Monday, 16 February 2009

Whatever Happened To Dan ?

After finding that someone had found my blog by doing a Google Search for "software developers hate testers" I did the same search and found this forum posting from 2001 by Dan, a recent graduate with a CS degree who had found himself doing testing all the time and was hating it...

I just recently graduated, and I have my B.S in Computer Science. I love programming, so I naturally thought that software should be my career. I've got my software engineering job now, and it's not what I expected. The only thing I've done since I started is software testing. I hate testing. I find it to be extremely boring. At first, I thought it might be just because I'm new there, and they need to get me up to speed on their current projects before they let me do anything real. However, it looks like just about all the engineers are spending a majority of their time testing. So.... either they like testing, or they all hate their jobs, which brings me to the reason for this post:

If I hate testing, am I in the wrong profession? What options are out there?

I wonder what happened to Dan

Did he get to become a programmer and do no testing at all ?

Did he become test-infected, see the benefits of testing and go on to become a programmer who produced nice clean code with few errors ?

Did he realise that testing wasn't boring and went on to join the testing profession full-time ?

Or did he realise he was in the wrong profession and go on to do something completely different ?


Joe said...

I had a "Dan" on mytest team once...

I was hired to lead and grow an existing test team at a small software company.

After I started, I quickly found out that some of the current QA team members weren't exactly thrilled to be part of the team. One of those was Dan (not his real name).

Come to find out, he had been hired right out of college about 2 years prior. Between the time he was hired, and the day he showed up for work, the company had a layoff. Dan was supposed to be part of that layoff, but they neglected to notify him (yes, the company was a mess at that time). So, when he arrived, they told him he would "do testing" until the situation improved.

So, here I was two year later with an unhappy tester on my hands.

He was a good guy, smart, and knew the products well, so I arranged to have hime moved into the next available developer slot, in return for a new hire req.

Now, I wouldn't have done this if my "Dan" had a bad attitude, or didn't work hard at his tester role.

It worked out well in the end.

Michael said...

Perhaps the Dans of the world hate testing because

- the work they are given—work that is called testing, but is mere confirmation and validation and verification of ideas that other people have had;
- the means of performing the work is entirely prescribed by other people;
- the work is mindlessly boring because it is indeed mindless work;
- the work can be done far more effectively at no loss in observational power or regulatory compliance, were Dan only allowed to do the work using his individual skills and creativity;
- the work otherwise poses no interesting problems for Dan to solve;
- the people for whom Dan works don't recognize Dan's distress at being given rote confirmatory work to do, instead of innovative and investigative work that might cause him to exercise his mind and his skills...

(You probably get the point, but shall I go on?)

---Michael B.

aarone said...

I was like Dan. Except I never finished my degree. Even worse is that after a couple years of "testing" on your resume, you're forever branded, and can't get a "creative" job.

I was always a builder, and my brothers were destroyers, so while I do like to "break things", it's not my passion. Even the more correct "I like to find out how things will break" isn't quite right.

Michael definitely has a point, and the creative possibilities of QA has definitely made it more interesting to me. But I eventually decided that I hated computers, quit entirely, and moved to Fiji.

Now I'm starting a QA consulting business, and trying to find the right balance between tools, processes, and common sense.

Great blog, by the way.

Philk said...

"I moved to Fiji" - wish I'd thought of that option !!

Glad you like the blog - yours is also on my feed