Check out this article from Forbes - Who's Getting Hired Right Now. Here is an excerpt of the relevant bits:
Online job aggregator Indeed.com has sifted through its database to find the occupations that are hiring the most right now.
Here are the jobs with the most postings.
Job postings: 132,283
Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer
Job postings: 100,917
Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers
Job postings: 83,206
Customer Service Representatives
Job postings: 67,958
Job postings: 65,925
It's good to be needed - even better to be employed. How do others see the job market for Quality Engineers / Software Testers?
I'm not totally convinced that all bad CVs come from bad testers. I suspect that some of it may be due to people just being very bad at writing CVs that tell people what they do well - and I think that testing skills are difficult to describe well in a conventional CV.
I had to explain recently to someone who was helping with our recruitment that it's virtually impossible to filter successfully by keyword for a *good* tester CV. If you're looking for critical thinking skills, a CV isn't a great place to display them, and they certainly aren't going to be indicated by use of particular keywords.
There's a bit in Leo Marks "Between Silk and Cyanide" that I always think of - he was head of communications for the Special Operations Executive during World War II, and this is him having a bit of difficulty trying to explain how to pick suitable new recruits for the code-breaking work they did:
"Captain Henderson then joined in the indictment, stressing that I'd turned down twenty FANYs without giving her my reasons, and still hadn't listed the attributes her interviewers should look out for.
The truth was, I didn't know myself.
I was wary of saying that if a girl admitted she loved music and crossword puzzles but was hopeless at arithmetic we could usually repair the damage a maths teacher had done, and turn her into a coder. They'd simply ask new candidates, 'Do you like music and crossword puzzles and are you bad at arithmetic?' and leave it at that. Nor did I relish the tedium of explaining how to measure a potential WOK-maker's threshold of boredom. I also shirked trying to define the instinct which said, 'This girl can do it.'"
Agreed, which is why I had many, many dreadful telephone interviews....
Here is a very relevant tweet from Scott Barber with a link to a slideshow with the primary point that there is currently a core few population of software testers with the technical skills necessary for performance and security testing. It puts this in the context of the overall history of software testing, emphasising the need for better training.
Very interesting, I'd have thought just from a numbers point of view, developers would have been more sought after.
Been monitoring the thread with interest. Hope the good news lasts! Did anybody catch the "Test is Dead" keynote from GTAC 2011? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1jWe5rOu3g
Excellent - thanks for those Phil. The keynote certainly made for depressing viewing. The rebuttals must have passed me by while I was preparing my contingency plan(s)!
See you at SkillsMatter next week! ;-)
Geez, I post a piece of information and ask a simple question, and get back more information, thoughtful analysis, insightful experiences, and useful advice. Good deal. :)
- Darren, I do not know exactly how they tabulated these results, but I have a suspicion that the "software tester" statistics may be tainted by listings for software engineers where the job description includes involvement in the test process.
- Anna, great points. The ability to sell yourself in an interview is a skill in itself, not necessarily related to your ability to do the job. Frankly, I think I give an underwhelming interview. I got my first job in software test largely based on a referral from a former colleague. Management relied heavily on referrals to get people with a track record of achievement.
- And Jeff, you know what I could have really used in that first testing job? Some good test training. But I, and my management, were totally focused on learning the products and new technologies. It was years before I recognized that test is a discipline that can be studied and a skill that can be improved. I will try to bring some of that into my present situation.
And now I have homework - a Selenium preview, a slideshow, and a keynote (with rebuttals).