Where Are All the Great Software Testers?
Due to the critical nature of software in our lives, we’re all aware of the need for more software testing expertise. The good news is that the IT industry continues to need skilled software testing roles; the downside for hiring managers is that those with deep experience in software testing are becoming more difficult to find.
A few people have inquired about how to find great software testers—in particular, more senior software engineers who can effectively carry out roles such as test architect, senior test automator, or senior test designer.
Often, the people you want to hire are the ones who are gainfully employed. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part you're not going to find these team members posting their resumes on job sites. Secondly, this is not a task you can delegate to your HR team—at least not without some coaching and continual involvement.
In my experience, finding great senior people is all about relationships, relationships, relationships. Here are my suggestions for identifying qualified and experienced software engineers who can deliver on senior testing role accountabilities.
Be visible in the right communities. These steps get you engaged in professional networking about software testing.
- Develop a realistic job description for the defined role, and be specific about the knowledge and experience you are looking for.
- Network with your peers.
- Participate in subject-matter blogs and online communities. Contribute posts and take a look at those who write posts.
- Attend testing conferences so you can network, see the people giving sessions, tutorials, and keynotes, and post your job openings.
- Post your openings on LinkedIn and make connections with others.
Grow your own employees. This approach focuses on promoting from within and providing growth opportunities to those already in your organization.
- Identify prospective candidates within your organization. Look across key departments such as development, the architecture team, the business team, and the existing testing team.
- A test architect may be the next step for a senior tester or senior developer. A senior test designer role might be a good fit for an existing senior business analyst.
- Mentor, coach, and train. Get candidates through the appropriate testing courses and software testing certification if this is of value to your organization.
- Define a specific accelerated personal development and training plan for those individuals.
Hire an interim expert. This allows you to get critical work completed while securing a permanent team member.
- You can hire a temporary consultant as a test architect, senior test automator, or senior test designer and have them train a candidate on your existing team.
- A temporary consultant also can assist you with developing the job description, plugging you into the right communities, and locating or even interviewing candidates.
Finding qualified people to fill certain software testing roles may be challenging, but the rewards will be apparent when they contribute to the improved quality of your applications and systems.