Monday, November 1, 2010

Developer and Tester Pay

When I'm building a development team, I'm looking for certain characteristics:
  • ability to learn quickly
  • logical thinking
  • familiarity with common patterns and techniques
  • knowledge of relevant tools
  • self-directed and able to solve problems on their own
When I'm building a test team, I'm looking for certain characteristics:
  • ability to learn quickly
  • logical thinking
  • familiarity with common patterns and techniques
  • knowledge of relevant tools
  • self-directed and able to solve problems on their own
Those look the same!

In many ways, testers and developers are really quite similar. A lot of the expectations we have for developers are the same as the expectations I have for testers.

So why would I pay my testers and my developers differently?

I'm hiring a software professional. Sometimes it's a software professional who happens to have expertise in front-end technologies; sometimes it's a software professional who happens to have experience with file systems; sometimes it's a software professional who happens to have experience with performance analysis. In all cases, I'm prepared to pay according to how rare that expertise is. Your average kernel developer is going to cost more than your average web developer. Your average performance tester is going to cost more than your average GUI tester.

Judge by the expertise you need, not by the title you're going to give. That will tell you how much you need to pay for the next software professional you hire.

3 comments:

  1. Wouldn't you expect a developer to be able to fix the issues found, and a tester to be better at finding issues than a developer?

    There's a ton of overlap, but they're not the same person. (And depending on the market plus other specialties of the context, one might be more rare than the other.)

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  2. Yoav, absolutely. I also expect a file system developer to be very familiar with the NFS spec and a web developer to understand CSS. Again, ton of overlap, but not the same person. Hence the emphasis on skills rather than title.

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  3. This balance is broken in outsourcing I believe. Developers there want more just because they are dev. And testers don't struggle too much either to do something serious.

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