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1,000+ QA professionals share their worries and outlook in Practitest’s State of Testing 2021 report.

Practitest, creators of an end-to-end management platform, earlier released its 2021 State of Testing Report. It’s the eighth iteration of an annual survey examining the practices and challenges of software Quality Assurance (QA) professionals around the world, with input from 1,000+ mid-senior to senior-level QA engineers and test leads.

 

Here’s what we’ve learned and what we think about it:

 

In 2021, the average number of testers per organization grew worldwide. 

While it’s still the norm to have 2-5 testers per company, the study’s year-on-year data shows a slightly higher percentage of organizations with 16-50 testers. In addition, more companies are realizing that testing is not a task to split between developers and other team members, and are beginning to let more testers do all the testing.

Our two cents:

One possible explanation is that the increasingly complex nature of today’s software products requires more testing than what developers can commit to their own code. Beyond testing, working with a dedicated QA team can save them time and energy that can otherwise be poured into new builds or projects.


 

Communication skills ranked the highest among necessary skills.

A whopping 78% of respondents tagged it as “very important” to succeed. They also value backgrounds in functional testing automation and scripting, API testing, and web technologies testing.

Our two cents:

Technical background and platform experience are a given, but the ability to connect with the people they work with is just as crucial to the work of testers and QA engineers. It is a collective effort to make a good product and improving a piece of software entails several rounds of back-and-forth. They need to be able to effectively convey recommendations to the development team and avoid miscommunication that could lead to unnecessary conflict.


 

In terms of growth, QA professionals are more interested in moving up as managers in the practice than switching to programming.

Five years from now, 46% of the surveyed see themselves as either continuing as a tester or becoming a testing manager while 19% are hoping to still be in the field on a consulting basis. Only 5% said they wish to become a programmer or programming lead. The rest are divided between uncertainty, switching to a business role, and retirement.

Our two cents:

There is longevity to the QA profession. It’s not just a stepping stone into software development for many QA engineers and testers but a vocation that they could see themselves grow in. This means that when you find a candidate who fits the qualifications you’re looking for and the culture you’re fostering in the company, you may just be meeting a good partner for your software development team, pushing them to keep creating excellent software for years.


 

Job stability is a key worry among testers at the moment.

A collective 54% say they are somewhat or very concerned about the present global situation. That’s 13% up since the first year of the pandemic. The survey did not specify the reasons for their worry, but it might not be a stretch to look into the reported economic impacts and health concerns over extended lockdowns and multiple virus mutations.

Our two cents:

Worry is a normal feeling in the face of uncertainty. The pandemic was a new experience for all of us, and it took everyone—employees and businesses alike—a while to regain their footing. As vaccinations began rolling out in 2021, people have been eager to step into a post-COVID future, but things at work and home will forever be changed.

Work-from-home will not cease, which makes alternative employment setups like offshore hiring much more viable as the world moves forward. In the Philippines, where workers spend considerable time inside packed public transportation, being based fully in a controlled environment such as the home is a welcome change. It doesn’t insulate them completely from fears of the virus, but it’s one less thing to think about as they sit down for a day or night’s work.


 

hey want to see changes, starting with more respect for the profession.

They also believe that testers can be more empowered—be allowed from their point of view—and hope for greater adoption of whole-team approaches to testing and quality.

Our two cents:

One way to achieve this is for software teams to embrace the QA process as a whole. Testing is a very important part of software development, but it may be easy for others to underestimate when it only kicks in after the product is built. With a full team of QA managers, engineers, and testers—present at all stages of development—you are able to establish and raise the standards of your products for the long term.


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