Career path for Tester

A student asked: What is a career for software tester? What is the average salary for tester? Somebody told me that tester make less money than programmer. Is it true?”

Answer: There are two types of software tester: An entry level tester and professional testers, people who make a career in testing software. Therefore, tester salary is depending on the type and their skills. Most people who work in an entry level testers are college graduates, they do not have a lot of experience so company put them in this position for them to learn. When they have enough experience, they will move on to programmer, developer, or designer positions etc. In this case, the salary of entry level testers is lower than other positions. However, for professional testers, people who have a lot of experiences but decide to stay as testers. In this case, their salary is dependent on the value that they add to the company. Basically, there is no differentiation between tester, developer and designer’s salary structures.

There is a career path for testers from entry level to professional position: Software people starts as entry level tester, move to senior tester, test team leader, and eventually test manager. They starts by performing some low level tests (Unit test, Function test) then move to higher level tests (Integration tests, Alpha tests, Beta tests, acceptance tests etc.) then move to specialize areas such as create test cases, test scripts, automation tests, test strategy, test procedures, test policies, testing techniques, methodical test advice and support, technical test advice specialist, test tools selection.

In order to keep good quality testers within a company, manager must spend time developing the soft skills of testers as they are moving from working with developers to working with project manager, managers, customers etc.. Professional testing team is a critical function of all software companies, they are not just perform test but also support developers, designers, project managers and senior managers in their works. Good company always provide an environment for testers to grow in their skill.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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