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Testers – Is it our own fault we are Underrated?!

September 6th, 2018 by Claire Goss

As Testers is it our fault we are underrated in organisations? Have we been underselling ourselves for years?! From speaking to numerous testers at conferences and testers I have worked with directly over the years I have noted that we are not naturally inclined to sell ourselves in our own organisations. Is this why we are being told by the jobs industry that our role can be fully automated or that we have to work in a job where our primary function is to automate?!



I have absolutely no doubt that I have saved large sums of money for the companies I have worked for in my role as a Tester. I have highlighted assumptions, ambiguities and grey areas in projects and changes before they’ve even been fully spec’d or development has commenced. I have sat down and talked to the Business, Business Analysts, Business Users, Developers and Release Managers to ensure that there is clarity on what we are doing, how we are doing it and when we are doing it. I’ve highlighted risks and mitigated these as much as possible along the way. I have learnt key business knowledge from the business teams and used this information as input to my test approach and strategy. I have talked to the Customer Support Teams about where our customers are experiencing problems on the customer site and used new employees Beta testers for UI changes. If customers don’t use the application in the way we expect they will certainly experience issues.

When working with very complex changes I have run workshops with key stakeholders to ensure we understood the changes and the risks and used the information corelated in these workshops as the basis of the Test Strategy but as a bonus everyone left these workshops with a lot more information that they could use to strengthen the areas they were responsible for. I have sat down and talked to Vendors and asked them how we as the business could make their lives a lot easier in our day-to-day interactions. As a result of this the vendors became a key ally for the organisations I have worked for. I have done all of this and a lot more besides. In the industry these would be known as Softskills.

Logging defects was only a small percentage of my time as I was focused on preventing defects being raised in the first place. However, when I look at job specifications for Testers nowadays they are looking to automate and focus on this part of the job as opposed to all the work that is done by a Tester up until this point in time. Are we to blame for this?! What if we put a price on the Softskills we have completed and informed organisations how much we have truly saved them?! What if we took note of everything we have done that has lead to better a developed product and estimated the value of not having these issues appear in Test or Production and presented this in our reporting?! Would Stakeholders realise that our value is more than the bugs we find when testing code. Could we see a better balance between Software Developer in Test jobs and more traditional Tester roles as a result…

Bio
Claire Goss is the Senior Delivery Manager for Exactest Ireland. She is a graduate of DIT in Applied Sciences with Software Engineering. Claire has been a Software Testing specialist for the last eight years based both in Ireland and The Netherlands. She has worked in a variety of roles such as Test Co-ordination and Management.

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