Last week was really memorable. I had a long and passionate discussion with one of our product engineering customers about providing a long-term and meaningful career path for testing professionals.
Jenifer (shadowed name of the customer), with very clear thoughts, first spoke about how the career path is implemented in her organization. She felt that a separate career path is required for testing professionals and there are roles at different levels in the field of testing. In her organization:
- All the testers start with technical hands-on experience
- They start their career by performing manual test execution
- Then they acquire skills such as test automation and testing techniques to save time while not compromising on the quality of testing
- After a few years, the testers start to develop or design test cases
- While performing these activities, they understand the end-user and the technologies involved
- Gradually, they move towards test planning and test architecture
- They would have spent five to seven years by the time they reach this stage
At this point, based on the need of the organization and their capabilities, they choose between a managerial and a technical role.
- Technical role – Focuses on test architecture, framework development, performance testing, security testing, deployment testing, field testing and so on
- Managerial role – Focuses on managing different testing projects and then grow to become senior engineering managers
The discussion was very interesting, especially in the context of what we are trying to accomplish at Mindtree. After an exercise spanning more than a year, the testing group is ready to roll out a career path for all testing professionals in the organization. Our model is slightly different though; you progress through the different stages in the first five to seven years, being a hands-on testing mind. You are encouraged to achieve many internal and external certifications. When you are about to become a Test Lead, an assessment will expose your strengths in all the relevant skills related to testing.
Based on this assessment and the organizational need, you will be encouraged to pursue a specialist or managerial career path. Being a specialist, you have an option to focus either on functionality or testing technology. Irrespective of the path you choose, there will be very senior roles available based on your contribution and performance.
I will be grateful for any comments on our initiative. I would love to get feedback from people working in the IT Services industry.
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