Call me …?

Software testers have assorted job titles such as Quality Assurance Analyst, Software Test Engineer, QTP Specialist, Lead Quality Assurance Engineer to list a few. Some people care deeply about their job title feeling their title is part of their identity professionally both at the office and within the greater software testing community. Other people don’t particularly care what their title is.

At the Belgium Testing Days conference, I’ll be giving a keynote called: “Why it matters what I’m called: Quality Analyst or Software Tester.”

I’m conducting a survey on job titles in our field. It would be great if you could help me. Here’s what I need: your name, country, job title and if you’d like to add your company name and any comments – comments relating to how you feel about your job title, that would be great.

I’ll probably out the data together in Excel so if you could send this information like this:

Karen Johnson, USA, Software Test Consultant

And comments like this would be helpful:

I care deeply about my title. I feel my title sends a message to my team mates about what I do and what my role is.

Or –

I don’t care about my title. I just want meaningful work. My team mates know what I bring to the group and the company.

Leave a reply. Email me (if you don’t want to share this information publicly). Or reply in Twitter @karennjohnson

-Thanks Karen

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8 Responses to Call me …?

  1. Philip Daye says:

    Philip Daye, USA, “Tech-Yahoo, Software Quality Engineer, Sr.”

    I don’t care much about titles. Until my company was recently acquired, my title was Sr. Quality Assurance Engineer which then became the above. My only “concern” is that I’m also a team lead. In a small company, it didn’t matter that it wasn’t part of my title, but now being part of a large multinational corp, it could get lost – affecting my career and how soon future opportunities open up.

  2. Lisa Crispin says:

    Lisa Crispin, USA, Tester, ePlan Services Inc., a Paychex Company

    Here’s the long story:
    I was hired into my current job 8 years ago with the meaningless title “QA Director”. We have no QA here, and nobody for me to direct. I put “Tester” on my business card, that’s my preferred title. Recently our tiny company was acquired by a giant company. They insisted our manager give us new titles that matched their taxonomy for job titles & pay scales. I think my new title is something like “Senior Test Automation Specialist”. That’s funny given that everyone on our team, including programmers, collaborates on test automation, and automation is actually only a small part of my job. But that shows the wisdom of corporate America.

    A couple of years I took a job with a company where my title was “DIrector of Agile Development”. That was quite grand-sounding. I was supposed to be an internal agile consultant focused on testing. The company’s values didn’t match my own, so I left after a few months.

    Back in the 90s I worked as Director of QA for an internet startup where my title was “Quality Boss”. I thought it was cool at the time – I felt so powerful, I decided if something was ready to release. Looking back, I’m horrified by it. Such a quality police mentality. I’m glad I’ve learned better.

  3. Hi,

    I work in Canada, technically, I’m a “senior consultant” (job title), but my -role- is that of “program test manager”. I’d rather define myself by the work that I do and the value I bring rather than by a title or position on the org chart: you can call me “tea boy” if you like, so long as my brain is engaged and mortgage paid :-)


  4. John McConda says:

    It matters to me. Not because it changes what I do (consciously at least), but it’s like going around doing a different job than everyone thinks you do, otherwise. Plus I’m a word nerd, so Quality Analyst bugs me. It’s not literally someone who tests. It’s someone who analyzes quality. I guess that is vague enough to not be inaccurate, but it has those QA initials that we often get stuck with, which most translate as Quality Assurance. That’s where the tub meets the tile. I’ve never had a job where I assure quality. I may have analyzed quality, but that could be defined a hundred different ways. I’m just a tester, thanks.

  5. Steveland Daniels, United Kingdom, Tester

    I’ve had similar sounding titles before including Product Tester, or Software Tester. I don’t even think about my title and the only reason I had to think about it recently was because we had a shuffle around and had to sign new documentation. If I was being honest, I would like to have Director or a similar sounding title in the future. That is one of my aims (to have the responsibilities of one, not just the title).

    Regardless, it’s all about the mindset and if I act like someone senior and help out the company. Do I really need the fancy title to validate my work – No.

  6. Title depends on context: {Sorted alphabetically}

    Agile Test Consultant, normally when people ask what I do for a living, this means I can tell a story around the title (which can lead to very interesting conversations or it’s just an “Oh… you work with computers”).

    Director, anything that is legal, normally relating to my company, as I’m a Director of a New Zealand Company e.g. contract documentation, enrolling to vote in NZ.

    Test Manager, used when in the TM role and normally in the context of senior management doing introductions.

    Tester, normally used when working in an agile team, as this is normally my strongest skill-set to offer the cross-functional team.

  7. I think it is important to give the title a context, where I have three examples I would like to give. Within the contexts I give some alternatives, most common first.

    Testing/Software development community
    When the title is presented as a part of a community like forum like a conference proposal or the name tag when you are at the event. Also when presenting yourself online in that kind of forum, like software testing club etc, I think it is important to have a more humble approach of a title, since I know that there are people out there which are far more senior than myself that I continuously learn from. This would also be the most obvious answer to your question when answering on your blog. =)

    Sigge Birgisson, Sweden, Software testing consultant/Tester/Tester and Communicator

    Consultant sales pitch or personal resume
    Title is reflected upon as if you are a product for sale. HR people or whoever is interested in your services need to understand what you are capable of in their context. Some titles appear more cool or senior than others in this perspective and they should be used if you want to succeed in getting to an interview.

    Sigge Birgisson, Sweden, Test specialist/Test lead/Agile testing consultant

    Introduction to non-software people
    Where you want to just tell people what you are doing, without getting a glance stare back because they just dont understand.

    Sigge Birgisson, Sweden, IT-consultant/Software tester

  8. Kristine Corbus says:

    Kristine Corbus, Germany, Quality Assurance Manager

    I work in small company and QA team is me. So it is kind of funny that I am a manager. Myself I see as a tester, but nowadays you have to have titles what looks good into your CV.

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