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How to Explain Software Testing Automation at the Holiday Table

test automation

It can be difficult to explain the role of an automation software tester to your family and friends for a few reasons. But don't let that tongue-tie you! Being an automation software tester is awesome, and your family should know why! But everyone needs a bit of a different explanation to really understand it.

The Holidays are a time for your family to get together and catch up on relationships, careers, and general life decisions that you have made that year. Speaking from personal experience, it can get pretty hairy! We can’t help you out with trying to explain why you decided to randomly move 3000 miles away from your family, or why you just HAD to adopt your ninth cat. However, we can help you to explain what exactly it means to be a test automation engineer.

A couple of weeks ago, Brian, one of our solutions architects, got an email from a friend, who had found the “perfect job” for Brian. After Brian checked out the job, he realized that there was definitely a disconnect between his actual role, and how people perceived his job: the job opening was for an entry level manual tester.

It can be difficult to explain the role of an automation software tester to your family and friends for a few reasons:

  • To explain the intricacies of software testing, people need to have a core understanding of technology, the importance of software testing, and how much devastation can be caused by a poor user experience
  • People assume that testers just click a few buttons to make sure that something works
  • There’s generally a ton of knowledge that is required to really understand software testing. My husband worked in QA for a few months, and didn’t know how to respond to me when I asked him what kind of software testing he is (I’m Penetration Testing).

Being an automation software tester is awesome, and your family should know why! But everyone needs a bit of a different explanation to really understand it.

Your Loving, yet Critical, Parents

test automation

Let’s face it – your parents think you are smart enough to be President of the United States, and they won’t be content until you have achieved that. So explain to them what a difference you are making in technology, how you are challenged every day with certain code aspects, or how great you feel about that framework that you are building. Make them understand that being a test automation engineer is challenging, fun and rewarding.

Your Grandparents

test automation

Your grandfather may not understand why an abacus needs testing, but I’m sure he understands why that heart pump had to be tested (yep, that was a project that we did!). In this technological world, software is the basis of almost everything we do, and without software testers like us, medical devices would be too unreliable to use.

Your Skeptical Aunt and Uncle

test automation

“We never tested anything, and it always came out fine.” These days, software testing is more than about just doing the testing. It’s about Agile, and Continuous Delivery, and deploying multiple releases within weeks instead of months. It’s about understanding business requirements, and knowing exactly what is needed in order to provide the organization with products that they can trust.

Those Crazy Kids

test automation

Their comprehension of potential careers still only include firefighters, astronauts and ballet dancers (alternatively, my niece wants to be a dolphin trainer). When they ask, “What’s your job?” keep things simple. Tell them that you find bugs.

Your Younger Sister

test automation

What’s cooler than knowing about new products before they are even released? As software testers, we get to see all the ins and outs of new things before everyone else! You can impress your brother or sister with all fun stuff that you know about that new app that they are about to buy.

The Banker Cousin

test automation

So your cousin works on Wall Street. He is probably pretty smart, and being a successful investment banker is pretty impressive. However, he can’t get to work without using the software that runs the train, can’t retrieve his financial statements without using a website, or his smartphone for checking email. You, and other people like you, provided the software testing that allows him to stay up to date!

 

Don’t let the perceived simplicity of software testing keep you tongue-tied this holiday season! Use these analogies to nail the dinner interrogation, and get back to the eggnog!



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