Today is the good day as any to think about the future of testing. Some testers, when asked about the future, think about the progress in test target – IoT, VR, bots, spaceships or maybe AI. I have a much simpler concern: what should I have on my CV and in my head to remain relevant on the IT market? There are many ways to learn the answer. I choose to participate in recruitments and look at job requirements.
There was this one particular job opportunity that I was really keen about. I was supposed to join the team of 10 developers as the only tester. The team was already working for some time with external testing. Now they wanted to have someone on site.
Questions during recruitment were dominated by programming languages, operating systems and known tools. I could only answer according to the truth – I do not use automation in my current job and I use a limited amount of tools due to the specification of the project, but I learn quite fast and could easily gather the knowledge from both developers and current testing team.
And while I do not judge the outcome of this recruitment (I can easily imagine them finding someone better than me for this single spot) I felt really sad while reading the rejection message. It was short: “Unfortunately we cannot take you to the next stage of recruitment because we want someone with experience in automated testing.”
I was sad mostly because this wasn’t a single case scenario. It happens most of the time. Automation skills are no longer “good to have” but a requirement. Even if in the end You will end up not using them at all. I see many testers, automation testers, using this picture as the warning to not overuse automation:
And yet as a tester with 4 years of experience in the field, I feel more and more forced to switch into automation testing to remain relevant at the market.
In my mind I have this wish, that the future of testing will look like this:
- Testers are working on their creativity and knowledge of the software. They are getting closer to business to both gather the requirements and validate them. They are gaining more skills in constant learning and adaptation.
- Automation testers are becoming Test Architects and Test Developers. They are working hand to hand with developers using the language and tools of their choosing. They have a vast knowledge of the technical solutions and therefore they assure quality since the design, through the development up until the maintenance.
But I think that the current market is not ready for that kind of future. We have “manual testers”, which are worse and cheaper version than “automation tester”. Sometimes “automation tester” is the only career development for “manual tester”. Even inexperienced “automation testers” earn more money and are more likely to get hired than experienced “manual tester”. This, in my opinion, may lead to:
- unnecessary automation (to keep the role of automation tester or to gain the experience),
- some people switching from very good tester into ordinary (or even bad) automation tester (for money and glory of course),
- blockade in development of both groups into the best version of themselves (when “automation tester” is view as a better version of “manual tester”).
I would really like to know what to do with that. Not only for sake of my future career but for the sake of future testing in general. I already see the movement of removing the word “manual tester” and I strongly recommend to join it. Moreover, I strongly suggest becoming the best version of yourself – both as Tester or Test Developer. Lastly, I only hope the market will follow the changes and there will be a place for both Testers and Test Developers.