Organisation – Moolya
Role/Designation – Test Manager
Location – Bangalore, India
Parimala Shankaraiah has seven plus years of experience in testing as well as mentoring teams of software testers. Apart from testing that she is most passionate about, she loves to mentor upcoming testers and students. She writes frequently about her testing experiences at Curious Tester.
She is also a regular contributor of articles on testing and issues concerning testing. Her hobbies include reading books, blogs, magazines etc. She is a great foodie and a self-confessed emotional overeater who eats to beat every emotion in the world.
1. How long have you been associated with software testing?
It’s been great 7.5 years now and I am enjoying each and every moment.
2. How did you become a software tester?
Same old traditional story! Graduated in 2003 and started hunting for a job at a time when my own seniors weren’t yet placed in jobs thanks to the recession in 2001. After innumerable tests and umpteen number of interviews, I finally landed a job. As a tester. All I needed at the time was a job. Testing or Development didn’t matter and I took it up.
3. By any means, do you regret being associated with software testing?
Hell NO! Not a single time in all these years! My friends and classmates played down my job offer from a reputed MNC saying “Testing is a boring job. Blah! Blah! Blah!” I dismissed their views as comments filled with jealousy as I was the highest paid student in my batch at that time. When many people started telling the same thing, I said to myself ‘Let me give myself 3 months time. If I don’t like what I am doing, I’ll quit and look out for a job in development just like the rest of the souls”. At the end of 3 months, Ilooked back and I knew that I was part of a highly satisfying and flourishing profession of ‘All times.’
Do you think software testing is less respected than other departments in IT industry?
It depends. I have worked for a couple large organizations that think testing is an obstacle. I have also worked for a couple smaller ones which iconize testing. It varies from company to company irrespective of being large or small. One thing I have noticed very often is that Software Testing as a profession appears to be less respected because some big guys in the organization build that kind of a culture among people who work there. They keep preaching how testing delays releases, how it burdens timelines and how testers are lousy because they neither test COMPLETELY nor do they find ALL bugs. And that mentality drills down to the lowest possible level within the organization eventually forcing testers and many others to think that it is a less respected profession. If software testing was less respected, it would have perished by now. As simple as that!
5. What will you suggest to people who want to join IT industry as software testers?
Dear xyz, if you want to flourish in testing, have the right attitude and good communication skills in addition to good testing skills. Else, be rest assured that you’ll die in boredom or move to a different profession.
Added to that, whoever wants to join testing is welcome. There are ample opportunities in testing. Not because it’s an often ignored or less respected career option, but because testing is one of the professions which respects and values diversity. Whether people are from technical background or not, they come with a brand new perspective which works wonders for any team.
In addition, doing some amount of groundwork like testing open source projects, reading books, blogs, magazines, being as diverse as possible by solving puzzles, developing critical and lateral thinking skills and networking with the right people who are willing to help will allow wannabe testers to do well in this profession. So all you people who are curious to explore testing, Welcome Onboard!
6. Where do you see Software Testing in next five years?
Exciting Question! I see software testing at the top rung of many organizations in the next five years. We currently have amazing testing leaders across the world who are toiling day and night to educate organizations about the value of testing and how it’s a boon and not a bane. As this network of leaders reaches out to more and more testers, many more leaders will be born who will eventually get absorbed into organizations and become great change agents. In the next five years, I also foresee testers develop the courage and confidence to challenge blind beliefs and age old conventions. Not just talk, but be able to show how they can add more value if they are given more freedom.
7. What qualities will you look for in a candidate when you want to recruit someone for software testing job?
Right attitude followed by a strong urge to learn and perform in addition to good testing skills. There are great examples of teaching certain languages, tools or even doing some tasks. However, there are no examples where curiosity and the urge to learn can be taught. Adaptability and flexibility are key skills too. Ability to think differently and test products is very important. For me, soft skills is as much important as any technical skill because at the end of the day, we mostly work with humans and it’s important to exhibit strong emotional intelligence over time.
8. Your weekend routine?
Eat well, Sleep well and Relax with Family (not necessarily in that order). Apart from that, I catch up with some reading mostly books. Occasionally, I test some open source products or anything that catches my attention (for e.g. Recently, I was testing how set top box responds to different options on the remote and found a couple cool flaws). I enjoy going on long walks too.
9. Movie you would like to watch again?
Shawshank Redemption, Pretty Woman, Shakespeare in Love, and All movies directed by Shekar Kapur, K Balachander, Balu Mahendran and K Viswanath.
10. “I am a social networking site geek” Or “I hate facebook/orkut/twitter”?
I dislike face book and orkut for sure. I do exist there to keep in touch with school and college friends. I love twitter because it keeps me updated on latest happenings in the testing world. I more or less follow people who are related to testing. Another good thing with twitter is there is so much of information posted out there. Though I get bogged down with information at many times, being on twitter helps me be in total control of my skills and knowledge.