The Future of Software Testing

This post is part of the Ministry of Testing Bloggers Club, the August topic is “The Future Of The Tester Role”.

I will give you a brief insight into my Past and Present as a Software Tester, and make some predictions for my future. Will this translate into the future for others? I guess we will have to wait and see.

The Past

Like many, I started my career in a team of Testers, in my case the System 1 test team at Citrix. Over the course of my 5 years at Citrix, we transition from a central team with director level line-management to a distributed team.

We still had a Test Manager, who was my line manager. What did change is that I moved from working in a central team, to working directly with a team, alongside developers. We started to adopt Agile ceremonies, such as stand-ups, backlog grooming, story point poker estimations, yes my friends, we did an “Agile Transformation”. Fun times.

While I gained in closeness to the Developers, I also lost out, as previously I had been able to do a lot of pair working in the test team, now I was a lone Tester among Devs.

After Citrix, I had a number of other roles and titles. I did a stint as a Quality Manager, where I managed people and testing at a small consultancy. I picked up a year and half experience almost exclusively writing test automation, again in a team with devs, this time they paired with me, I leaned a lot but I wasn’t able to influence meaningful change.

The Present

Presently, I am a Quality Engineer at Ada Health. I’m working in a backend team, alongside developers and another tester. I also get to get involved in wider projects across the group, and the org.

I’m finding it a very challenging, and fulfilling learning experience having been removed from some of the constraints that had been holding me back in past roles. I am no longer tied down to a central team, nor is my scope limited to my direct team. I have the opportunity to influence at multiple levels and I’m encouraged and supported to contribute to the wider community.

I’m also thrilled to be able to learn from an amazing group of fellow Quality Engineers at Ada, their joint level of experience is exceptional and they share knowledge gladly.

I’m well aware it’s a privilege to work in such a role, and I hope more and more people get the opportunity to move into such roles if they want them in the future.

The Future, for me

So, what is my future looking like? Well, currently I have a very broad range of skills, some deep and some shallow. And I want to grow in multiple dimensions, I want to pick up more specialisations, such as Security, and go deeper with some of my shallow skills like Performance testing.

Ultimately, the more I mature into my career the more I realise it’s all about the people. The people I work with, and support directly in my role. The people who use the software that my team creates, internally, and then people who ultimately use our products.

As such, my main growth area for the future, is to further focused on my impact on people, using my technical skills as a foundation to make this possible.

What might this look like?

  • Deeper exploration, with more concise summaries and debriefs
  • Focus on definitive, actionable information discovery
  • Teaching and Coaching others, so they can make use of testing skills themselves
  • Testing beyond code, working closer with product to make sure we build the right thing

The Future, for the role

My predictions for the role of the Software Tester in the future, let’s say 5-10 years scale:

  • Tooling and frameworks will continue to reduce the need for some parts of testing
  • Developers will be expected to pick up more testing skills and do more testing
  • Experienced Testers will be expected to work across multiple teams
  • As test automation gets easier with better tooling, and testers get more experienced, the lines between Tester and Dev blur further
  • Exploratory Testing grows in popularity as a compliment to automation, and scripted step-based testing is limited in regulated industries and those orgs who traditionally move slower
  • Due to the cyclical nature of the industry, centralised test teams make comeback

When is a Tester, Not a Tester

If you enjoyed this post, you might like another one I wrote a little while back:

https://www.dowen.me.uk/when-is-a-tester-not-a-tester/

Written on August 13, 2022