Recently, I was talking to one of Microsoft’s Technical Fellows about senior engineering roles. He talked about the fact that senior engineers should know of the “big names” of the industry in their field, and that he knew of (or directly knew) the most senior developers at Oracle, IBM, and other big software companies. He asked me about “big names” in software testing, and I realized something obvious that had never struck me before. The big names in software development – names like Grady Booch, Jim Gray, or Alan Kay are big names because of their achievements in software engineering for significant software application or research project. The most well known names in test, on the other hand, are primarily consultants.
Why is that?
Sure, there is an employee of MS who, from time to time is popular in the testing community, but why is it that inevitably, if there’s a tester that everybody in the room knows about, that they are a consultant? And these aren’t usually people who were highly successful changing testing at a particular company who recently became consultants. The most well known names in test are people who have been consulting for years and years.
I’ve got to think about this, as I’m sure there’s a viable solution. I think it has something to do with the immaturity of testing as a profession, the general lack of commitment to quality, and probably a few other things. If you’re reading this and have an idea or two, please take time to share.