Test to Dev to Test

Over my career, I have met a number of software developers that have become testers. These testers often tell me that they got tired of working the long hours in development. They say that testing, while challenging, is less stressful and easier that writing code. And these are usually the testers that are creating scripts or writing code to test data.

I have also met developers who said they got trapped in the test environment. First it starts out with the need to write a high profile master test plan. Then who better to oversee the test execution than the author. Pretty soon you get known as somebody proficient who can run tests, and then you are pigeon holed into being a tester.

There is one other scenario which is not encouraging. Sometimes developers who just do not cut it as programmers get reassigned to the test team. It is almost as if this is a demotion. This seems strange as the top talent in the test world seem to make good money. Maybe it is just a psychological effect.

The reverse path appears to be difficult if not impossible. I have not met many developers who said they started out as a tester. There was one guy I knew who was pretty good with code. He wrote a lot of scripts to generate test data. But he was still officially assigned to the test team. Maybe there are such developers, but they don't want to talk about their test background. Still it seems a very rare move. It looks like a one way street between development and testing roles.