BANGALORE, INDIA: It was a most common conception among all young engineering graduates to opt for software testing, in case of an inability to pursue a career in software development.
In recent days, I had a chance to meet some software testers, where I learnt that they were more open to software development, rather than software testing. This led to an interaction with some of the technical gurus in the software-testing domain.
Recent trends and surveys conducted by many companies predict that India has a huge potential market for software testing.
Karthik Gopalakrishnan, Senior Consultant, Zinnov feels that software testing offers a lucrative career option for freshers, as well as experienced professionals. However, most companies prefer inducting test engineers with some years of development experience.
“Most software testers aim for the top position of a quality head, but before that, they need to gain the expertise on all of the quality processes in an organization,” he says.
Excerpts from an interview with Gopalakrishnan:
CIOL: How do you see the global market for software testing?
Karthik Gopalakrishnan: The global software testing market is estimated at $13 billion, with the global market size of outsourced testing services at around $6.1 billion.
A study reveals that the software testing market in India will touch $800 million to $1.1 billion million by 2008. The top 10 IT firms in India, including Infosys, Wipro, MindTree, Polaris, Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have been quick off the blocks in creating independent testing practices in-house.
The IT companies have started positioning themselves as independent software testing (IST) services providers, offering software testing as a standalone service. There are roughly 10 IST players in India of a reasonable size with a combined turnover of around Rs. 200-300 crores.
While the traditional Indian software service players have concentrated on the BFSI domain, companies such as Mercury and Polaris have gone way ahead to address multiple segments such as wireless, mobile and embedded systems, respectively.
CIOL: What are the benefits for a software tester if he/she opts for software testing industry?
Karthik Gopalakrishnan: Software testing offers a lucrative career option for both freshers, as well as experienced professionals, although most companies prefer to induct test engineers with a few years of development experience.
A career in software testing can follow both: a highly technical career path (e.g., developing the expertise in the use of specialist tools) or a strongly business focused route, which could lead to a prominent role within the business.
An individual in a trainee role can rapidly progress through the levels of a test engineer, senior test engineer, team lead, test manager, and then into other management roles within the organization.
Most software testers aim for the top position of a quality head. However, they need to gain the expertise on all of the quality processes in the organization, before attaining such a position.
CIOL: How does the software testing lifecycle play an important role in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?
Karthik Gopalakrishnan: Time-to-market has always been the most important factor for a company, which is developing a product or delivering a service.
The longer the time taken to get the product/service to the market, the greater the chances of getting beaten by someone else. Moreover, while releases are more frequent and cycles shorter, the cost of failure has increased dramatically.
Unfortunately, in the rush to meet deadlines, the end result is nothing short of being disastrous as the software code testing is often rushed or overlooked. Bugs in software are costly to correct and it is painstaking. The cost of correcting bugs could vary from $150/bug at the requirement stage of the software development life cycle stage to about $15,000/bug at the application maintenance stage.
The test development life cycle contains the following components:
* Test planning
* Test environment setup
* Test design
* Test automation
* Test execution and defect tracking
* Test reports and acceptance
CIOL: What kind of tips would you offer to fresh engineering graduates who plan to opt for software testing?
Karthik Gopalakrishnan: Quite often, software testing is considered as a less complex task by most of the IT engineers. Fresh engineering graduates have a tendency to think about a career in software development, rather than in software testing. There is a clear salary differential for testing and development in most of the IT services companies.
MNC product captives have taken initiatives to create awareness among engineers in this field.
Test engineers are an integral part of the development lifecycle and have an equal role to play in all the phases of PDLC as any development engineer. There are instances where the test team is a part of the design and architecture team.
Integrating, testing and QA along the entire lifecycle of a product is key to employee indulgence and engagement for long term.
CIOL: How do you see the future of software testing industry in India?
Karthik Gopalakrishnan: Due to the tremendous impact of the software testing industry, demand for testing professionals is expected to explode.
The demand for professionals is set to grow to over 200,000 professionals by 2010 from about 40,000-50,000 professionals currently.
This growth is going to pose hiring challenges for any firm. It has already led to the spawning of a whole new software testing training market with a number of private institutions offering bespoke courses and certifications.
In the coming years, the software testing market is likely to enter the next level of maturity. This would demand expertise in specific high-end areas such as embedded systems testing, healthcare systems testing, client-server application testing, performance testing, inter-operability testing and performance benchmarking.