The Great Indian Testing Dream..!

Author: Pradeep C
CEO, Edista Testing Institute
Software Testing sure does present a great opportunity for growth for major Indian IT Service Providers. With 70 percent of the worldwide outsourced testing services coming to India, we could not ask for anything better. However, the question to ask ourselves is if the enterprises are making the right moves at the right speed, in the right direction to capitalize on the opportunity at hand, and maintain our leadership position.

For the past 6 years starting 2004, Indian IT Service Providers have realized a great business opportunity in Independent Testing Services. The opportunity has grown from a small business of US$ 10 Mn to a whopping US$ 9.1 Bn, demonstrating an average CAGR of 47% over the past years. With over 132,000 members employed purely in Independent Testing Services, the line of business is certainly recognized as an important growth segment and contributor in the Indian IT Industry, and certainly a recession proof business to invest in.

The growth of business has created a new set of challenges, and does question a few paradigms on how the business is really run. The question really is on how the new challenges are being addressed by our enterprises.

Product Quality is the main focus. Many customers have learnt and have started to demand their partners to improve product or deliverable quality. By shifting focus to reducing the cost of quality in their operations, customers have clearly given the status of Business Criticality to the Software Testing activities and projects.

Not just functionality. Traditionally, the testing was focused on Functionality of the system. However, increasingly, organizations are focusing on Performance, Reliability, Security, and Usability as important aspects to be demonstrated for the product. In addition, given the requirement to do Integrated Development; issues like compatibility, installation, internationalization have been seen as necessary to test by many organizations today.

Rise of the Cloud. Cloud computing takes the web to the next level of challenge in terms of performance, security, compliance, and alignment with the business. While Cloud enables much larger opportunity, it poses interesting challenges for testing in a virtualized, distributed environment with multiple configurations. Additionally, cloud can enable the reduction of automation costs for enterprises in a direct manner.

Gold is at the bottom of the pyramid, and so should the cost of finding it be. Organizations have realized that many customers still treat Testing as a cost, and unless we reduce the cost of operation it would not continue to grow at the same rate in India. Given this, there has been a constant thrust and effort to move the costs down the pyramid, by using junior resources for the job at hand.

The technical and business challenges are compounded and magnified, when coupled with the challenge of required, available and ready-to-employ talent.

Shortage of Talent. Interestingly, many organizations continue to face the shortage of ready-deployable talent. This rapid growth in demand for software testing services has had a corresponding impact on the supply side. In 2006 alone, there was a shortfall of 15,000 software testing professionals in India.

Some of the many reasons for the widening gap are lack of educational institutes providing structured and well-designed training programs; poor understanding and implementation of software testing practices; lack of a unified competency framework, lack of common body of knowledge [standards, methods, tools]; lack of common forums for exchange of best practices. If India can so effectively deliver and scale up testing services, which are based on manpower, it must be good at training in all forms. For testing, specialized integrated industry ready education is the need of the hour.

Given the shortage, and the growth of business demand, organizations have started partnering with educational institutions to produce talent to specification and , just-in-time with no additional costs being incurred by the enterprise.

Testing is a preferred career option. Many professionals have now begun to look upon software testing as a preferred career option. This is due to the imbalance of demand and supply of deployable resources. Another reason for this is a faster career progression, which is also a result of the same imbalance. For instance, a trainee can rapidly progress through the levels of test engineer, senior test engineer, team lead, test manager and then into other management roles within the organization.

Organizations on their part have also taken initiatives to ramp up their existing workforce in-line with client demands. Many organizations have comprehensive induction and orientation programs for new team members. Mentoring and training is imparted to them through international certifications, like CSTE offered by QAI Global Institute.

Structured Skill Enhancement Investment is a Must. Many Indian organizations are allocating significant amounts towards skill enhancement of their staff to achieve competitive advantage in this field. Organizations need to understand that learning should be a continuous process and organizations need to help employees, at all levels, to aid them in identifying their learning paths and support them to achieve it by providing enhancement avenues and encouraging them to acquire skills to get to their desired role. The benefit of this initiative is two-pronged – the employees will feel empowered and have more clarity on where they are headed and helps in reducing noise and issues relating to job stagnation, role enhancement, etc. To supplement the learning paths and to assess the skills acquired, companies need to instigate the need for certifications. Learning paths act as a step-by-step guide providing competency assessment at each step, skill acquisition for the next step and certification milestones at designated intervals.

The complexity of software systems and the demand of customers and users are increasing every day. With the current state of practice and lack of educated test teams, projects often are unable to perform adequate testing of software systems that control different aspects of our lives. In spite of all this, formal academic programs seldom provide even rudimentary coverage of software testing, let alone teaching it as a discipline.

Each company does what it believes will work, creating more of a confusion, rather than a solution. The current scenario mandates the industry stakeholders seriously consider collaborative ecosystem focusing on consolidating, creating, applying, and amplifying the need and practice of structured software testing. One of the most effective ways to establish a profession is education. That education must cover all areas of study that can serve the profession. Developing a Body of Knowledge (BOK) and a universally accepted competency framework is an essential first step to establishing software testing as a profession and educating our testers. That Body of knowledge needs to be mastered by everyone who performs software testing.

Education is the only way to establish testing as a discipline and to change the perception that it is an ad hoc activity that requires minimal training.

Customers will want to ensure that software bugs don't eat up their dollar investments, and will demand better testing. This would make the total investments in Testing only grow, and this would mean that Testing is here to stay, and there is a great career for individuals with this skill sets.

As the great hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, once said - we should skate to where the puck will be, not where it has been for realizing the goal, if we do not prepare ourselves for the scenario of where the puck will be, the great Indian Testing Dream may be short-lived...!
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Reader's comments(10)
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Posted by: pamela teamah littlepame - Wednesday 18th, May 2011
4: Well thought article coming straight from CEO, Great to see and nice to read. Rightly put "Each company does what it believes will work, creating more of a confusion, rather than a solution"
Yes there one sector where Management are bothered more on just increasing head-count and thereby revenue, it appears to be working to an extent...but in long run for a more serious Customer when the actual realization dawns things does not work.
A serious technical/managerial, knowledgeable person are not appreciated in industry, be it small or medium or big. They are seen more as threat by seniors than as asset to the organization, rather a half baked (or person who does more of talking than of action) person gets all appreciation and climbs up quickly so organization ends up with such people in senior most position, and ultimate result only such people prosper.
There are lot for the Indian IT industry to improve by the way of knowing the right approach to testing, the design techniques to apply and means of writing good test cases but unfortunately be it small, big or medium the companies have no openness in improving their community knowledge. One hardly hears a testing person being sent for improving his or her skills. They all are just like frog in the well, we have all, we know all and we are the best. Obviously since rest are not visible.
By and large testing has been taken very lightly and even by practitioners. Who takes up testing? by and large all those who do not find any other avenues to get into IT Companies are also to blame, since they lookout to fill their cadres with those workout cheap after all at the end they have to make dollars, right? so more the difference between revenue – cost better it is for project and so do for the organization.
Given this situation what knowledge can these people from industry impart to students and nurture them?
All said and done as it is always been, there are however some exception. So things keep running as long as Customer(more so if they belong to non-IT sector) does not find new and better vendor to work with, but buy then they would have been milked enough.
Posted by: shrinath s - Wednesday 11th, May 2011
5: Good to know these. One more point I would like to add is, there are fast growing start ups in this area (e.g. , which rapidly moved up and deliver a value for $ to customer.
Thus, simply grown and growing filed of testing - a great Indian Testing Dream.
Posted by: Gaurav India - Wednesday 04th, May 2011
6: Pradeep sir Its very Interesting and Thought Provoking
Posted by: srini vasan D - Friday 21st, January 2011
7: very nice post.thanks for sharing a information.

More info:-
Posted by: Elan Emerging Technologies - Wednesday 29th, December 2010
8: Skill on testing is one aspect but this can not be scaled up without development knowledge or generic scripting knowledge and domain knowledge. From my experience i strongly believe that tester must have development exp too. If the job does not provide this opportunity then they must get trained on their own. Most of the people think that Testing is stepping stone for development but i would rather say that this is reverse. Unless a person is good developer he can not be a good tester and vice versa.
Posted by: Duraivelu Senthilnathan - Tuesday 28th, December 2010
9: Hi,

In hyderabad we have different institutes for training of software testing but if you want to go for good institue i will suggest for reliance global services. it is located in ameerpet lane opp to chandana brothers. for more details call them on 040-66666165/156. they are authorised training partners of QAI. so they are providing software testing with certifications,

Software testing training in hyderabad|Bangalore|Chennai

Posted by: Bharath rgs - Monday 13th, December 2010
10: Thank you sir for writing good article on testing. Can I ask one query here : My experience is of 8 years now in deployment, testing (unit/integration/acceptance) in IT field.
Can i know what should i do now to enhance my career further ahead? Aspects in management line, how to grow?
Regards Ambrish
Posted by: Ambrish Kapoor - Saturday 13th, November 2010
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