The Value of Quality Assurance

by | Nov 16, 2019

Since I achieved my MBA years ago, I have viewed our discipline in a different set of eyes. I am speaking about the value QA will provide and removing the stereotypes that people have regarding it. I have lost count on how many times I need to correct people when discussing my career.

“What do you do?”

“I am a Director of QA”

“QA?”

“Quality Assurance”

“Oh, you test things?”

Then I would go into a long conversation of what it is I do. Now don’t get me wrong I do talk about how I am responsible for “Testing,” it is I go further down the rabbit hole in what that all involves.

Now when this conversation started about early in my career, I would have just agreed that I “test things” and left it at that. With what I have learned and practiced, this lowers the value.

As a discipline and community, I feel that are some areas that don’t help the cause to legitimize better what it is that we do. Just as there are great books, speakers, articles and classes on the subject matter, there are more than lowers people’s views of what it means to be QA.

Just recently, I searched for courses on QA and Test planning for some peers that were looking for something to do outside of going to a physical class. A few contained certification standards, while others were just sites that offered a course or a series of lessons. Viewing some of the overviews, I provided some recommendations and sent them off.

Do say I was disappointed with the feedback coming back on what they went through is an understatement. The courses did not even go into QA; they focused on Quality Control. Physical testing of software not trying to avoid issues early. I get it; it is something that we do within the discipline. What gets me upset is they talked about learning everything they need to know about QA. In the overview, it looked like they were going to go over some of that; unfortunately, it was wrong.

I have asked this for years is “why can’t there be a diploma program on software QA?”. There are ones for software engineering and development. To help with that, I am trying to get into post-secondary institutions to see what can be done to get that going or to enhance what they already have. I feel getting something a little more substantial than a printed piece of paper with some third party logo in the corner for attending a three or 5-day course would help legitimize the QA discipline more.

We as a community have to not only show the value of QA to those on the outside; we need to also keep up the value realization within ourselves. Help each other build and grow.

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