State of the Industry


In the column, "May I Take Your Temperature?" by Linda Hayes, you were asked to rate the state of the testing industry and your current level of satisfaction as a tester. Many of you responded to Linda's survey, and the results surprised her. Linda shares a revision of her state of the industry, as reported by you!

Good news: My pessimistic view of the state of the testing industry, as described in my last column, "May I Take Your Temperature?" was disproved by the survey results. Not only are a majority of responders enjoying their jobs as testers, but they offer useful and even profound advice. Here is what we found:

The average tester stays in a company for just under three years. That's a range from a high of about ten years in one place to only six weeks. Many are contractors, which may skew the numbers lower. Those who spent a long time at a single company typically rotated through a number of roles and/or divisions. The average time spent in testing as a career was almost nine years, with a high of thirty years. If people can stay in testing that long, it can't be all bad.

Do You Enjoy Your Job?
Think about whether you look forward to going to work and feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of the day. Rate this on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means you are a candidate for anti-depressants and 5 means you spend your free time improving your testing skills.

As the graph below shows, most testers actually enjoy what they do. The average response was 3.6 out of 5. Again, shows what I know. Far from being depressed and downtrodden, most testers show enthusiasm for their job.

As you will see when we get to the bonus question, a lot of this can be credited to individuals' adopting healthy and realistic views of their job as opposed to external influences.

About the author

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes

Linda G. Hayes is a founder of Worksoft, Inc., developer of next-generation test automation solutions. Linda is a frequent industry speaker and award-winning author on software quality. She has been named as one of Fortune magazine's People to Watch and one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Dallas Business Journal. She is a regular columnist and contributor to and Better Software magazine, as well as a columnist for Computerworld and Datamation, author of the Automated Testing Handbook and co-editor Dare To Be Excellent with Alka Jarvis on best practices in the software industry. You can contact Linda at

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