Thursday, November 12, 2009

My First "Real Job" Was in QA, or, Testing Despair

Coming out of school, trained as a software/web developer, my first job was working as a Quality Assurance Specialist for a local web company, non~linear creations.  It was a pretty good job (though it was in 2000-2001, just as the tech bubble was about to burst), and I enjoyed working in QA.

My career has taken a few turns since then, and it is highly unlikely that I'll ever be a tester again... and considering the current state of my inbox and voicemail, that's probably a good thing.

We currently have an opportunity for a tester.  I have a lot of applicants.  I have a lot of applicants following up.  I have a lot applicants following up a lot.  In the past 18 months, I haven't had a lot of opportunities for testers, so I don't know if this situation is typical, or if it emblematic of the struggles that testers are having in the current job market.

My gut feeling is that when companies fall on hard times, the QA department is one of the first to go (often after the recruiting department).  You can have your developers test each other's work, and considering that there might not be a whole lot of business coming in, they'll probably have the time to do that.  Consequently, testers are seen as redundant.

This would make a lot of sense, but it won't, necessarily, be good for the long term health of a company.  Just as the particular expertise that recruiters offer is valuable, so, too, is the particular expertise offered by testers.

By the way, if my old boss at non~linear is any indication, being a professional musician offers more job security than being in QA.

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