Endorsement

One on one

A couple of days ago I was in one of those meetings with my manager where we discuss one on one how things are going and we if we have questions or problems in which we can help each other. Since things are going well enough we mostly spent time talking about work in general, project progress and personal interests. At the end of this particular meeting my manager asked me a surprising question:

“Why do you call yourself a senior test analyst?”

I fell silent for a moment. Officially my job title states Test Analyst C so he had a point there. My response held several aspects. First of all my official job title doesn’t have any meaning outside of the office and I am often meeting or interviewing people from outside of work. So I feel more comfortable calling my self senior test analyst then.

“Okay, I understand the test analyst part, but why senior” he responded

Well, I stated, because I believe that I am senior based both on my amount of experience,  skill and the effort I put in to my work. And using this title makes it easy to recognize what I do and at which level I am.

“I see” he said “But don’t you think that others can see that you are senior based on what you say and what you do and mean to our community and to the test community in general?” “Nobody calls themselves junior or medior. I only see people using senior. So why don’t you think about why you use it and if you really need it.”

Does it matter?

Well he got me thinking. Last year I published a series of three posts, https://arborosa.org/2011/08/17/whats-in-a-name-part-3/, on using names and titles. Part of the message in these posts is that the title you carry influences how others perceive your work, but also that it influences how you perceive and execute your work yourself. I ended the last post with the following remark:

“Currently I like to think of myself as a, context driven, software testing craftsman. At what level of craftsmanship I am I leave for others to judge.” 

Even my personal business card states me to be “Software Tester”. So why did I start using Senior Test Analyst when I talk about myself?

Having thought about it has me come to the following. It is not that I feel under-appreciated at work (although I wouldn’t mind a pay rise;) nor that I feel the need to emphasize my level of ability or knowledge. It is more my perception of how non testers value the profession. And for some reason adding the senior in front of test analyst seems to add some level of authority and importance.

How about you?

It is my opinion that I am not the only one who feels that (good) testers, by what ever name they go, do not get the appreciation they deserve. So my question to you is:

What do you do to convince non testers of the importance, skill and effort that go into your job? Or do you think that it’s all their problem?

 

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4 thoughts on “Endorsement

  1. Comment I received by e-mail from Lisa Crispin.

    I was having a similar discussion Friday with the dev manager at our office. He was curious why we testers have been trying people to call our little group “Testing” rather than “QA”. (For example, we named our team wiki space “Testing”). Like many people, he considers the term “tester” to be sort of low-class. I understand why that is – over the years many people who do manual scripted testing and don’t wish to improve their skills at all have been called “testers” and they don’t impress anyone.
    Earlier in my testing career I accepted titles such as “Senior QA Engineer”, but when I started working on Agile teams in 2000, I preferred the title of “Tester”. I’m a developer whose focus is on testing. (IMO everyone participating in delivering software is a ‘developer’, not only the coders). I’ve tried to make “Tester” a proud title. But I don’t care that much about titles either way.
    Karen N. Johnson gave a fascinating keynote at Belgium Testing Days 2012 on whether people prefer to be called QA or Test, and does it make a difference? She had gathered a lot of opinions. I wish I had a link to her talk, but I can’t find one that works.

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  2. The primary reason people (in the previous companies I’ve worked for) aspire to become “Senior” is the pay, of course. 🙂

    I guess you are right in that having that adjective it does influence how other perceive our work… but that is only if they have a respect for the profession. By that I mean, if someone does not respect testing as a profession, then being a “senior” at it only means you are an expert at “nothing” (since this is what they think of testing in the first place).

    I normally do not try to get into the whole argument of why it is important, but when I do I simply talk about previous experiences where the lack of testing has caused major problems/issues.

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