I presented on the importance of programming and development skills for software testers at WCNGT conference held on 17-18 July at Bangalore. The presentation was arranged in the format of counter-arguments, my arguments and my notes on hypocrisy in Indian testing industry in this context (I can not comment on how the scene is outside India, as I haven’t worked there).

I acknowledge that I could be biased when it comes to this topic. I could be biased because of who I am, what my experience and testing career have been. I guess this is a beautiful form of bias: it can grow stronger, can dilute or can completely go away based on what I experience next.

4 Responses to “Testers Must Learn Programming – The Secret That Wasn’t”

  1. Kshitij

    My very personal opinion: In India mostly people who couldn’t get into development come to testing along with people who did not have proper computer skills, but latched on by taking some courses (Ameerpeth, Hyd – sorry to name it but that is a great example of the factory that exists).

    These people with very basic computer skills and minimal knowledge of SDLC phases/details get into IT and then as they get up the ladder, promote what is most convenient to them.

    PS: Nothing personal. I am a QA too.

  2. Rahul Verma


    Your point is right. In the spirit of full disclosure, let me confess. I am one of the testers who entered IT industry like that. I am a mechanical engineer. Even the Ameerpet story has happened to me, but I don’t regret it because irrespective of the quality of trainings, my interest in programming started by attended one there.

    The point I want to make is that irrespective of how a tester has entered into the industry, once into it, s/he should start learning programming at the earliest. What you mentioned in your comment is infact another powerful excuse which testers would give.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. krishna iyer

    seth godin said in one of his books- ‘if you do average work, there will always be somebody who can do your work for less money”.

    I think you are great dude, but you should take a sabbatical and work in Bay Area to get a full perspective to the industry. I mean testing industry. There’s a big void I see in your repertoire, and bad thing is you are not even aware of it. Here there are ‘Software Engineers’- whether you are developer or tester. The expected tech skils and CS fundamentals expected are equivalent (if you want to make it to big league in the field), only nature of their outputs are different.

    The term ‘Tester’ in India is now relegated to being a symbol of cyber-coolie culture, where you can provide average service (‘exploratory testing ?’) at a cheaper price- that’s the industry USP. But that will only take you as much far (Remember recent TCS experience staff lay off brouhaha?). But if you truly want to excel in the field, you truly want customers who are willing to pay you for the value and innovation you generate, and not just labor arbitrage– you must take up coding- to be the world class software engineer- who knows how to break the code.


    • Rahul Verma

      Hi Krishna,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree to your comment on state of testing in India. Wonderful quote.

      The slide deck embedded herein contains comments not just from Indian testers but from some reputed testers outside India as well. Infact the origin of coolness that you mentioned did not originate here and I have myself been debating about this coolness across my blog posts.

      We should talk more often. I would like to hear more about your perspective on how you think testing outside India is done better. I’d like to bring that change right here in my work in India 🙂 I setup Test Mile in year 2012 where everyone is hired based on programming skills. I get a feeling that you and I think alike.


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