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Why am I always being passed over for software test lead jobs?

It can be frustrating and demoralizing when you're not chosen to test the latest and most interesting software. Expert Gerie Owen shares what to do about it.

How do I find out why my colleagues get to test the big important projects, while I don't?

There may be several reasons for this, and before you do the obvious and ask your manager, it is important to take a look at what you bring to the table when your manager evaluates a potential software test lead for assignments. You should evaluate not only your level of experience, but also your technical skill set, your leadership skills and your subject matter expertise.

First, what is your level of experience? Are you setting your goals too high relative to your level of experience? For example, if you are a tester with four or five years of experience, and you wish to be doing testing for large projects, you need to recognize that those roles require an experienced software test lead. If you have no software test lead experience, you may want to enroll in some test lead training and ask to lead a small project.

Are you setting your goals too high relative to your level of experience?

It may be helpful to look at the software test lead requirements of some of the assignments for which you were not selected. For example, if a project has a large mobile component, and you have not tested mobile applications, you need to get involved in testing the mobile components of your current projects. Since almost all applications have mobile components, that shouldn't be too difficult.

If a project requires specific technical expertise, such as behavior-driven development or testing artificial intelligence, and you don't have such skills, you will not get selected as a software test lead for those projects until you acquire the required technical skills. Take some courses in those areas or find a mentor to help you develop them.

Finally, if you have the experience and skills for the projects that interest you, it could be that your manager doesn't realize that you are interested in these projects. Rather than asking why you weren't selected, let your manager know you are interested in contributing in those areas as a software test lead.

Next Steps

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This was last published in April 2017

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