In this post, I will try to provide answer what services software tester could offer. I see a lot of job ads that seek for software tester that can code. Noting wrong with that fact, but the trap is that you will most likely hire developer that is very good at using some of the testing frameworks (jUnit, watir-webdriver,…), popularly called software developer in test. You will not get tester. Tester that will question your team about the product to the bone and give you real information about it. And you will not probably like what you would hear.

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Here is one example. Provider that hosts DNS entry for my company domain is using cPanel software. Nothing unusual with that fact. After I paid for their service, I received email with my username, generated password, and link for logging into cPanel portal. I logged in and immediately reset my password. I was surprised that I received again new password in my inbox. I checked the cPanel notification settings and turned off default email password change notification setting. This is not satisfactory, because I still want to be notified when my password had been changed (e.g. by hacker using CSRF attack) with email that does not contain new password.

Software developer in test would automate that scenario using web automation framework, it would also develop helper method for accessing inbox using SMTP protocol. He would even think that he achieved 100% automation. He would make scenario independent of test data and repeatable execution. But he would miss some important alternative scenarios and would not question application behavior.

Software tester would run that scenario using his eyes, brain and fingers (more appropriate description than manual test execution). He would point out to project manager that welcome email does not contain suggestion that password should be changed immediately after first login, that email contains plain password and that new password was again sent out in email.
He would start its own investigation about email notification settings and notify project manager that password change notification setting should be turned off by default. Software tester would try that scenario in comparable product that is major player in that market and clearly communicate its findings (he would probably find out that other products use link with one time token for password change).

We have several options: to hire software developer in test, to hire software tester or to hire them both. My suggestion is to hire software tester and create internally software developer in test. Great software developer would love to learn new frameworks. He and new software tester would become a great software team!