Career Paths And Testing

When you’re advancing your career in testing it’s easy to get sucked in to the lure of big titles like Test Manager, Programmer Manager etc, especially if your using some of the mainstream “career path” guidance tools. The offer of a test manager role might seem like an attractive offer compared to a “test engineer” or something like that. However, apply caution, in my experience most test managers I’ve known have done little other than manage artifacts (test cases). A role title does not accurately reflect the role.

Use your own judgment when you’re applying for roles with big titles. Someone I know is a Test Manager….of himself (and some test cases).

I know a Director of Test who manages a team of 2 testers (and lots of regression test cases).

I know someone who works for a test manager. This test manager manages a team of 45 testers doing nothing but regression testing. The team keeps growing but the testing is not changing. By all accounts he’s hiring people and getting them to manage a load of test cases. Is this test management – I guess so.

After fulfilling your basic needs like salary, location and any other contextual needs I’d suggest to try to find a job that challenges you, not a job that gives you a so called “career path” title.

Find a job that challenges everything you thought you knew about testing. Find a job that provides you with an environment you’ll thrive in. Try to find a job that is modern and relevant. Try to find a job that let’s you think…and gives you room to breathe.

Try to find a job that blows your socks off. And don’t worry too much about what you’ll be called.

Oh yeah – Did I mention I was hiring for a solid tester who likes a monumental challenge?

Oh yeah – I also write a book called Remaining Relevant about how to find those great jobs, get the skills you need and then rock an interview. You can buy it here on LeanPub

Recruiting is still hard work

I’m recruiting again. It’s still hard work.

I figured I would share a little about the roles I have open.

2013-10-07 12.17.39

This time I’m looking for:

A tester with the confidence and skills to take on an epic challenge of working in a fast paced team who have a laser beam focus on delivering to live very very frequently. Most of the “checking” is taken care of by automated tests. As a tester on this team you’ll be involved in writing the Behaviour Driven Development “Gherkin”, pairing with the devs to get the product under test and then exploring the delivered features/stories/product.

The product is insanely good and is generating a real buzz around the office, and the industry. It rocks and it’s going to get bigger and better. As a tester you’ll need to move fast, be pragmatic, fight for your thoughts and beliefs, accept that you might not always be right, look for creative ways to test the product, push your exploratory testing skills further, work alongside a freakin brilliant exploratory tester, use your brain (not a test case) and deliver week after week. None of this turning up to work to tick boxes on a test case. If you find yourself doing that you’ve got something wrong, or confused your responsibilities. (okay – occasionally there may be one or two test cases…)

What do you get in return?

Haven’t I sold it enough already?

Okay here goes:

  • Mentoring from a number of hero grade testers. You’ll find a style and an approach that suits you.
  • Training and mentoring on testing in an lean-agile context.
  • Weekly then Fortnightly 1:2:1s with your manager (most likely me) – this is a great way of remaining on the right path and getting help. No yearly 360 review to find out whether you’re on track or not.
  • An opportunity to put down the test case and open your mind.
  • Training courses provided on topics such as programming, presentation skills, exploratory testing, scrum master approaches, communication skills, security testing, performance testing, etc
  • A huge library of books, online resources and other learning sources
  • Weekly coding / testing meetings and katas.
  • Opportunity to attend conferences and events like UKTMF, SIGIST, Test Bash, International Conferences.
  • Opportunity to find a virtual cross cut team to suit your ambitions (security, performance, test automation, testing, scrum master)
  • Table football, xBox, social events, sports events
  • ShipIt days


Here’s a video of what it’s like to work here.

So what do you say? If you can work in the Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK office and want to become part of a rapidly growing development team then drop me a DM on twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn or email me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.