Bringing together what belongs together 

 May 16, 2023

"Developers with testing skills are in hot demand - and the market is empty."

Richard Seidl

I have been accompanying teams and companies on their agile journey for many years now. But it is still a wonderful moment every time when these historically grown walls between roles and professions are torn down and a real boost in collaboration and productivity is created.

For me, this is particularly visible in software testing. Whereas in the past the teams were strictly separated - here the test team and there the development team (with all the conflicts, blame and friction) - this competence is growing together more and more. With the right support in the form of mentoring and training, exactly what makes the magic happen: Quality and testing competence becomes the lived practice of the whole (!) team. Quality becomes an attitude.

Establish testing skills

For mentoring or coaching, people often start by putting a tester on the team. This is a good start, but care must be taken not to create a dynamic in the team along the lines of "well, look, one tester, then the rest don't have to worry about quality". After all, the point is to establish the testing skills in the entire team!

What remains is to equip one's own developers with the testing skills. For most software developers, however, training such as the ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) is too abstract and covers topics such as test management that have little relevance in the developer's everyday work. It is interesting to note that earlier CTFL curricula and exams were also suitable for developers with applications to source code. However, technical know-how was successively banned from the CTFL.

Build bridges

TheA4Q Software Development Engineer in Test(SDET) certification, which I took a closer look at, aims to close this gap. It was developed in cooperation between the German Testing Board (GTB) and the Alliance for Qualification (A4Q) and teaches exactly those contents of the CTFL that are relevant for software developers: Why actually testing? How and what do I test in my development process? What are the benefits of static analysis and reviews? How do I create good test cases - i.e. which test case design methods are there?
The content is further deepened by components from the ISTQB Certified Tester Advanced Level - Technical Test Analyst (CTAL-TTA).
To make the transfer to everyday development more tangible, there are accompanying practical exercises that work directly with source code and specifications.

In my opinion, SDET builds an important bridge between software developer and tester skills. Developers with testing skills are in high demand - and the market is empty. The massive increase in test automation demand in recent years has exacerbated the situation. So upskilling existing employees is a sensible step.

And finally, it is another step towards a holistic, integral team, towards the reduction of insular and siloed knowledge and towards more exchange on topics at eye level!