I read an article by Angie Jones the other day entitled - 7 Habits of Highly Effective SDETs. If you know me, you know how enamored I am of Steven Covey and Angie, so I read it with great anticipation. 

And indeed, it was a great piece that focused on the evolution of testing and the testers role.

But it also made me think about testers in a different way. A melancholier way. It reminded me of the song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, by Pete Seeger. It’s a very dated folk song written in 1955. A year before my birth ;-)


Years ago, I spent two plus decades building software development teams. Quite often, I was part of a growing organization, so we were constantly on the lookout for solid software engineers and testers.

I interviewed a lot. I gained a sense of what good (and great) developers and testers looked like. And I hired lots of them.

As the agile revolution unfolded, I took great pride in building organizations with cross-functional development teams. And I saw the difference that professional testers made on those teams.

Not just by testing. But by other aspects. For example,

  • the way they thought about the customer

  • the incredibly valuable questions they asked and how they made the team think

  • the thoroughness they brought to the table, for example, in considering rainy day design concerns

  • their courage and ability to tell truth when everyone else was so gosh darn…optimistic

  • the nuanced experience they brought to software developer every time they paired with them

  • in simple terms, they often added greater diversity and perspective to their agile teams.

Saddens me

Now there appears to be a trend that is devaluing, undermining, and perhaps removing the role of the professional tester. Not the aggregated SDET role, but the role of tester (and focused testing). 

As Angie’s article reminds me, we are now looking for testers who can write code. Who are automaters. Who understand current technology trends like DevOps, Digital Transformation, AI & Machine Learning, and Blockchains.

Mind you, not that her article is wrong. It sure seems to be the evolution of testing.

But what saddens me is that we seem to be blending software testing into software development. And while, they are certainly complementary skills, I think there are separate concerns.

Goodbye Dear Testers

So, to wrap things up, I say goodbye to all of those professional testers that I value so highly. Perhaps folks will realize your current and ongoing value. I sure do. But, perhaps not.

I wish you well in wherever your journey takes you. And I also hope that folks on the SDET bandwagon might someday realize their mistake…

Stay agile my friends,


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