Microsoft announced it was laying off 62 testers today.
I don’t know the details of this layoff, and I certainly don’t want to trivialize the situation these people are in.
But but there’s actually an industry wide technology story behind this. For a long time everywhere I worked we hired programmers to code, and then testers played with the program all day long and reported bugs. We talked about unit testing, and tried to do some automated regression testing, but in the rush to build things the automated tests never were built completely. In the last 5 years this is changing radically: everybody unit tests (a big part of eXtreme Programming and most open source processes) and places like MS are increasingly automating *all* tests. The manual testing that remains is more of “scouting” to see what the automated scripts should work like.
I have plenty of friends in Test…most like programming and are thriving in the new regime. Others are feeling the pressure.