I can’t help but compare my job to that of my fellow developers.

At first glance, it appears my devs have the more challenging job. They have to string together code that results in a working application…usually based on ambiguous specs full of gaps.

But at second glance, I think the testers have it harder. Developers have a clear target to aim for. It’s called “Code Complete”. After which, their target may become “Fix The Bugs”. Each is a relatively objective target when compared to those targets of testers like “Write the Test Cases” or “Find the Bugs” or “Ensure the Quality”.

Arguably, a tester’s job is never complete because there is an infinite amount of tests to run. A dev can sit back and admire a stopping point where their code does what the feature is supposed to do. The tester cannot. The tester is expected to go beyond verifying the code does what the feature is supposed to do. The tester must determine the code’s behavior under all possible paths through the application in various configurations. If the tester is attempting to use thorough test automation it would require more code to support the automated test library than that of the AUT itself. Even then, there would still be more tests left to automate.

It may be worth noting that I’ve always wanted to be a developer. Why aren't I? I don’t know, I guess it seems too hard…

What do you think? Who has the more challenging job?

6 comments:

  1. pjc MD BBQ PHD said...

    developers > testers (especially testers with grey hairs in their pics)

    It's pointless to argue about whose job is hard/easy because there's not going to be an unbiased opinion based on your current position. If/when you become a developer you'll start a blog called "Code this Blog" and then make a blog post titled "OMG Testers have it way 2 EZ".

    Regarding "It may be worth noting that I’ve always wanted to be a developer. Why aren't I?"

    The first step is to learn how to not chicken peck type at the keyboard. Most of us were born with more than one finger on each hand for a reason...

  2. Anonymous said...

    Hmm... I always thought testers have the easier job.

  3. Eric Jacobson said...

    BBQ PHD,

    I type 75 WPM (looking at the keyboard). However, last year I increased my WPM (not looking) from 10 to 26. This is despite having lost my right hand in a sword fight with my father...show some respect.

    I don't have grey hair but I may after several more of your posts!

  4. Eric Jacobson said...

    Anonymous,

    Why do you think testers have easier jobs?

  5. Anonymous said...

    As the incapable man sits on the couch, watches the sport event, and points out the sportsman's folly, so is the way of the software tester.

  6. Eric Jacobson said...

    I’ve always hated sports metaphors but how about…

    As the thankless coach stands patiently by his players, practice after practice, finding their mistakes and helping them look good in the final game, so is the way of the software tester.



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