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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Career in software testing

Career in software testing

   Industry analyst firm Gartner has pegged the worldwide software testing market at $13 billion and the global market for outsourced testing services to be around $6.1 billion, of which India is expected to garner a 70% share. Software testing implies checking any IT system prior to implementation for multiple aspects like functionality, reliability, usability, security, compliance and performance. While software services are growing at an average of about 10-12% globally, testing is growing at over 50% every year.


There has been a significant growth in off shoring of software testing to India. The average deal size for an outsourced testing project a few years ago was about $50,000-60,000, requiring a few testers. It has now grown to about $2-4 million per project.
   According to Gartner, India will require around 18,000 testing professionals every year over the next three years to fulfill the demand seen in the software testing market.


Good analytical skills, communication skills and an excellent learning curve are the prerequisites. People, once on-the-job, need to develop a combination of business (domain) knowledge, technical skills and testing techniques. Besides technical skills, soft skills are equally important. One needs to know the 3Rs of testing — reading, writing and arithmetic. There is also a basic requirement for literacy. One needs to know the 3Rs, which means that they should have the ability to read and understand, write and communicate and calculate and display with tables and charts. Communication is essential and the more clear and honest it is, the better it is.
   As far as Bachelor’s and Master’s programme in the testing discipline is concerned, no such course is offered by any Indian university. However, an encouraging trend is that some of the universities and colleges have introduced a full paper on software testing in their curriculum. Internationally, many US and European universities provide Master’s programmes in software testing, the prominent ones bein0g Florida Institute of Technology and Villanova Institute of Technology among others.


Salaries of test engineers, both at fresher and experienced level, are at par with development professions. Remunerations for testers are getting better and better with growing experience. However, there is a word of caution: one should refrain from changing jobs, in the hope of better salaries, in the beginning years and instead should concentrate on learning as much as possible. Once they gain enough experience and exposure, good packages are bound to follow. In fact for people with experience, the pay scales of test engineers sometimes exceeds similar development profiles dues to shortage of specialised test professionals.


The testing services industry is not completely isolated from the problems faced by general IT services companies. The general economic slow down will definitely affect software-testing industry as well. At a few places it has started affecting, at others it might be seen few months later. Usually, ongoing projects are not scrapped so it may not see a sudden downfall. But once these projects are over, we really have to wait and watch for new jobs. Slowdown might have an impact on IT companies in the services sector. But due to the fact that quality of software is of paramount importance in these difficult times, the focus on cost effective testing will increase.
   Testing is a profession, which requires considerable learning and technical skills. The person aspiring to be a professional should have the capability to understand business and technology. The Indian Testing Board is the premier body for giving testing certifications in India. It provides the internationally recognised International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) certification, which is the ideal stepping-stone for aspirants.


1 comment:

  1. A career in software testing is clearly not for everyone, but for the right people it offers tremendous opportunity. STC Technologies


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