Recruit for Curiosity

Recruiting for testing roles these days should be mostly about curiosity, problem-solving and less about productivity and text book knowledge. Recruit for right brain skills – not so much operational process jockeys. 

Recently at UKSTAR 2018 Simon Prior talked about their investigation into University programs and their rare courses in testing. This lead to their twitter discussion under the tag: #makeAtester where the top responses of skills required was curiosity. Quite in line with the State of Testing Survey 2017 that lists key communication skills as most looked for when hiring for testing roles. Both surveys establish that testers are knowledge works.


Similarly HFresearch have compiled an analysis that even on a management level the trend is to hire for creative thinkers over “operational experts that improve business performance and productivity”.  Talent focus should be on right brain thinkers over – The wonks who spend all day staring at spreadsheets, focused on execution “left-brained” activities are less in demand .

But where do we find curiosity training?

If that is the skills we are looking for perhaps we should stop looking at university programs in computer science or engineering, when we want to recruit testers. I have a computer science master degree, and that was really theoretical and while it somewhat focused on problem solving, the lesson was rarely about thinking outside the box.

I think I would rather hire people with business domain skills and train testing theory, than hire a process jockey with no experiences in besides textbook examples. That’s also how I came into testing myself, practical activities first – formal training later.

Perhaps it’s not as such important to have an university degree to get into testing. Though it helps 🙂 A diverse background is important, I know of librarians, laboratory technicians and humanities majors that bring good competencies to the testing field.

Finding one higher education that focuses on building curiosity, whole picture thinkers is hard – perhaps dungeons and dragons, as also discussed at the conference?

4 thoughts on “Recruit for Curiosity

  1. I don’t think that there is any one qualification or career route that brings someone to testing because of their ‘curiosity’. I was recruited to my current role, it seems, because of a wide range of experience in testing in different companies and organisations, and (I suspect) because of the perspective that all the other stuff I’ve done has given me that I apply to my testing work.

    One of the conversations that I had early in this role was whether I wanted to take the ISTQB qualification, because I started testing so long ago, this didn’t exist! In the end, we decided that I would be better off improving my knowledge through interactions with the testing community and waiti9ng to see what specialist, more focussed areas of learning would be more useful to me as they arise.

    I qualified as a librarian very many years ago but only ever did ten months’ professional work as an information science professional. The rest of my experience was in the UK Civil Service working in diverse areas such as social security, industrial injuries and water industry economics. But some of the stuff I did outside those roles also informs the approaches I take to testing and working with other devs and testers.

    I’ve recently seen commentators talking about the need for “generalists” in a range of different fields, which I find funny, because the Civil Service used to value generalists until they were deemed to lack specific expert focus in key areas. Perhaps the wheel is turning again!

    Liked by 1 person

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