The Career Path of Software Testers (Part 2)

2022-06-23 17:42:24
ZenTao 3
Translated 689
Summary : The responsibilities of testers have become more diversified from whether a single software system works and meets business needs. Testers are going to participate in software development in the whole process and let testing activities run through the whole life cycle of software development.

The Career Path of Software Testers (Part 2)

Click here to review The Career Path of Software Testers (Part 1).

Management Path

Some management positions will no longer exist in the new trends, and are generally found in relatively traditional organizational structures, but at present, there are still quite a few applicable enterprises. Let's talk about it briefly here. According to the situation of each company, the management positions directly related to testers will be different, which are generally as follows:

  • Test Team Leader 
  • Test Manager
  • Head of Project Testing
  • Test Director

1. Test Team Leader 

A test team leader usually leads several test engineers to be responsible for task assignments and personnel management. In addition to the necessary testing skills, the management skills required by the test team leader are:

  • Task priority identification capability:The test team leader needs to be able to identify the priority of the task and reasonably allocate it to different people according to the current work.
  • The ability to cultivate group members:To lead the team, the test team leader needs to cultivate and develop the corresponding abilities of team members, identify the characteristics of different personnel and cultivate corresponding skills.
  • Communication and coordination ability: To lead a good team, strong communication and coordination skills will get twice the result with half the effort and make the team work more smoothly.

2. Test Manager

The test manager usually takes charge of a test department, where may be several test teams. In addition to focusing on technology, test managers also need to pay attention to the development and performance of the department. The skills required are:
  • Technical Insight: The test manager needs to have a better understanding of technology trends and advanced test tools and needs to be able to help the team determine the research and use of test technologies and test tools to improve the work efficiency of the team.
  • Risk identification ability: The test manager needs to be able to well understand business requirements, identify project risks, be responsible for formulating test strategies and specific implementation plans, summarize and report, and feedback on the project quality status in time.
  • The ability to cultivate group members: The ability development of team members is very important. The test manager needs this skill as well as the test group leader.
  • Communication and coordination ability: The test manager not only needs to coordinate various situations within the test department but also needs to communicate and coordinate with other departments of the company horizontally. The ability to communicate and coordinate is more important.

3. Head of Project Testing

Head of Project Testing is mainly responsible for the quality assurance of a project and needs skills similar to those of the test manager: technical insight, risk identification ability, and communication and coordination ability.

4. Test Director

The test director is an extension of the test manager and belongs to the top person in charge of the quality department. He needs to be responsible for the quality activities of all projects of the company. The required skills are similar to those of the test manager.

Source:  Lin Bingyu

Easy Path for Transformation

In addition to the management positions directly related to testing, according to the professional characteristics of testers, the following two positions are easier for transformation:

  • Project Manager 
  • Product Owner

1.Project Manager 

Testers, especially those in agile teams, are involved in all aspects related to project quality. Naturally, they have the opportunity to look at the overall situation. Examples of the successful transformation of project managers are very common. Corresponding skill requirements include:
  • Team management ability:The team management, including personnel risk identification, coordination and communication. Besides, they need to master certain soft skills related to interpersonal relationships.
  • Customer relationship management ability:In addition to team management, the project manager has to deal with the relationship with the customer. Customer relationship management skills are particularly important.
  • Decision-making ability: Decision-making ability is a comprehensive judgment ability, that is, in the face of several scenarios or complex situations, the ability to make correct judgments and take action.

2. Product Owner

Software testers all need to be able to understand business requirements well and generally have strong business capabilities. Transforming to being a product owner is a good path. The corresponding skill requirements for product owners are:
  • User demand mining capability: Product owners need the ability to mine potential user needs, determine demand priorities, and build user portraits.
  • Multidimensional thinking ability: Product owners need the ability to think in terms of fundamental, external, core, and business value dimensions.
  • Abstract ability: Product owners must not only be able to abstract from the things themselves but also need to be able to consider different levels of abstraction. After abstraction, they also need to return abstract objects to the display level, and they need to have the ability to return abstraction to concreteness.

Source:  Lin Bingyu

Three Changes

Testers need to realize the following three changes to develop the skills described above:

1.Cognition of the Test

Testing activities are not only to verify system functions but also can be more diversified. For example, shift-left testing includes clarifying and verifying the needs, and shift-right testing includes monitoring and information collection of the production environment.

Testers are not the gatekeepers of quality. Good quality means delivering more value, not as simple as no defects. Testers no longer find that the more defects, the more achievements, but think about how to cooperate effectively with different roles so that the delivered products can optimize the business value.

2. Focus on Technology

Due to the diversity of testing activities, it’s important to not only care about testing related technologies but also expand our horizons to the knowledge in different fields and different types of technologies that are exposed to various parts of the software development process. Different business types, technical architectures, and infrastructures will have different impacts and requirements on testing.

3.Tests Cannot Exist Independently

Testing can no longer be regarded as an independent department. It needs more communication and cooperation with different roles. For example, in the demand analysis stage, we need to have close communication with the demand personnel. In the process of realizing automatic testing, we can pair up with developers or cooperate in depth in other ways. Testing in the production environment requires close cooperation with Ops personnel, etc.

At the same time, testers need to understand the technical architecture and design ideas of the system, and to better understand the development work, understand the impact of architecture evolution on testing, and better carry out testing work.

At Last 

Knowing the direction of development, how can you make your career more successful? For more suggestions, please refer to te following mentioned in my speech -- BQConf Speech: Where Software Testers Should Go last year:
  • Determine direction, target driven
  • Keep learning and turn knowledge into skills
  • Have the courage to make breakthroughs and think systematically

May all testing colleagues have a smoother career path!

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