Originally published on Quora.
I think the managers at many companies have been realizing that they need a mix of testing types and a more rigorous approach to writing test code. They hope that, if this is done correctly, they can have shorter release cycles, reduce or eliminate manual regression testing, have fewer escapes (bugs that aren’t caught in regression testing), and more. They want to bring people on to work on this and also to help mentor others on how to achieve these goals. Transforming the testing landscape at a company is both risky and difficult, and having employees come on board who have seen it done first-hand would be very valuable, and be potentially faster than training the existing resources to take on this completely different way of working.
So, that’s the demand side. On the supply side, there are some real challenges to being prepared for this work. There is no obvious path to take to learn what’s needed, and much of the engineering discipline and mindset required to do a good job comes with experience, which is difficult to get while having to constantly do manual testing or automating UI test scripts. Companies posting these jobs don’t always know what they are looking for, so the jobs sometimes read like a list of all current technologies and practices, of which hardly anyone could be expected to know everything. There is also sometimes internalized baggage that “testers” are somehow less than “developers,” reducing the number of feature engineers willing to cross over and reducing the number of test engineers who feel confident stepping into these responsibilities.
I think as these roles and the expectations that surround them mature, it will become easier for companies to know what they are looking for, and easier to describe that in a job posting. With more examples to follow, candidates will have a clearer path to prepare for these jobs. Salaries will improve as the value of this work is made apparent, attracting more candidates, and we will see a healthier balance of supply and demand—just maybe not anytime soon.