Software Testing is not for Attention Seekers.

What a bold statement!

Let me explain.

As a broad generalisation, I feel that testing is only noticed when someone (the tester) has messed up. A few months ago I had a pretty open conversation with a workmate on how they felt unappreciated and undervalued. After all, when code goes into production and all goes well – usually one doesn’t applaud the tester for finding all of the bugs and helping improve the software quality by communicating information about it (before going live).

I really could relate to my workmate as I recall many times where my input into a project seemed to be forgotten or ignored. Some code would go live, which I tested vigorously, and then only the developer would be mentioned. This happened in both team-wide forums and tools you could use to give “kudos” to someone.

It’s a bit weird being in a profession where the metric on which you base my success is probably going to be you not realising the role of a tester exists.

To elaborate:
Let’s say you’re buying airline tickets online. You first select your Departure City by entering three or more characters, then selecting your city based from the dropdown list that subsequently appears. Afterwards you go to the Arrival City field and do the same thing.
There are two (of many) ways this could possibly pan out.

  1. The Arrival city field dropdown is only populated with cities to which you can fly from the Departure City. You then continue to select dates and make a purchase. (You probably don’t even think in one step of the process of a tester’s role in this).
  2. The Arrival City field dropdown list is populated with every city (including ones you cannot fly to from your Departure City), you select one of the ‘unsupported’ cities and get an error on the next page. Something only these lines crossed your mind: “Who tested this? Why didn’t they think of this?”

Now I strongly believe that you shouldn’t be in profession if you’re in it solely for the attention (unless you’re a star on Broadway). I, for one, struggle even to have people sing happy birthday to me and find myself staring at the ceiling or the floor as if it was the most fascinating thing in the world. But I’m still getting used to the fact that most people don’t even acknowledge the presence of my profession. Actually, should I have to get used to this?