Ten years on the Testing Field: Tips to Thrive - Part 2

Ten years on the Testing Field: Tips to Thrive - Part 2

The first ten years in the career of a tester are integral in determining how high he will manage to climb the corporate ladder. In my previous blog I covered the first five years of the career of a tester and outlined the steps that a he should take in order to achieve his maximum potential. In this blog I will be discuss the next five years of a tester’s career.

5-8 years of a tester’s journey:

  1. Reflect on your career growth thus far: Evaluate the number of projects that you have worked on. Objectively think about the expertise you have gained and whether you have invested enough time working with various domains so as to get more exposure. Consider whether you have real-time experience on different platforms and technologies. In each of these cases, it is ideal for a tester to have made exceptional progress by working on multiple projects, with more than one domain, and having gained knowledge of at least two or three platforms and/or technologies, if not more. If this is not the case, then it is time for the tester to focus on how he could be more productive and progressive in their career.
  2. Identify where your career is heading: See if there is a possibility of career growth in the company that you are currently employed with. If you do not see yourself growing significantly, both in terms of your earnings as well as your position/designation then consider making a career move by switching employers. You may have many qualms about leaving a company where you have become very comfortable, however in order to gain something one has to make certain tough choices. Moving to a new company may be uncomfortable initially, however in the longer run it is likely to pay off.
  3. Familiarity with Quality Assurance and Project Management Process is very essential at this stage: If a tester wants to have significant and sustainable career growth, it is crucial for him to make major headway in this stage of his career. Therefore, he must take the initiative of sharing managerial responsibilities. Most often managers do not pass on responsibilities unless subordinates show a willingness to take on more than they have already been assigned.

Below are some of the things a tester would ideally do during this stage of his journey:

  • Ensure that team meetings are held on a weekly basis to review test scenarios, traceability matrix and quality matrix etc.
  • Take an initiative of conducting routine meetings with the management and the team to discuss the world’s best practices on the quality process, testing process and bug process.
  • Always aim to be a thought leader and contribute innovative ideas in project review meetings thus showcasing one’s competency, skills and experience.
  • Take the lead in analyzing new projects and approaching the management with effective ideas about how to simplify the testing process or automation framework.
  • Attempt to be one of the top performers of the company, and if the company has an annual award ceremony to acknowledge employees’ contributions then make every effort to bag an award at least once every quarter.

Upon the completion of eight years, a tester qualifies as an expert in quality assurance and testing frameworks. Ideally, the tester should have developed exceptional leadership skills alongside domain expertise in at least two domains (e.g. BFSI and Mobile) and should be an expert of at least one test automation framework.

8-10 years of a tester’s journey:

Beyond the eighth year of a tester’s career, there is a wide vista of opportunities. Depending on his skill and expertise he could rise to a managerial position within the company he is already working for or else may find great opportunities with other companies in the industry.

It is best to be careful with regards to career decisions ; one should objectively evaluate the roles and responsibilities, the benefits, perks and salary packages etc. before signing up for a new role in the same company or taking up a job offer from another company.

Not ALL testers would be rewarded for their hard work with a managerial position. Just about 10-20% of professional testers fall in the bracket that gets the opportunity to become a Manager. However, one does not qualify as a manager just because he is given the position. Despite not having the designation a tester can lead his team because of his skills and attitude; inevitably doors to the management level will open up for someone who is relentlessly determined to be an asset for his company.

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Asim Noaman Lodhi's picture
Advisory Software Quality Engineer at Systems Limited with over 8 years of experience in Software Quality Assurance and Management, Asim Noaman Lodhi is based in Lahore and is a regular contributor of the Systems Limited Blog.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.

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