I've been reading Joel Spolsky's old article about "Top Five (Wrong) Reasons You Don't Have Testers". it's an old article date back to 2000, but it's insightful as most of its content make sense after a decade.

I cant agree more about the importance of test in order to produce qualify software.

But there is one paragraph talking about what to deal with when top testers moved on and causing tester shortage, I really can't agree with Joel, although what he stated is still the case even today.

In his analysis, I clearly felt a sense that Joel is saying "testers are inferior to programmers". A lot of people around me have this kind of prejudice. I don't know where does this come from, but I don't think this right. even myself is not willing to be a tester( but that's not because I think testers are inferior but rather testers are treated inferior ). but I don't think this is right.

The way I think to prevent the out-flow of top testers is to treat them equivalently as top programmers, are they not qualified in terms of contributions to the project ? another important aspect is that we know testers have to work intimately with devs to better fulfill their job, in a culture where Managers inherently demeaning testers how would they fulfill their job ?

  • You may find this helpful though: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/4399/… – Michael Durrant Nov 24 '13 at 15:20
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    Inferior to programmers..., this is why we have healthcare.gov 'coded', but does it work? Will it ever work? It's a different role - programmers tend to be good at figuring out efficient ways to do things, and are good at tracking down faults that break sessions. Software QA people, in comparison, are generating reams of code that isn't all that sophisticated - call functions and compare the results to 'expected'. Realistically, the QA programmer has an 'evil mind' derived from the idea that 'nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious'. – Meredith Poor Nov 25 '13 at 4:27
  • That being the case, the QA programmer has to design tests that are 'hostile' to all common sense. In short, put in values that shouldn't be put in, hit Enter repeatedly during a file transfer or report run, put in 3 digit years or 7000 AD, etc., etc. The QA developer is doing his job when the programming staff wants to kill him. – Meredith Poor Nov 25 '13 at 4:30
  • I don't know why people change my titles, did the title offend you ? but basically that's what I get when reading the article. The Post is called " WHY TESTERS ARE INFERIOR TO DEVS IN PEOPLE'S OPINIONS" – zinking Nov 25 '13 at 6:14
  • I changed it. I wasn't offended by it at all. I was trying to help you by keeping it open because questions that are clearly asking for OPINIONS (your caps) are usually closed quickly without getting the answer that the OP (you in this case) seeks. Remember too that we change these things because at the end of the day both questions and answers essentially belong to the community so we try and make the them the best to serve everyone – Michael Durrant Nov 29 '13 at 23:22

I work in QA dong testing. Testing today is moving from 'the temp goes to the web site and tries to break it' to 'QA technical developer is embedded with the engineering group and is writing automated tests with them."

So yes, the way to retain good testers is use them as engineers.

You will now see this in top companies. For example google "google quality engineer" to look at what Google is doing in this area. You will see positions that list quality engineers - rather than "software testers".

How to get this going at your company? This is hard because you're actually trying to change some set opinions.

My advice is to become an expert and an evangelist in Testing. You should study and learn the latest techniques and terms and approaches, then work within your company to slowly start introducing them. Ask to give informal demos and do them filled with enthusiasm. You have to also be consistent. talking about the right way constantly and repeatedly - but without being annoying and irritating. Obviously soft skills are key here!

Another obstacle btw is getting management buy-in for salary. You need to consider paying a top quality engineer $100k-$150k (Boston,MA market, you salary mileage may vary). This can be a shock for companies paying $40k for a manual tester!

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