Industry Wisdom

Different Category of Software Testers | Which type are you?

People. Individuals. Employees. Team Members. Testers. Employees are the backbone to success of any enterprise. Attitude & Skills are the two main ingredients to make or break an enterprise. In my 7+ years of IT career I have come across variety of professionals. With special affinity towards Software Testing Technology, let’s just talk about the different category of Software Testers. Yeah! You should not be surprised to know that we do have different category of Software Testers? Seriously!

“You cannot do epic shit with basic people”

Software Testing is a multi-faceted technology. On top of it Human race is super-diversified. When mingling these with the IT world – the result is fascinating. You might not have noticed (or ignored it), but we do have different category of Software Testers 🙂 There are the bug-hunters. The domain experts. The documentation savvy. Automated machines. Accidental Testers. Or the thinkers. Let’s deep dive!

Requirements-conscious vs. The Bug hunters

First of all ‘Bug hunters’ sounds cool nah? 😉 Nevertheless! Recently I was reading a blog post ‘The purpose of Software Testing’ @ Microsoft and came across this category of Software Testers.

One who are inclined towards verifying that the software meets the customer requirements. And the others who are focused on ‘bug hunting’. Confused? Aren’t verifying the requirements = bug finding? There is a slight different. A requirement-conscious tester will verify if the Amount Text-box is accepting only numbers whereas a bug-finder will attempt decimals, comma, boundary values, null, numbers, alphabets, special characters, in-transit security, usability, compatibility, etc. in order to find a bug anyhow. The ultimate goal differs – verify the positive flow OR identify the shortcomings!

Domain vs. Technology

The most common bifurcation. There are Team Managers and then there are QA evangelists. There are business-enablers and then there are implementation experts. There are domain consultants and then there are Test architects. This is the most prominent split in different category of Software Testers. Sooner or later every Tester reaches this junction where he/she has to choose between Domain vs. Technology. Especially the ones who are in their 30’s 😉

As a fresher, new to the IT world – we learn Testing. For effective Testing, we learn about the domain. The two go hand-in-hand for few promotions until one fine promotion cycle where you have to choose one specialization. The toughest decision which requires introspection as well as market analysis. Understand the domain, i.e. how business works – to get more business. Or practice technology for effective implementation. The choice is entirely yours!

Accidental vs. Preferred Tester

Haha! It reminds me of the book “The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh”, a 2014 memoir by Indian policy analyst Sanjaya Baru, who was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s media advisor.

There are two kind of professionals – One who love what they do, and the rest. Software Testing for you was/is an informed decision or was it your company’s random selection process? You consciously chose Testing or in the crowd of new-hires were ‘allocated’ to Testing practice? Are you still trying to move to software development OR are working on your Testing skills? Have you accepted (& are happy) software testing as a fruitful career OR are cribbing about no opportunities (or less learning)? I see many new-hires making faces when they get to know that what they are expected to do is ‘Software Testing’. Yet there are others who get self-trained just to improve on their testing capabilities. Some chose Software testing, for others Software Testing chose them. Whatever be the case, some just ‘crib-and-work’, while others ‘work-and-advance’. So what are you? An accidental Tester or destined to be a successful QA?

Process-oriented vs. Ad-hoc

Do you love following a process? Preparing the documentation? Exquisite reporting? Sticking to the timelines? Detailed Test cases? Executing the written Test cases? Tracking different Testing metrics? Congratulations! You are a process-driven Tester. After all, success depends on which route you take. It helps in maintaining the discipline and keeping things in control. Yet there are others who love being impromptu. Just give me the requirements & the software, leave the rest to me. The metrics doesn’t matter if the approach is yielding results. Test cases are just bookish, they limit your imaginative powers. Thinking & Testing on-the-fly is the real game changer where you find actual bugs. Scripts are just confirmatory, whereas Humans are exploratory. Whatever route we take, everyone needs to reach the same destination!

Manual vs. Automation

QA evangelists get angry when I call it ‘Manual Testing’ :-). Some say ‘It’s just Testing, with the aid of automation tools sometime’. There is nothing called Manual and Automation Tester – just a Tester who uses (or can use, should use) automation to aid his/her testing tasks. Whatever be the debate, I have not created this terminology. Neither did I ask organizations to create separate job descriptions for Manual and automation testers. At the end every Tester needs a job to pay his/her bills. This divide has been created by time and people. And now it is here to stay, until the time there are no more job opportunities for only-manual testers.

Manual vs Automation Testing

Manual Testers don’t know, are aware, or just have knowledge about the Testing tools. Automation Testers on the other hand script, write code and run it. Manual Testers write Test cases and execute them. Both understand the requirements and identify defects (though Automation is more inclined towards confirmatory tests whereas Manual tests are inclined towards finding bugs). Manual Testers know the domain better, Automation folks Technology. But the gap is slowly closing – at first organizations created the divide, now the same organizations are covering it. The industry is now moving towards just ‘Testers’ who know just ‘Testing’ – both Manual and Automation!

Follower vs. Leader

What are you working on in your current project? Don’t tell me Selenium automation 😛 there are always two type of people – the creators and the users. The thinkers and the doers. The followers and the Leaders. Found a new way to test something? Last when did you created something useful? Implemented a process improvement? Taught something to fellow Testers? Are you helping others to succeed? Yeah! That’s what leaders do. They are the doers. The creators. The solution experts.

Category of Software Testers - Follower and Leaders

“He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader”

Yeah! One of the basic principle. Unless you learned something yourself, you cannot teach. Unless you test a software effectively, you cannot explore. Every leader was once a follower. Just that many of them are still followers who love working only 9 hours. They are happy in basic Test design & execution. They crib about less opportunities in the Testing technology. They enjoy being in a comfort zone. They find excuses. They follow the same old principles of Software Testing. They don’t innovate. They want a change, but don’t want to change. I am not saying they are wrong. Everyone has his/her interest, passion & potential. May be they are in the wrong place. But what can we do about it. Keep following!

Category of Software Testers | Which type are you?

Wait a minute! I am not done yet. These different category of Software Testers are not exclusive. They might overlap with each other. It’s not like someone good at Automation testing cannot be good at Manual. Or an accidental tester who fell in love with Software Testing thereafter. A bug-hunter who is very particular about the requirements. You can be any type of Software Tester but ‘more inclined’ towards one approach. Or you can be nothing – just a simple Tester. It’s all about the perception and individual choices. So now, what type of Tester are you?

Reading this, another category comes to your mind? Or you don’t agree with the categories at all? Would love to hear your valuable feedback/comment/suggestion. Oh by the way, don’t forget to subscribe, will notify you of other interesting posts via Email.

5 thoughts on “Different Category of Software Testers | Which type are you?”

  1. Well, an engaging post. My take from this blog, especially for the testing world simply favors requirement conscious testers with a balance of technical expertise and domain knowledge, and a zeal to move ahead- become a leader, learn, adapt and remain competitive.

    But the question is how to do that?

    Often new and inexperienced testers with minimal or no training are directly put under projects, and they fail to deliver. This brings down their morale and chances of survival. Besides, self learning is possible but with n number of online tutorials, and no real support, it is difficult to grasp the nuances. On the other hand, the old manual testers are finding it difficult to catch up with the new technology. This leaves the testing world with limited skilled testers in the field, who are actively engaged in projects, with no time to train others. Where will this lead to with IoT storm around the corner?

  2. A very provoking blog !!! A “Tester” definitely going to go mad trying to fit him/her self in one or the more categories. Well, I really doubt if Quality world targets / prefers any specific ‘type’ while hiring or preparing competencies in-house. Everyone wants more for less / all-in-one which, practically is rare if not impossible. When we tried to hire ‘Testers’ in a walkin, I learnt about “Validators”. Impressive experience it was, talking to few individuals who claimed & demonstrated their USPs. They come with Domain Rich experience (other than what the hiring was for) yet were able to showcase their knowledgebase proving with their analytical abilities to get fit into different domain. It was important for us to understand if potential candidates knows How to automate PLUS when to Automate + If at all Automation required.

    But surely, initial years of an Individual who is into ” Testing”, are going to be spent in identifying which category they fit into or if they are blended with multiple talents within themselves.

    Urvashi has brought up a very sensible & critical point reg Experienced manual testers being unable to catchup with new techs n tricks specially with embedded / IoT / Smart devices.

    1. Nice observation Ram. But the emphasis is other way round – most of the thinkers just keep thinking & do not act. The one who acts has obviously thought about it 😉

  3. Yes, I do agree with your point @Urvashi. Testing is the only aspect which can only be carried long, if in the hand of skilled one who knows its know how from the depth. Otherwise, results may get opposite consensus for the resource as well as impact negatively on the project too. It can only take long if training and learning programs would be imparted properly and there are only less or countable images come in front if we talk about authoritative skill imparted center specifically related to testing concerns. May be after that, one could differentiate or tell him/herself with a skilled or professional tester.

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