I was recently reading one of blog post of Parimala Shankaraiah . Sharing some thoughts regarding one of the points she raised-
I interviewed one person on telephone recently where I asked him to test a marker he claimed to have in his hand. He was shocked, “What? Test a marker?” He intended to say “Do you mean I’ll be testing markers in your organization?”
In my opinion, this reflects a larger problem we are faced with. Something that backtracks to the level of Software testing education in colleges. None of the colleges that i have visited seems to have deep or should i say any insights in Software testing as a profession. There is a disappointing narrow-mindedness that i have seen. The college staff who supervise the projects, do not encourage the students to take the testing projects. This happened in one of the colleges that i recently visited and also have observed this in past many times.
The reason i am mentioning my experience here is that even before the future Software engineers join the Industry the seeds of Job profiling or creating distinction are sown in their minds. And as a natural progression, it gets carried forward when these people join the Industry. Even though, such people will join Software testing as a field but will think "Automation" as a superior job than testing using mind. The basic premise that "If you are not coding, you are not being productive" is actually ingrained in the minds while they are still studying.
Gartner report of 2008 suggested Software Testing as a 14 billion dollar industry, which is only going to be moving in upward direction considering the advent of recent technologies including Cloud, Virtualization, mobile devices etc. coming up in a big way. What bigger proof do the institutions need about the viability and future of this profession. Have tried spreading the message of Software testing as a viable career choice with some success in colleges that I visited but I think the problem to solve here is changing the mind-set of people which is not possible entirely in one meaningful presentation.
We probably need more Software Testing Evangelists so that we get more new talent who join the profession by "choice" rather than by "chance".
Do share across your thoughts on how to solve this in a longer run.
Update on 14th-July-2010
If you were like me, you would too have this question that i asked my friend some time back. How do one become an Evangelist ?
I find the below exceprt from The Greatness Guide: Powerful Secrets for Getting to World Class by Rohin Sharma quite close to answering this question-
Being an "evangelist" has negative connotations in the world we reside in. But an evangelist, by definition, is simply someone who spreads good news. Its someone who get stuck on a big idea or a passionate cause and then walks out into his day and spreads the message like a virus. Its someone who gets so engaged in doing something important that its all he thinks about, dreams about, talks about. Its a human being who understands- at a cellular level- what Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he said:
"If you have not discovered something you are willing to die for, then you are not fit to live."
So, now what do you think about becoming Software Testing Evangelist ?