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Career Aspirations for Tester

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Career aspiration isn’t just a distant dream; it’s the compass guiding your professional journey, a vision for your future self. While goals are specific, like aiming for a promotion, aspirations are broader, reflecting your desire to make a lasting impact within your workplace.


People who are in testing, many at times, do not have a computer related degree. Software Testing is also not taught in colleges except few chapters which comes as a part of Software Engineering Subject.

I was not aware about testing unless I got assigned to a testing team. It’s the same with many others who come to know about this role once they join the company. 

Every role is important as it is responsible for the successful delivery of the project.

Constant learning is always needed whichever path you choose for yourself. With the way tech is changing / upgrading every few months with AI in picture now you will have to take baby steps to reach the goal. 

Factors that can help you in deciding your aspiration:

  1. Understanding Your Strengths: Identify your areas of expertise within testing to leverage them effectively.
  1. Interests: Determine what aspects of testing excite you the most – whether it’s manual testing, automation, development, product management, or team leadership.
  1. Find a mentor – A person who has taken a similar path can help you achieving your aspiration in a smoother way as they have seen the path and know about challenges or skills required to be there 
  1. Know your option – Check the opportunities available at your organization to align yourself with those and check if the opportunities align with your aspirations. A company or vertical you are working in might not have a product manager role. So you would have to check with your manager / senior / mentor what way you can take. If the company does not have a career path as per your aspiration, you can create your own on paper.
  1. Skills – Know the skills required once you are in that role so you can prepare for it and it does not come as a surprise with different expectation 

Having a goal is not enough you would have to attach a plan with it and execute it consistently, so the baby steps align with the plan 

To go to next level, you should start performing some stuff which is required to be done at that level. This way your path to reach that level becomes easier.

Many testers aspire to remain in Testing. For them, the role starts with being a tester and ends with being a principal consultant.

Tester → Senior Tester → Feature Test Lead → Project Test Lead → Principal Consultant

For those in companies with SDET roles, the progression may include SDET I, SDET II, SDET III, and so forth.

It’s crucial not to become complacent with a particular skillset; continuous learning and skill diversification are key to staying relevant.

The title and number of years of experience required may vary with each organization you are part of. Also, the path shown could include more or fewer roles.

You must be working on your skills as a tester where you would be the expert of testing, automation and DevOps.

With each level after certain years, you would become more like a generalist and think of a broader picture and long vision then focusing on the individual tools. You would be part of Architecture design.

Some other aspirations that are available for testers

SME – you can be an SME among the various options apart from functional testing which include accessibility / security / performance / mobile / usability / ETL. 

Architect – This could be one of the roles which is different that consultants. Here you design the architecture based on the product requirement deciding which all tech is required to make the system possible. Some companies even have Test Architect Role where you would be involved even in Pre Sales to provide estimates  

SRE – This is also one of the areas where people move to. Site Reliability Engineering. There are less experts in this field and its all technical and exciting

DevOps – A project cannot run without DevOps tools. As it makes Continuous Integration  / Continuous Delivery / Continuous Testing possible. Tools are one portion. DevOps is a mindset you should cultivate

Developer – Some testers are inclined towards development. So that option is always available. People who worked as a tester generally write better code as they always have the test running behind their mind whenever they are writing code 

Non Coding

In non-coding realms, testers have various avenues for career progression:

Scrum Master: This role focuses on enabling teams by removing obstacles in their path. It’s not just about facilitating Scrum calls but ensuring smooth workflow and collaboration.

Business Analyst: Transitioning to a Business Analyst role involves eliciting requirements from customers, translating them into EPICs, Features, and User Stories, and facilitating the development process. Strong communication skills and a deep understanding of the product and customer needs are essential for success in this role.

Management Roles

In management roles, testers have a plethora of opportunities for career advancement:

QA Manager: As a QA Manager, you oversee the team and leverage your expertise in QA to guide them towards quality assurance excellence. This role may vary in designation across organizations.

Project Manager: This role revolves around project delivery, where you lead a diverse team including developers, testers, business analysts, and DevOps professionals to ensure successful project completion.

Product Manager: Product Managers play a crucial role in product-based organizations, developing a vision and roadmap for the product. They utilize customer feedback to drive feature prioritization and development.

Testing Coach / Mentors / Independent Consultants / Freelancers: Opportunities abound in coaching, mentoring, consultancy, and freelance roles, especially with the proliferation of tools like Topmate. Many professionals in this space offer courses on various topics, catering to the growing demand for expertise.

YouTuber: The realm of online education offers avenues for testers to share their knowledge and expertise. Many successful YouTubers focus on teaching automation tools and testing methodologies, contributing to the broader testing community.

Internal mobility within organizations often presents easier opportunities for role transitions than external job switches. By communicating your aspirations with your manager, you may gain access to resources and support to facilitate your career growth.

At the executive level, leadership and managerial skills take precedence, alongside a broad understanding of technology. Executives are involved in decision-making, policy formulation, and customer engagement, shaping the strategic direction of the company.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the field of software testing offers a myriad of avenues for career growth, ranging from technical expertise to managerial leadership. Whether aspiring to excel in testing methodologies, transition to management roles, or explore opportunities in coaching, consultancy, or online education, testers have ample pathways to realize their professional aspirations.

By embracing continuous learning, proactively seeking mentorship, and communicating aspirations with management, testers can chart a fulfilling career trajectory in the dynamic landscape of software testing.

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