Question: What does a “job title” actually mean?
Answer: A job title is the name used to describe a specific group of tasks performed by an individual for a business or another enterprise. A job title is an efficient way to tell what a person does.
Phil’s Answer: Nothing
As a software tester, does a job title really identify what you do day to day? Probably not!
Now – you are looking for a new role because your company just made you redundant, you go and search on a recruitment website with the search criteria of “Test” and get thousands of results?!?!
How many different job titles could you possibly uncover?
- Test Engineer (and Test Engineer II, Test Engineer III, etc.)
- Quality Analyst
- Testing Analyst
- Automation Engineer
- Test Architect
- Test Automation Developer
- Test Manager
- Director of Test
- Senior Test Engineer
- many, many more…
If you had to define your job title based on what you actually do what would it be? I think mine would be something along the lines of:
“Software Exploring Testing Mentor Coach Leader Planning Estimator Automation Engineer Lead Analyst”
Sounds ridiculous right? That’s because it is!
What is wrong with “Software Tester”?
Now let’s fast forward. You have a new job, the work is challenging, and you’re kicking ass. Your job title is merely tester, and you’re worried that people will look down on you because you don’t have a more prestigious title like Senor Test Engineer, or Senior Software Quality Specialist, or Super Tester from Mars!
I’ve recently moved from a company where I had progressed through the ranks, Test Analyst, Senior Test Analyst then on to a Principal Test Lead. I am now working as a Senior Test Engineer in my new role.
I was once told that you had to be in a specific role for a certain period before you could progress and that the end of the road was "Test Manager" Why?
Going from a "Test Lead" to a Test Analyst" doesn’t mean you have taken a step back in your career! You should never feel you are taking a step back when all you are really doing is progressing in your career. Different companies see the same job title as very different roles. This is important to remember.
Progression in a career should be judged by performance, and is generally judged by performance in their current role not the role they aspire to.
An individual’s performance will give a view of the level any software tester is working at, the key is not to let the role define you! You define the role J
Take the job title you are assigned with a pinch of salt... and roll with it, do what you do best !