I hear every now and then comments like “Google pays testers as much as developers”. On the other side, as I look around, I often see testers with much smaller salaries than fellow developers. Now what is causing this difference? I’ll provide 3 different explanations and look forward on readers to comment their own views on the matter.
1) You don’t separate from others.
Ask from your managers (depending on company structure, this could be for example test manager, unit manager and HR manager) how you are different than other testers in the company. If they can’t give good answers, you need to start working on getting those answers for them. Now! You need to be able to stand out. You don’t want to be transparent for those people who decide your salary and affect on your career. Be creative and show passion to your line of work. Don’t settle for asking what is expected from you but amaze people with your ideas.
2) You are working in a wrong company.
I understand we need to make choices in our lives and not everyone can work in the best company. Don’t get discouraged because of this. Everyone needs to start from somewhere and get food on the table. You can try to change the company, but if that is not going to happen, start looking for new opportunities. There are lots of great companies in the world and you can even make one yourself. Here are a few signs of a company you want to get rid of:
· Managers and/or Developers don’t value testing
· You don’t have the chance to participate conferences or other means to increase your skills and network
· There is a lot of documentation involved (test case design, test planning, …) and metrics (numbers) are appreciated as the main measurement of testing efficiency/quality/performance
· You are often told to do extra hours because “there is a release on Friday”
3) You are not as good as you think you are.
Testing is not about being the bug hunting hero. It’s not about being the guy who finds the "best" bugs. Of course, part of the job is to find issues, but when we are talking about being a professional, we are talking about many other things. Your value to the company is increased significantly when you start training others, participate conferences, read books, recommend books to others, help developers to avoid mistakes… Especially the information sharing part is often overlooked. Make others better and your importance to the company will grow. Be more important than the fake hero of the test lab.