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Is it time to look for new software testing job opportunities?

If you spend your days being bored or frustrated, it might be time to change jobs. Expert tester Amy Reichert explains the warnings signs of a dead-end testing job.

When is it time to look for new software testing job opportunities? In today's largely Agile software development arena, teams change frequently and the job you do tends to change frequently as well. It can be challenging to re-establish positive working relationships across the development team spectrum of coders, product and development management on a continual basis.

A variety of work tasks are assigned in this manner along with a continuous stream of new or updated learning. The problem is if change is constant, it becomes chaotic and you spend more time learning than testing. If you can't get enough time to develop new team relationships and get into testing because of constant reorganization, it's time to find new software testing job opportunities.

Perhaps you're at the other end of the quality assurance (QA) spectrum where you do the same process step by step by step, over and over and over again. For example, consider continuous regression testing -- it's the regression testing that never stops. Whether it's executed manually or you're reviewing endless automated test logs, testing can be monotonous and boring at times. Add multiple execution runs of the same tests against different versions and you've definitely crossed into the seriously dull zone.

Before getting to this point, try to come up with a solution that randomizes the process more while still generating test results. Present it to management and, perhaps, you can alter the process so testing is done with less tedium. Maybe you can branch out and spend time doing exploratory testing. If no suggestions or alterations of QA processes are allowed, then it's time to find new software testing job opportunities.

What about playing the defect game? What is the defect game? It's when developers and QA aren't working closely together and developers actually add defects to see if you'll find them. Or, worse yet, any time a defect gets through and becomes an escalation, all fingers point to QA. I've heard it and I'm sure others have, too: Quality is the team's job or everyone's job. Yes, that may be true, but when a defect is released and comes back for repair, it is QA that's under fire first. If you find you can't fix the working relationship between QA and development to move past the defect game, it's time to find a new testing job.

What about job advancement? QA typically is a job that doesn't necessarily involve much movement unless it's into development or product management. It also happens that you become so good at testing your application, management won't let you change teams. Any request you have to switch teams is denied. You end up grinding through work endlessly. If you want to grow your skills and career but you're not allowed to, it's time to find new software testing job opportunities.

Naturally, there are many reasons to move on, like an incompetent manager or widespread disorganization with no effort at correction. These items are more personal and based on your definition of incompetence and disorganization. Both, however, may also be grounds for moving to your next testing job.

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