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About me as a test engineer

November 18, 2014

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I am concerned, really concerned. My name is Samuel Ferrer and I have a long career as software developer. I have been working as programmer and architect for more than 20 years, on a wide variety of technologies, ranging from industrial systems att ABB, to common things as point of sale software.

Some agent told me once that my CV is scary, because I have done so many things. Actually he told me that I should not write that much in my CV, because it looks faked … but is not! Some other agent asked me why I wanted to move away from  development and, instead decided to focus on testing. Unfortunately those are people whose tasks are to find jobs for me, but don’t have a clue about what software testing is.

Regarding IEEE

“Software testing is the process of analyzing a software item to detect the differences between existing and required conditions (that is, bugs) and to evaluate the features of the software item”

 Software testing stopped being a separated process from development itself many years ago (1987 Tandem systems). Today testing is embedded into the fabric of software development, yet embracing a completely different skill set, although “a test developer must have the same technical expertise as would be required of an equivalent product developer” [Mary Alexander, Keith Stobie, 1988]. 
 
 A capable test developer is a developer with many years of experiencing both failure and success, and has the ability to learn fast and efficiently any product under any circumstance, under pressure. A test developer, at least, is responsible for the quality of the development process as well as the product developed. What consumers see on the market is not the end effect of a developer, but of an effective or very incompetent test engineer. 
 
When I engaged in the study of test engineering, I had my doubts about the role as a tester. I thought of it as a person looking eagerly for bugs and then making nasty remarks in the reports, keeping the development team on its guard. As a result bugs were carefully hidden and potential problems were never warned by the members of the team. This was the picture I had of a tester or QA personell as it is called … until now.
 
In fact, testing is an art (I would say a fine art) rather than a academically defined science, and a tester is a computer scientist with wide knowledge about many things (psychology among them), an open minded person who is considered enough to appreciate the dark reality of a software developer: nobody gives a damn about their late nights and bad dreams, but only about their unfortunate mistakes.
 
 So, next time CVs of old experienced developers end up in your inbox and you disregard them, think again; you might be overlooking an important quality in testers: experienced and adventured developer who never gives up.
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