I’ve always been an avid writer, even as a kid. So when it came to career choices my decision to enter a profession that demanded writing skills seemed like a natural fit.
I started out as a newspaper reporter, following in my father’s footsteps, but as the jobs and money there began drying up in the mid-1990’s I took my interest in Technology and made the jump to writing for high tech companies and have been happy doing this job ever since.
For many years, I served as something of a “ghost writer,” writing press releases on behalf of my employers or articles for magazines, journals, books, papers, web sites and other media, all of which were printed under the names of corporate executives. Then came the advent of “the blog.” Many years after my last newspaper byline, I finally had that gratification of seeing my own name attached to a printed piece of writing…and it felt good. I have really enjoyed blogging on the industry about which I had learned so much over the past decade and a half.
But apparently there are people out there who claim to love their jobs even more. Last month, Forbes reported that the career-search site CareerBliss had conducted a poll of the “20 Happiest Jobs” and number one on the list was software quality assurance engineer.
Now some might be surprised at this result. After witnessing what happened last year – the near weekly reports of security breaches, glitches and outages – I’m sure there are some who would have thought this would be a profession under a great deal of stress. They might point to the security breaches and the outages that have made news not only in the Tech press, but also nationally and globally, and say that maybe they’re happy because these issues bring them job security.
As Forbes reported on the CareerBliss study, though:
“software quality assurance engineers said they are more than satisfied with the people they work with and the company they work for. They’re also fairly content with their daily tasks and bosses.”
Forbes also notes that these professionals also earn salaries of around $100K per year – give or take a couple ten thousand – which undoubtedly adds to their satisfaction.
Personally, I think the reasons for questioning why software quality assurance engineers are happy should be chalked up to the “there’s one in every crowd” mentality. After all, those whose job it is to ensure that a company’s application software is structurally sound know their jobs and reputations are on the line every time something is deployed.
What they must also realize, however, is that this job is finally earning the respect it deserves and maybe, at long last, their insistence upon quality is being heard. As organizations that experience software issues – like Google, Apple, Sony, Toyota, Citi, even the Federal Government – begin to recognize the damage that can be done to their reputations, not to mention sales and security, the importance of the software quality assurance engineer becomes amplified.
Realizing this, executives on the business sides of organizations should now realize that miscues cannot be overlooked in the name of marketing. They should also recognize not only the importance of software quality, but also the need for improved tools to assess software quality. Whereas those who monitored for software quality in the past had to pour over line after line of code to find indiscretions, today’s version of that engineer can apply platforms of automated analysis and measurement that are far more sophisticated and efficient, performing thousands of permutations per second to locate discrepancies in new and even old code. These types of tools are now no longer just the luxury of large enterprises as some are now available on a “Software as a Service” (i.e., SaaS) basis via the cloud.
Even those within the development community – at least those who truly take pride in their work – recognize the need for intense analysis of application software. Rather than feeling like “Big Brother” is watching, they see the causal relationship between structural quality analysis and good application software.
Good work environment, good pay and the satisfaction of knowing you’re responsible for good software – I’d say those are elements of a good job…but I still like mine better.