Do you ever worry about the future of your testing career?
Are you asking yourself sometimes if you are doing the right things?
Do you have a feeling that you should make changes soon but you don't know which ones to start with?
If the future of your testing career worries you, there are signs that indicate if it is in danger.
1. YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY FINDING A NEW JOB
The first 6 months of a new job are exciting. You learn new things about the company, the team, the development process and the applications to be tested.
After a while, everything you do becomes as familiar as your name. You know your tasks so well that you can do them with your eyes closed. Nothing excites you any longer so you decide that it is time to move on and find another job.
You update your resume and start applying to new job opportunities. Sometimes you get invited to interviews, other times you don't. A few months passed since you started to look for a new job and you are still looking.
Not finding fast a new job is a signal that something is not going well with your testing career.
Why can't you find another job?
Maybe because ............
2. SCRIPTED TESTING IS ALL YOU KNOW
Manual testing was very popular until a few years ago. The SDLC process was a waterfall with phases that were more or less distinct and sequential (requirements, development, testing, release). Developers did not care much about if the code really works so this fell onto manual testers.
But things changed. Due to the Agile processes, the focus is now to develop features quickly and deploy them frequently. Creating requirements, development and testing happen fast and sometimes in parallel. There is no time for creating detailed requirements and test cases. The tester has to learn fast how the application is supposed to work, execute exploratory testing, find important bugs of the application and report them to the development team.
If your testing is still based on creating and executing detailed test cases, this is another sign of potential career problems.
The tester should do exploratory instead of scripted testing, be creative, think outside the box, test like a user, use lateral thinking and exploratory testing tours.
Being very good at exploratory testing is great. But it is often difficult to differentiate yourself from other manual testers, maybe not as good as yourself.
If you don't stand out from other testers, you may not be able to find another job so your testing career will suffer.
Not standing out from your competition is not helping your career at all.
It is difficult to stand out when ....
3. YOU KNOW ONLY ONE TYPE OF TESTING
I asked many times IT recruiters what type of testers companies hire.
The answer was very consistent. Most companies want testers that can wear multiple hats, are technical, can do test automation, know a programming language.
And they can cook spaghetti bolognese and speak Italian. Just kidding.
Why are companies so demanding?
Because the more things a tester knows, the more value he adds to the project. If the tester can not only test but also act as business analyst, do customer support, participate in code reviews, write test automation scripts, create unit tests, he is much more valuable than another tester than just does functional testing,
Being a versatile tester is not only more useful for the company but also for your career.
You can target manual testing jobs but also test automation, performance testing, api testing, hybrid testing roles too.
If you focus on one type of testing only, the prospects for future jobs are very limited.
But, how can you find the time to learn all these new skills? And who will provide the training? And what should you learn?
4. YOU ARE NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR TRAINING
No one will provide the training that you need for growing your career except yourself.
If you are waiting for someone else to train you, your career wont be any better than it is today.
The person that can solve all your problems is the one that looks at you when you are in front of the mirror.
Few companies offer training programs to testers these days. And if they do, the courses are for skills that the company needs which may be different from what you need .
To keep your career afloat, you need to take responsibility for what you learn, how you learn and how to find the time for learning.
5. YOU ARE KEEPING THE SAME TESTING JOB FOR A LONG TIME
There are companies out there where you can work for a long time and have a very rewarding experience. You may be able from time to time to move between projects or departments or even change job titles.
But, if you work on the same product for a few years, do the same testing and within the same team, chances are that you stopped improving yourself a long time ago.
And if there is one thing that shows that your career may not have a future, this is the one: you are not learning new things every day.