By Faisal Mahmood
The basic question that arises in a fresh CS/IT graduate’s mind is where to pursue his or her career in the IT industry. Obviously, most of the fresh CS/IT graduates opt to become a software developer, a software architect, a DB expert etc. and there are the very rare people who want to go with the Software Quality Assurance (SQA) profession. The objective of this article is to share some fruitful thoughts that encourage people to understand the importance of Software Quality Assurance as a career. Following are top five reasons SQA is a preferable choice.
Thinking outside of the box
If you are in the SQA discipline, you have to think different from others. The reason this is so important is because you have to occasionally provide ideas to get things implemented and often you have to find mistakes and errors in what others are doing. This is not possible to do in a perfect manner unless you are able to think out of the box. This thinking improves your work in many ways: it empowers your thoughts so that you can bring something that adds value. It improves your problem solving skills and can make you stand out from the crowd, thus growing your stature throughout the organization.
Better SDLC exposure
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and SQAs go hand-in-hand. You cannot set them apart or get SQA out of any of the SDLC phases. If you try to, you cannot claim that you are doing proper QA of a project, application, or a system. If you are in a QA discipline then you need to be vigilant to detect chances of errors that can make go wrong. In order to do this, you have to understand all phases of SDLC very clearly. This is one of the most powerful aspects of a good SQA professional.
Great chances to develop better character
Believe it or not, the SQA discipline provides you more chances to develop your character and create values in your life. When you are hired to help, you actually support the software development teams in order to identify what they currently are or identify potential stumbling blocks. You are actually hired to perform as an internal customer, which is a very powerful position because they can state all of the work done was a waste of time and money if they are unsatisfied. This would hammer the vendor if and put the project in jeopardy.
Actually, the SQA person has an even trickier job to do; He or she has to remain cool & calm and tight & tough all at the same time. This is because you not only have to raise the flags by finding errors in developer’s code but you have to deal with the developer in a way that the developer does not see the QA person as an enemy, thus impacting team moral. So you have to be an empathetic person with great communication skills to maintain balance. A good SQA department or team teaches you how to contain these emotions while you are doing your work.
If you are in SQA you have to play a key role in the success of a software project. All eyes are on you from the beginning to the end. This can go in either way: i.e. you can get noticed and praised by the managers, which will obviously help you grow. On the other hand, if you do not perform as per expectations you can be in some serious trouble. However, being the lynchpin to protect the ship from sinking is always exciting!
If you are in the SQA discipline and do things the developers cannot do in a typical software model, that’s a big leg up and can lead to quick promotion within the company. The reasons why you are more likely to get promoted is your role and your job to deliver. You are mostly a critic and critics can learn faster than anyone else because they get the chance to see things closely and learn how things can be done more properly and effectively. You are always on top of the developers and project managers because you identify what they are doing wrong and what can go wrong in the future. In this role, you naturally become familiar with the activities a senior or a project manager performs and can gain serious insight into these positions. You also review all of the work and analysis done throughout the project including feedback from the business experts or analysts. This makes QAs more likely to learn and get the position of a PM, BA etc. You can prove with your work and the valus you add that you are a valuable asset to the team and should be considered for the next step in your career.