For last few years I have been quite dormant in the job market, thanks to ThoughtWorks where I spent most of the last decade. However since moving out of ThoughtWorks I have kept my ears close to the ground so have been contacted by many companies / headhunters and recruiters alike. And I sincerely thank them for reaching out.
However barring a few none of the opportunities and offers have excited me.
And I have pretty much figured out why – The issue is in what I can/want to offer versus whats required.
Most of the time such openings are looking for a role to be filled . Test Analyst, Test manager ,Snr Test Engineer, Automation specialist, even “automated tester” – i wonder what that even means, QA lead, QA manager and so on. They then go on to mention responsibilities such as – agile testing, creating test plans, writing automated tests(blindly putting in selenium – in some cases even if it were a mainframe system), experience – large program of work , scrum , bdd , tdd , acceptance criteria, manual testing . technologies web, java, microsoft, datawarehouse , mobile, ISTQB certification, excellent verbal and written comms skills defect management, jira , sdlc , stlc , stakeholder management, nothing – absolutely nothing is left to be mentioned everything is required for a role. Duration – 6 months contract role, initial three months and then opportunity to extend 6 months. I mean nailing it down to a duration and then even speculating that it could extend. That’s truly amazing. Truly an art I say.
And that sort of is my point.
Such job requirements/opening / opportunities are literally crying out loud (at least to me) and saying -” We don’t know what we want – we have a seat we need a head and a bum to keep it warm”.OR “We just had a planning for next year something like that and and we figured we are one “tester” less”.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to shoot the messenger here. Specifically headhunters/recruiters whose primary job, in my opinion is to differentiate between chalk and cheese and then present the best candidate they can find.
The only question I end up asking to the other side on the line is – what’s the problem you want to solve? If that question doesn’t have a specific , objective , concise and reasonable response then I know its not for me or honestly I am not up for it.
Because certification or not – I know whats needed to be a tester. Selenium or not -I know what the principles for automation are, why and how to do it. Scrum or no scrum I – know what it takes to collaborate. Story card or not – I know what a good requirements versus a bad is. Test strategy in a powerpoint or a 10 page document or not – I know what its like to truly implement a test pyramid or encourage and establish tdd practices, or involve users to write acceptance criteria. Defects / bugs / issues or not – I know what quality is. Jira or not – I know how to communicate a bug / issue / unfulfilled requirements to a developer. Jenkins / Bamboo or GoCD or Not – I know what it takes to institutionalise a continuous integration , continuous delivery practice for a team or at scale.Burn Up or Burn down or not – I can figure out if a team has rhythm or whether a team needs mentoring or coaching and areas where i can help .Scrum and/or Kanban or not – I know what it means to retrospect/adapt/improve and keep moving ahead. Story points or no-estimation or not – I know what story sizing means and how to do it. stakeholder management or not I value regular feedback , frequent relevant honest updates, facilitation techniques.Whether I “managed” team of 2 or team of 20 I know how purpose driven , task oriented teams perform and how to bring together a group of people and give them purpose and pride in their day jobs
The next time i pick up a phone i hope to hear more about the problem, challenges or vision(and obstacles to achieve those) rather than a list of software tools, programming languages and certifications that i should possess.