I happened across Why testers? by Joel Spolsky at the weekend. Written back in 2010, and – if we’re being sceptical – perhaps a kind of honeytrap for Fog Creek’s tester recruitment process, it has some memorable lines, including:
what testers are supposed to do … is evaluate new code, find the good things, find the bad things, and give positive and negative reinforcement to the developers.
Otherwise it’s depressing to be a programmer. Here I am, typing away, writing all this awesome code, and nobody cares.
you really need very smart people as testers, even if they don’t have relevant experience. Many of the best testers I’ve worked with didn’t even realize they wanted to be testers until someone offered them the job.
The job advert that the post points at is still there and reinforces the focus on testing as a service to developers and the sentiments about feedback, although it looks like, these days, they do require test experience.
It’s common to hear testers say that they “fell into testing” and I’ve offered jobs to, and actually managed to recruit from, non-tester roles. On the back of reading Spolsky’s blog I tweeted this:
#Testers, one tweet please. What did you do before testing? What’s the most significant difference (in any respect) between that and now?
— James Thomas (@qahiccupps) February 18, 2017
And, while it’s a biased and also self-selected sample (to those who happen to be close enough to me in the Twitter network, and those who happened to see it in their timeline, and those who cared to respond) which has no statistical validity, I enjoyed reading the responses and wondering about patterns.
Please feel free to add your own story about the years BT (Before Testing) to either the thread or the comments here.