While at STAREAST a few weeks ago I mentioned that I was an “accidental tester”, someone who had gotten into testing more by chance than as part of a conscious and planned decision.

After talking to a few self defined “accidental testers” I kept asking people in the conference about their own personal paths into testing, and I found that just about everyone I talked to became a tester from different sides of the working spectrum.

But I see this as am advantage. We are testers because we like to test, and many of us are even pretty good at it. I don’t know many testers who endure working for long in our profession otherwise.

We should not let the fact that we did not get into our profession following a “standard path” affect our self esteem in any way.

A good tester needs to be a self-learner by nature, he won’t have a chance to survive otherwise.

you are welcome to comment.


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Comment by Juhi Bansal on June 27, 2014 at 6:22

I too am an accidental tester. I never had thought that I would go into testing although my favourite subject was Software Engineering. But believe me, its been 3 years now and I am loving my job because I have got that attitude of breaking things. I love to crack the application by testing as many scenarios as possible. I try to go over and beyond the test cases created and love to find out defects. I believe this has helped me to get a broader look into testing. Not only defects but I think testers should be involved in the requirements analysis to make sure that we understand the business impact of the application. 

Comment by James Thomas on June 9, 2014 at 9:30

I've recruited non-testers onto my test team in the past and would do so again if they have the right skills  (I'm recruiting now, http://www.linguamatics.com/welcome/company/jobs/test-engineers-and..., by the way)

The route in varies. A couple of examples: I've taken people who applied for one position at our company and asked them to consider a test position with us instead and I've advertised for split positions (e.g. test and tech support).

Interestingly, in the current recruitment round, I've had more applicants *looking* to move to test from other areas such as dev and doc than I can remember before.

Perhaps testing's getting sexy?

Comment by Jeff Lucas on May 29, 2014 at 17:26

My path was a bit different. I was borrowed to help with some "automation" on a project, then fell in love with the actual "testing". However, the real decision came when I had to turn down an offer and actually join the software testing group. That was a major gut-check moment for me because my decision came late in my career and alienated some important people. 

Would I call myself an accidental tester? No, I can truthfully say I walked through that door with my eyes open.

Comment by Matthew Eakin on May 28, 2014 at 18:48

I'm an accidental tester, and very proud of it as I think it brings a lot of good to my job. Developers have been developers since they were kids. This limits their perspective as they've only known 1 way of doing things. Since most testers came in sideways we have many different perspectives on things. But that is a strength since that is what we need to be good testers. We need to hit an application from many different perspectives in many different ways. I am starting to see the emergence of Degrees in QA. While I appreciate the thought, part of me doesn't want this out of fear that testers, just like developers, will become narrow minded about who they are and what they do. The consequences of this are not good. So bring on the accidental testers!!!

Comment by Mykey on May 28, 2014 at 15:58

Yeah! That text in bold... every tester should have it framed on his/her desk :)

Most people I know, including me, however did not get into testing sideways. On the contrary, they got there due to the general mentality that it is an easy job. Most, though, lacking the motivation to constantly learn, eventually got bored and as you say, didn't survive.

It bothers me when testing is considered a student's job, something easy that will still allow you to go to college and earn some money at the same time. The somewhat equivalent of working part time for McDonald's when you're attending Computer Science.

But nonetheless, despite the general preconceptions, I'm sure that we, the ones who know better, are definitely proud accidental testers! :)

Thanks for this nice and inspiring article!

Comment by phil kirkham on May 28, 2014 at 14:35

There was a discussion from 2008 about how people got into testing that you might enjoy reading if you have not seen it before.

What about other jobs - how many people knew they were going to go into them deliberately?

Comment by Kate Paulk on May 28, 2014 at 11:29

Absolutely! Most testers I know got there sideways. One of the big advantages of this is that we've got our other experience to draw on when we test - it makes testing a very diverse profession as well as a very interesting one.


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