Monday, November 17, 2008

Roles in Software Testing

Perhaps I'm the only one who's is wondering about the reason why we are making testing so complex. When ever a new approach is defined, also new roles are introduced. When new books are written, new roles are explained. Even when people are describing themselves on a network-site like LinkedIn, they express them selves in different roles.

When I started in the software testing business I was aware of the following roles:
- Test Analyst
- Test coordinator
- Test manager
- Test tool specialist

Over the years I also noticed that in TestFrame you had roles like:
- Navigator
- Analyst

Other roles I was aware of are:
- Test consultant
- Test Professional
- Test tool consultant
- Test tool developer
- Test team leader

In TMap next they introduced:
- Test project administrator
- Test Infrastructure coordinator

In a recently followed presentation about Model Based Testing they introduced the role:
- Test constructor

And there are roles all over the place like:
- Agile Tester
- Security Tester
- Usability Tester
- Test Oracle
- Software Tester
- Requirement Tester
- Test Architect

All these roles made me a bit confused. How can I call myself the best?
It sounds to me a bit stupid when I introduce myself as:
Jeroen Rosink: Test coordinator, agile tester, test architect, test consultant, test analyst, Software tester, Test Idiot.

I think other people already lost me. Perhaps we might have to go back to the basics.
1. Tell people what you are: e.g. Software tester
If there is room for further clarification you can continue explaining:

2. What your specialties are: e.g. Coordination in Agile project
3. What your knowledge is about: e.g. Test strategies, Test techniques, Functional testing
4. Skills: e.g. TMap, ISTQB, Context Driven Testing, Embedded environments, Web based applications, aso.

Only now I wonder if going back to these basics is enough, sufficient? Does it tells enough? Does it bring us what we need, or better what the customer needs?

If we go along this way we are on the edge of introducing more certifications as every one wants to be recognized by its specialism. At least it might simplify the way you can introduce your selves. It could be: Jeroen Rosink: 10 out of 21 certifications (assuming that there is already this many certifications related to software testing).

Only does this number tell anything? Imagine you have to explain what you do for living to an outsider. I always tell proudly that I'm a software tester and I test software. Although people don't understand that, I'm sure they can picture it. At least it is better understood then Test Analyst or Test constructor.

So perhaps you, reader can explain it to me why are we intending to make things so difficult? Or do you have other examples about roles in our field of expertise?

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