We recently came across an interesting article touting the benefits of higher education. And we couldn’t be more supportive of this idea. Knowledge is power.
The writer went on and made a distinction between university graduates and those who only finish the same courses but in a college. Specifically he referred to computer sciences and engineering.

We’re not sure about that. It does look like it often makes sense to recruit university graduates over others. Perhaps. But the article went on to make a series of outlandish claims that we can summarize as follows:

As a college graduate in IT, the best you can hope for is a job in quality assurance. Becoming a software developer would be next to impossible.

The underlying assumption behind this statement is that software testing is somehow inferior to or less rigorous than software development.

And it turns out that this is a widespread belief. In fact, we even wrote an article some time ago about how quality assurance is often seen as a career stepping stone instead of a true profession.

How could so many IT professionals buy into this absurd belief?

Well, one potential reason is the relative absence of college-level and universities courses dedicated to QA and software testing. There should be more academic opportunities in this field – and we’re actively trying to help create them. But at present, most of us follow a very indirect path to this profession.

However, make no mistake.

Software testers play an invaluable role in the software industry. And without us testers, the world would be a very different place.

Don’t believe us?

Read on.

The True Value of Software Testing – a Look at the Numbers

Imagine a world in which testers didn’t exist. Just think about how buggy, frustrating, and vulnerable every product would be.

This would obviously be bad for end-users. But it would potentially be even worse for the software industry as a whole. In today’s unforgiving climate, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Moreover, these drawbacks will only increase exponentially as we become more dependent on the “Internet of Things” in our hyper-connected world.

Still not convinced?

Then just look at the numbers.

Quality assurance testing represents 80% of total software development costs. Companies wouldn’t invest resources like that if they didn’t receive value in return.

It’s just simple mathematics.

Software testing is clearly a critical piece of the total puzzle. Some might even argue that this “piece” is 4 times larger than traditional development. Remember that software firms spend at a ratio of 4:1 when it comes to testing vs. development.

So the question is, how do we adjust people’s perceptions so they match up more closely with reality?

By far, the most effective strategy would be an industry-world-wide strike of testers around the globe. It wouldn’t take long to feel the sting of our collective absence.

This would be the nuclear option.

But there are also less drastic, and more serious, solutions we could explore.

Software Testers As Ambassadors of Quality… and Assurance

Below are a just a few of the strategies we could use to ensure our contributions receive the recognition they deserve.

1. Continuous Learning
Whether there are college-level courses or not, education should be a lifelong journey. You start losing ground the moment you stop learning.

2. Being Super Professional
Professionalism is essential – whether you’re job hunting, interviewing, or working on live projects. Remember that you’re not just representing yourself. You’re representing all of us.

3. Sharing Your Knowledge
Because there aren’t many higher education opportunities in our field, it’s important that you help other testers improve their craft by freely sharing the methodologies, tools, and learning resources that helped you succeed.

4. Improving Communication
Soliciting and sharing feedback is also critical to success. So never hesitate to start conversations with end-users, developers, and fellow testers. Communication is always a good thing for everyone involved.

By directing our resources to the above areas, the message will get out. This process will take time. Anything worth doing usually does.

But each of us must act as ambassadors who educate others on the value and importance of what we do.

Have you ever had your own contributions dismissed by outsiders who know little of quality assurance? If so, share your experiences in the comments down below.