What defines a good company to work for as an SQA professional?
The current tech job market is very fluid as talented test professionals move toward new opportunities. The working environment has changed, perhaps forever, as teams are dispersed across various remote locations.
While the parameters of what defines an office may have changed, those defining a great workplace have not. In a competitive jobs market, the sole consideration should not be on financial compensation (though that is undeniably important). Long-term fulfilment and happiness in a position are equally important, even if the factors that influence it may be harder to pin down than a satisfactory amount on a salary cheque.
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is a role that is often under-appreciated and easy to reduce to a very small cog within a much bigger process. Test professionals are in the unenviable position of informing developers that a painstakingly crafted system does not perform as expected - their sole purpose is finding fault in someone else’s hard work.
With that in mind, what should a company offer to enable you to thrive as a software testing professional?
6 qualities of a great company to work for
While a career in software quality assurance has unique challenges, there are workplace qualities that make for a great fit no matter what your role is.
1. Employees are more than a number
This is particularly valuable in SQA where very hard work is done behind the scenes and the people behind the work are often forgotten or seen as disposable. Being recognized as an important part of the system, whether at a management level or within the greater company, aids in job satisfaction.
2. Employees are allowed to reach their full potential
No one wants to be stuck in a position for years on end with no change or opportunity for growth. This ties in with the first point: if you are more than a mere number, a company will understand and encourage the need for upward mobility. As an example, one of Inspired Testing’s core values is ‘make way for potential.’
Make Way For Potential: Employees are encouraged, inspired, and supported to reach their full potential through opportunities, career mobility, and training.
3. A good culture fit
A good culture fit is a nebulous concept and often hard to pin down. Company culture can be defined as the shared values, attributes, and characteristics of a company. Aspects like formal hierarchical management, a team-based culture, and the general working relationship among employees are all part of the company culture. A company culture that allows you to work to your strengths will be most beneficial to your career. If you enjoy more informal teams where anyone is allowed to take initiative and employees are encouraged to interact on a social level, you might struggle in a strict, hierarchical management-type company.
Innovation is a core part of a company culture that SQA professionals should look out for. Curiosity is one of the characteristics that make for a great test professional, and it should be encouraged through innovation within a company.
5. Strong Organisational Structure
A strong organizational structure with clear communication paths is vital. Even if you prefer working within a more collaborative organisation over one with a strict management hierarchy, there should be firm structures in place to facilitate clear communication and decision-making. Things will inevitably go south (this is SQA after all), and clear management and communication structures will pave the way to successful resolution without undue stress.
6. Investment in employees
Just like upward mobility, a company’s investment in its employees is important. SQA is a fast-paced environment, and the software development landscape is always changing, and software testing is changing right along with it. A good company should allow and support its testing professionals to keep up to date with these changes through training and other opportunities.
Investment in employees goes beyond training and should also include other measures to ensure a holistic approach to employee well-being, whether that be support for a good work-life balance, an employee wellness programme, or facilitating company culture through internal communication.
A good company allows its employees to thrive
Software quality assurance is increasingly important as the digitalisation of our world continues at warp speed. A great employer recognises the value of professional SQA staff and will put measures in place to allow them to flourish. These measures include those that allow innovation and growth, proper management structures, and clear communication to allow their staff to perform their work optimally.