather than testing. I don’t really have an argument here except pointing out that testers make good money too!

5. There are fewer opportunities in testing
It is true that there are more development jobs than testing. But freshers think there are very few companies job openings for testing. That’s not true. There are more than enough job openings for testers.

Maybe there are more reasons why the freshers don’t like to come to the testing field. But predominantly, these are the reasons I got from my training experience.

If you are an experienced professional or a fresher, please add your thoughts about why the freshers should consider taking testing as their first job. I’d also like to know, as a tester and a trainer, what else can I do? How can I make my next batch of interns understand the importance of testing? And what is the real situation?

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