Industry Wisdom

Is Software Testing a good career choice for a Fresher?

Is Software Testing a good career choice for a Fresher? No!

Shocked? Surprised?

Yeah! Being a Software Tester myself, I wouldn’t recommend ‘Software Testing’ as a career choice to fresher.

Why?

Because of a simple yet logical reason – Many Freshers opt for Testing because it seems to be a non-programming career. We have become engineers but still don’t want to learn programming. Testing seems to be an obvious choice.

Yes, programming is not ‘necessary’ to be a good tester. But with 1.3+ billion people, India is a ‘highly’ competitive market. Different than other nations. You might feel good at the start, but it is really tough to make a mark as a pure-manual tester here. Accept it, not everybody can be a James Bach!

Apart from that – Testing is for self-motivated people. With QA vs. Development evergreen debate, you will always find it challenging to justify your skills.

Having said that – If you are self-motivated, have a learning appetite and open to ‘technical’ learning – Software Testing is no different than Software Development as a career choice. They go hand-in-hand.

The choice is ultimately yours. All the Best 🙂

Career in Software Testing

Paul Davies

In my 20+ years within software testing I have seen people start as one and then switch.  If you are talking solely on the competitiveness of the manual market then of course there will be more. Find what you are good at and build your career. Develop new skills, gain experience and grow.  I completely disagree with the comments about lack of growth opportunities within manual testing but I don’t know your marketplace, within the 4 countries I have worked I have not witnessed this and I have never felt constrained within my career through not having any automation skills – why?  Simply I am not good at it.  What I would say to any fresher wondering whether to embark on a career in software testing is this… I personally do not believe testing is simply about breaking things and as a role it offers a great opportunity to impact positive change within an organization’s delivery life-cycle and so really understand the value add of the role you are considering.  Understand the importance of data, information, communication, process, timeliness and quality and as you’re a fresher don’t feel tied to making the right role choice first time just build the right foundations.

Brijesh Deb | Agile Testing Evangelist – Helping Teams Test Better!

Having been associated with Software Testing for almost 2 decades now, I would DISAGREE with that opinion.

I did not start my career as a software tester. I had a choice of switching over to software testing and I have grown in that direction and it has been a great and highly rewarding experience thus far.

I would not deny the fact that a lot of us start with software testing as a non-programming alternative but to limit ourselves as “manual” testers is the biggest drawback we can ever have.

Software testing is way beyond executing certain steps to discover anomalies. It is about discovering the unknown and ensuring that the software is defect free. Software testing allows you to understand the big picture (what we like to call as domain). There are several aspects of the software that can be explored as a tester other than just the functionality. You can look at the performance, security, usability and much more.

It’s very important to have the right mindset, learn the basics and grasp the techniques, processes and approach towards testing.

For the sake of this discussion I would say YES software testing is a great career choice to start as a fresher but limiting yourself to be called as a manual tester is not right.

Vallabh Bhandare | AGM – Quality Engineering at BookMyShow

Although I am not challenging your stand but then there are various career options for the manual testers as well. People take Automation as the ONLY game changer of their career but it isn’t true. I have seen some people doing really good without doing any technical testing. If there is a right mentor for these pool of people, the careers can be aligned accordingly. Regarding your first question, “Is Software Testing a good career choice for a Fresher?” My opinion is definitely YES. It is a good career choice. A positive here is that Manual testers always get to a domain expertise but an automation tester would slowly deviate from this unless he is an agile tester who believes in automating his own work.  I see many of the early career starters agreeing with your points and that’s hurting me. As I said earlier, they need a right mentor to guide them throughout this journey more than the blogs which can be more deviating from their focus.

Ashutosh Krishna | Test Specialist at Siemens

Totally depends on the perception, if the you need to survive in the competitive world of IT, you need to learn and mold yourself accordingly. This is applicable to both developer and tester.  As per new methodologies and Devops everything has changed drastically in the last 5 years. Related to coding, it is totally up to the person caliber and as per that he use to choose. For sure opportunity can make any change anytime.

Nothing will change if you are not willing to change, and if you have a rigid will to change, no one can stop you. It’s all about you and your choices. It is applicable in your career as I have witnessed the change done by other, which I appreciate and adapting the same to be better.

Tanya Kukreti | Test Engineer |Experience in Payment Gateways

This is true. I did manual testing for some time and ultimately switched to automation .So ultimately coding skills is required. There is less growth in manual testing and moreover it is tedious also. There are several projects in IT which actually don’t require any coding skills apart from Manual testing also.

The key is Never give up and try to learn new things if you want to survive.

Amritha Vasudevan | CTFL, PSM1  Technical Specialist at Softtek

Can’t agree more! On later stages of career too when you want to change the career path to program management or as a matter of fact even for a scrum master in good product companies’ development experience is much sought after.

Ashish Mathur | Product Architect, Author, Master Inventor, Technology Director HCL Technologies, Products & Platforms

Isn’t everything for the self-motivated? Is software testing any different. We in our team indeed have the best of testers. And they don’t just do manual testing but also push the boundaries of automation given they have arguably the toughest task of testing a software testing tool itself. Great responsibility. My personal belief – it’s the best job in software if you can keep the software honest without drawing boundaries.

Zain ul Haq | System Analyst | Project Manager | Six Sigma YB | PRINCE2 | MBA

Career choice should only be made keeping in view the interest & passion, not the trends or ease. Further, IT industry is so versatile that people nowadays do not spend their lives doing the same things over and over.

Having interest in programming, I started my career as a software engineer – I then enjoyed working in the role of Software QA Manager – and now I am even more enjoying the role of Software Project Manager, mainly involved in development.

Gone are the days when we used to have dev. vs. tester debates. Agile has reshaped the way of work (for the better).

Sandeep T. | Test Automation, Software development and Training

I switched my role as a software developer in semiconductor domain to Software Testing in web technologies after a decade. Having a programming and design skills has helped me do lot better as QA person. Most get into QA because they don’t know coding, they are not good at tech skills or they think it’s easier. It’s not true but that’s what most believe. Now, these half-baked people become test managers and test leads. Their expectation of the new hire is sub-standard. I still code and I tested when I was a developer :). I had hard time while hiring experience folks for test role. Finally I had to realize the ground realities and hired the ones I can train.

Nathan Bligh | Testing Expert and Director of Informatech

Terrible post that does damage to the testing industry by saying testing only has value if you learn programming…

If you think testing is a “non-technical” profession then you are doing it wrong. If you don’t understand the system, the architecture, the design, and how it all works together then what hope do you have of testing it properly… It’s the testers that make statements like “oh, I am not technical” that give testing a bad name. Remember that I.T. stands for Information Technology – The word technology (a derivative of technical) is literally in the name. So you had best be technical…

Like all professions, some people are better suited than others. If you want to stand out in a competitive industry then do things to be competitive – read articles, trial new methodologies, learn new technologies, learn programming (this has many other benefits than just being used for automated testing), go on training, get certifications, etc. Ultimately it comes down to the individual – have you ever noticed how motivated, intelligent and dedicated people consistently find ways to be successful regardless of their profession? There’s a reason for it.

And just for the record – I have made my career out of manual testing.

Shailendra Medhi | Scrum Master at Mastek Ltd

I believe testing career is for those who like to break things I.e. challenge every possibility to break the application should be an attitude…for Freshers definitely if they have right attitude it’s a good career. There are still few jobs which let you do manual testing. However in agile world where we want fail fast, quick time to market we focus on automation. So instead of making it generic, I believe it’s up to individuals who need to identify his strengths and weaknesses and select a career path. I also agree if he gets right mentor his/her career will flourish. Cheers!

Ramani Suru | Test Analyst

Not at all. It always depends on individual how you want to take your career. Career growth is equally good in manual testing. Manual or Automation both are functional testing but I do agree technical skills are equally important. Nothing is rocket science. Doing automation without understanding functionality is no use.

Abhishek Mishra | Senior SDET at Sprinklr

Working as a tester since last 7 years and never felt that it’s anyways tough to make a mark as tester.

If the concern here is to adapt oneself for challenges or to be accustomed to new technologies, then I think being a developer its way more difficult. India is a competitive market not only for testers but for every profession. It’s really not good to generalize it.

Last but not the least without a learning appetite no industry or stream is long lasting so it’s a must thing no matter you are a tester or a developer or a DevOps guy.

Vishal Verma | Test Automation Engineer at Zalando SE

Manual testing can only be the best choice when you are eager to learn and never be in your comfort zone. Testers always have advantage and they are always one step ahead from developers because of product knowledge and it is up to individual tester that where he wants to go after certain experience.

He can choose multiple professions after certain time like BA, PO, Scrum Master, Agile Trainer, Automation expert, consultant and definitely he can always be on his comfort zone in same MNC and do same thing for years with low package. This same goes for developers too.

Dushyant Sharma

Coding skills is not ultimate solution for everything if you don’t want to learn there are many other skills that you can learn and achieve big but I agree on the point you should have the attitude/zeal to learn or upgrade yourself. You should never stop learning if you are adamant about leave IT you can’t successful anywhere. Don’t be jack of all and master of none!

Jeff Nyman | Quality and Test Specialist

I think if you arm a “fresher” with some knowledge, testing can be a very viable career starting point. Testing teaches you to question everything. It teaches you to balance exploration, investigation, and experimentation. Testing teaches you to focus on outcomes, not just output.

But testing should have a technical basis as well. You should feel comfortable looking at code. While not being an enterprise developer, you should certainly understand what makes good code and what makes bad code. Just as you must understand what makes a good test and a bad test. And that’s because testability — a key driver of internal quality – sees a great deal of application in the context of code.

Thus as a tester you learn how to put pressure on design at two levels: at the business (requirements level) and at the code level. The latter helps you discuss code with developers in the context of TDD. The former can help discuss features with business in the context of BDD. It’s the intersection of those two areas — business and code — where testing becomes a very diverse discipline.

A “fresher” armed with this knowledge, aware of these possibilities, and given some of the vocabulary that they can learn from and build upon: it’s not a bad start!

Anand Iyer | Principal Consultant-Trainer

“Accept it, not everybody can be a James Bach!-” 🙂 I bet you wouldn’t mark James on this post!  He would get terribly upset at this, for a couple of reasons.  For one, he’s among those who passionately argue against the usage of term ‘manual’ testing.  Secondly, if you imagine that he is a pure-play exploratory guy, you’re wrong.  He’s pretty good at programming too, if you didn’t already know that.

Now, for another thing.  The truth of the matter is, programming isn’t a great deal as many pretend, as far as you’re reasonably good at logic (of course) and systematic at solving a problem.  That is it.  Anyone can program, and do that well too.  It’s important to realize, programming as a skill is distinct from knowing a bunch of other stuff (often confused with programming) – the frameworks, libraries, SDKs, tools, technologies.  Of course, these complement each other, but programming always remains the foundation skill for all.

Jeff Nyman | Quality and Test Specialist

There is a certain truth to this, I think. I would word it this way: there is a difference between “being a programmer” and “being a developer.” Being a programmer has a much lower cost of entry and much less steep learning curve, depending on what kind of programming you are doing.

Being a developer can have a high cost of entry due to the knowledge that is necessary to be a developer. For example, understanding patterns. Understanding design principles. Understanding sensitivities. Understanding optimizations. There’s also a facility with moving between frameworks, libraries, SDKs, and so on, as you mention.

It is true that we (industry-wide) tend to conflate the terms programmer and developer. We’re also in an industry where the tester gets conflated with … which? Developer or programmer? It really depends. And that becomes an interesting point of entry for those starting out in testing.

Shreejit Nair | Engineering productivity / Devops / SDET at IBM Watson Health Cloud

Agreed. I would say having a Test mindset is really important, have the ability to understand and break a system. At the same time a lot of people can write code, but not many can analyze a system end to end that well. If you are that QA guy you literally run the system. If you just execute a bundle of tests in the name of manual testing you would not reach far.

Badar Khan | Sr. Software Engineer | Agile Tester | Test Automation Expert (Selenium)

Couldn’t agree more. Although manual testing is important for any project but career wise it’s not a good choice. Testers will never be considered as valuable in job market as software developers. Even if we go to automation you will have to do coding so why not code from the start. In a nutshell if you want to excel in IT you need to have good programming skills. Programming skills will always repay you in the long run.

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One thought on “Is Software Testing a good career choice for a Fresher?”

  1. Software Testing does not require very high programming skills as it is driven more by analytical skills than programming skills. A Career in Software Testing has very good growth prospects and in demand throughout the world.

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