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Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

January 22, 2022

Career Options For Testers Unsure What They Can Do Next In Their Careers.

During a recent assured.com Twitter Space, I heard a question along these lines:

"I've been a manual tester for 5 years, and I'm wondering what I can do next?"

Before I get into that, what even is a tester?

What could go wrong?

There are so many definitions of software testing! They're all concerned with answering the question "What could go wrong here?". There are three perspectives to consider to answer that:

  • People

  • Technology

  • Business

By exploring those perspectives, we build a picture that helps us understand what could go wrong. We do that by asking questions like:

  • What problem are we trying to solve for what people?

  • Who is building this solution?

  • What technology are they using to build it?

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the tech?

  • How do we make money from solving this problem?

  • How do we deliver the product or service to our customers?

Which is a long-winded way of saying testers and quality folks have A LOT of options!!!!!

Now let's answer the actual question 😊 !

Focus on people.

Here's a variety of people focused roles:

  • Test Lead

  • Head of Quality

  • Engineering Manager

  • Quality Coach

  • Accessibility tester

  • UX Designer

  • Product Designer

  • Business Analyst

Focus on technology.

Here are some technology-focused roles:

  • SDET

  • Senior Tester

  • Test Architect

  • Performance Tester

  • Security Tester

  • Developer

  • Architect

Focus business.

These are business focused roles:

  • Quality Engineer

  • Tester

  • Agile Coach

  • Testing Consultant

  • VP of x

  • CxO

What are you drawn to?

There are no rules on where to focus. You can specialise in one area, generalise across all three or any combination of two. In all honesty, every role has aspects of all three, but the emphasis changes.

Also, remember, where I put these roles is very subjective. Ask 10 people how they would do it, and you'll get at least 11 different answers! So please, please don't get hung up on that 🙏🏾 .

As such, "what can I do next?" is a deeply personal question. Where do your strengths and interests lead you? What are your short, medium and long term goals and how does pursuing this role help you achieve them versus that role?