You Tester, should become a Tester-Developer

Why should you become a Tester-Developer?

  1. The software industry needs them bad. The demand is high and there are few.
  2. The high demand is an indication that the industry is moving away from the waterfall mentality to a more agile environment where testers are involved earlier and need to understand and write code for testing.
  3. You will likely make better money because you will be a better tester.
  4. It will be easier to get jobs with testing AND developing skills.

I hear the question quite often: What is a tester-developer? Steve Rowe sums this up quite well:

“Test Developers are the heart of a modern test team.  There was a day when you could get away with hiring a few people to just use the product and call that a test team.  This is no longer the case.  Products are becoming more complex.  The lifespan of products is increasing.  More products are being created for developers instead of end users.  These have no UI to interact with so simple exploratory testing is insufficient.  To test complex products, especially over an extended lifespan, the only viable solution is test automation.  When the product is an API instead of a user interface, testing it requires programming.”

What do you have to lose? Pick your poison, C#, VB.Net, Java, JavaScript, TSQL, Python, Ruby, or whatever is applicable to your company or to your interest. Find a few books, use tutorials on the Web, and most of all just start writing code. Keep the future in mind; what do you think you’re going to gain my learning Cobol? Do you think that will be applicable in the next job you take? Be patient and don’t rush, learning to program isn’t a fast or easy process.

This message was brought to you by the Push to Become a Tester-Developer Foundation  (PBT-DF) where we’ve been pushing testers to become tester-developers since…well, since you started reading this blog post. Be all you can be join the PBT-DF.

3 Responses to You Tester, should become a Tester-Developer

  1. I could not agree more, Brent. In January, I attended AWTA and this was the primary topic that was discussed. The feeling I walked away from was that Ruby is becoming the "language of the testers".

    Here are two more great articles from Chris and Elizabeth, summarizing AWTA and the Tester-Developer, Developer-Tester.
    http://www.testobsessed.com/2007/01/17/tester-developers-developer-testers/
    http://chrismcmahonsblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/developer-testers-and-tester-developers.html

    Cheers,
    Jason

  2. David Drake says:

    There’s something a little… retro… about calling test developers "the heart of the modern test team", kind of like hearing Better Homes and Gardens call the Cuisinart the heart of the modern kitchen.

    All kidding aside, is it really that easy? Pick up a language and call yourself a test developer?

  3. Brent says:

    David,
    Of course it’s not that easy, hence why I advise patience. But I think that if you are learning a language (is a language ever FULLY learned?) and you’re apply it towards testing or testing tools then you entered the tester-developer realm. What grade of tester-developer is the question that I think you may be hinting at? Maybe as more and more testers evolve to tester-developers we’ll start to see job titles like junior test-developer, test-developer, & senior test developer? This whole tester-developer term seems fairly new since people are asking what it means. I personally don’t give a toot about titles. At GoDaddy I’m a "Lead QA Engineer" but I’m doing tester-development stuff. Thanks for comment!

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