The Impotence of Testing

Wait what? Did you write that title correctly?

I’ve been doing QA for a handful of years now and come up with a few realizations throughout my time, and have also had some fun conversations with people about the QA role.

Do we really need QA testers or could our end-users be our testers? What about the software developers? While those are all great possibilities, it doesn’t negate the fact that a QA specialist is trained to find problems. We spend most of our time testing, working, and living, analyzing the world around us and finding problems with what we see. While this may not be an attribute that is needed in every industry, it’s one of those jobs that when not done (or done well), it immediately becomes noticed.

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I’ve talked with developers who think that the QA role could be considered a shared role listed under the operations of a developer. I’ve also had conversations with people (and some companies) who consider all testing to be done by machines via service or automation, to be a completely sufficient form of testing. Perhaps I’m slightly biased as a functional tester, but all of the above scenarios require human interaction with the software, requiring a mindset trained to evaluate software like a user would, not a machine. Some companies don’t believe in the functional tester role, but I can’t imagine writing usable software without one.

Again, some biased may be coming through right about now.

So maybe the title of this post doesn’t match the content, but unfortunately this got pushed to production and nobody QA’d it first.

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