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Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach by Bret Pettichord, James Bach, Cem Kaner

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Chapter 10. Your Career in Software Testing

What kind of future can you have in a software testing career? The answer is complex. It's easy to dead-end in testing; you have to manage your career or you might go nowhere. The pay is often lower in testing than in other development positions, but it doesn't have to be if you actively build your skills and pick your employers. Turnover is higher; testers seem to get fired, laid off, or driven out more often than other equally competent developers. Improving your job-hunting and negotiating skills will be valuable.

The suggestions that we provide on job-hunting and negotiation are distinctly American, especially Silicon Valley American. If you're not sure whether our advice applies to your culture, talk with some experienced colleagues.

Some testers think they'll be more attractive job candidates and entitled to more respect if they're certified and more powerful on the job if they're licensed. There are plusses and minuses to certification and licensing. We look at some of each.

Lesson 245: Choose a career track and pursue it.

Two of the common career tracks in testing are technical and managerial.

Some examples of technical jobs within testing (you can go from beginner to expert at any of these) are:

  • Automation programmer

  • Automation architect

  • Performance and scalability tester

  • Systems analyst

  • User interface and human factors analyst and critic

  • Test planner

  • Subject matter expert

  • Black box tester

Suppose that one of these was your specialty at the ...

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