Pro’s and Con’s of Becoming a Software Tester
In this blog we break down some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a software tester, to help you make an educated decision about whether it’s the right career for you.
First of all, let's start with the good stuff! Some of these are a little subjective but we’ve tried to be as objective as possible.
In 2019 the global software testing market was worth over $40 billion U.S dollars and this is projected to increase by at least 6% over the next 6 years. This means that the industry is incredibly stable for those looking for financial or job stability. Whilst the challenges that Covid-19 has thrown at all markets across the world have still been felt, there has been an increase in software needs as people have had to work, learn, and live at home. This has meant that compared to many industries, software companies have continued to expand and thrive despite the harsh economic conditions that many in the world now face.
Reasonable Entry Requirements
Unlike a lot of other roles within the software industry, you don’t have to have lots of experience or qualifications to start in the industry. We discuss what you do need in more detail in our blog about starting a career in software testing.
Most companies have junior roles that are relatively accessible to those starting in the testing industry. Interviewers are often looking for someone with an interest in software, who has foundation skills that can be moulded to make a great tester. If you have programming experience or other relevant technical skills, then you will find it easier to start in the industry, however these aren’t essential. As long as you can illustrate that you’re able and willing to learn the necessary skills, then you will be appealing to an employer.
Software is continually evolving, and this means that as a tester your skills need to be constantly adapting too. Not only will you need to learn new skills when you start, you’ll need to add to your testing arsenal throughout your career; developing new approaches and techniques, to help improve your efficiency as a tester. This will keep you on your toes, but also keep software testing new and exciting for you, no matter how long you’ve been working in the industry.
This last advantage is more subjective, however if you’re reading this blog, we’re assuming that you’re interested in software and technology. One of the coolest parts of working in this industry is that you get visibility of new software and hardware before it’s released. This may be the latest VR headset or a fun new app that will be coming to the market. Getting your hands on this stuff before others is a really great perk of the job.
To add to this, even in your day to day as a software tester, you will have those awesome moments where you find an unusual bug or overcome a technical limitation.These will feel like big wins, making the more challenging moments worth every frustration.
Next up we have our disadvantages of being a software tester. Now remember these aren’t set in stone and many companies will work towards trying to reduce these potential drawbacks as much as possible. They do come down to personal preference as well, and you might find that on a personal level they’re not a disadvantage for you.
Some of the testing tasks you carry out will feel monotonous, you may be testing the same feature for a long period of time or have to write lots of information about a test. Remember that in every job there is a task or two that people dislike and wish wasn’t part of their job description. Luckily in a lot of instances for us, we can cheat and use tools or automation scripts to do the repetitive tasks for us, but you may still have a few repetitive tasks to undertake on occasion.
This next disadvantage is the flipside of continuous learning opportunities. Due to technology changing at a rapid pace, you will have to constantly develop your skills. This means that you cannot become complacent if you’re wanting to remain competitive on the job market. For those of you who enjoy learning, this won’t be a problem as there will always be something new for you to learn. However if you’re the type of person who wants to put in some effort at the beginning, then sit back and relax, you may find it difficult to stay ahead of the curve.
Another potential drawback of a career in software testing, is that it can be difficult. You will find yourself coming up against quite complicated problems that are difficult to solve, particularly as you start working on more technical skill sets.
For some people this is brilliant, it keeps them on their toes and helps keep them interested in the software they’re testing; not to mention the ‘winning’ feeling when you solve a difficult puzzle is incredibly satisfying and a little bit addictive. However if you’re the type of person who is impatient or going to give up when you face a complex problem, then you may struggle to have the perseverance needed to make a career out of testing software.
Like many roles in the software development industry, when major deadlines are imminent, we tend to find the hours we’re working get longer and the amount of stress we’re under increases. This won’t be 100% of the time but it’s important to be aware that around those deadlines the amount of work you have to do will ramp up. You won’t be alone in this, as everyone in your team will be in the same position. However it may mean that you’ll be putting in some extra hours and are likely to have your manager checking in more regularly, to make sure that all the boxes are being ticked.
Software testing is not the right career for everyone; however it can also be an incredibly rewarding and interesting industry to work in. If you’d like more information on what to expect from a career in software testing, check out our other blogs or sign up for our ‘Beginners Guide to Software Testing’ course, to get a taste of what Software Testing is all about.