Software Testing: The Next Big Employment Wave

Date:   Monday , July 12, 2010

Software testing industry is gearing up to be one with high growth potential, and the inequality in supply and demand of talent makes it the next wave of employment growth.

According to Gartner, independent testing as a business globally is growing at 40 to 50 percent and there is a 35 to 40 percent growth in offshore testing services. As per the estimates of Ovum, the US alone spends a total of $ 59 billion on software testing. Of this total spend, only a meager $13 billion is outsourced as a service to the Asian countries. Given the reputation of India as an IT country, a total of 70 percent, totaling to $9.1 billion is garnered by Indian IT service providers. The application development and maintenance market has only demonstrated a CAGR of 19 percent year-on-year, in comparison to 47 percent by the independent testing services.

Given the growth opportunity, and saturation of the application development and maintenance business, all IT majors have made their investments in software testing services. This is evident from the fact that all IT majors now have testing centers of excellence and offer independent testing service. ďTill a few years back, the average deal sizes in outsourced testing projects were about $50,000 to $60,000 requiring a few testers to be on the job. Only certain parts and types of testing were being outsourced to India. Currently, independent software vendorís (ISV) are outsourcing end-to-end testing projects and the average deal sizes are around $2-4 million.

For India, to be prepared to grab a $9.1 billion pie of the outsourced testing market, the major challenge is to overcome the shortage of skilled resources. As per estimates, there is a shortage of 22,000 testers and potentially there will be a shortfall of 40,000 more in the years to come.

This shortage is now a major concern for the IT service organizations, considering that the academia is not geared up to support the program, and many of the training organizations are not geared up to meet the demand of the industry. In this scenario, the question still remains as to how is the industry planning to tackle the shortage of software testers?

The current education programs provided by independent training institutes in the market do not meet industry expectations. While the industry ideally looks forward to a resource that is truly industry-ready and can be deployed with minimal intervention of further training, most programs provide superficial knowledge and do not concentrate on testing skill development, thereby not capable of providing industry-ready software testers. The challenge we need to work on is in devising a curriculum that teaches enough and that includes relevant topics that are covered in depth. In addition to devising the curriculum and delivering it, there is a need for a industry-wide common agreement on the competency framework for testing professionals, and an acceptance by the industry members for the same framework.

Considering the present growth and potential in the software testing industry, the opportunities for software testers are enormous. While there is not enough training available to them, the pay package is certainly very encouraging with entry level salaries ranging anywhere between 1.4-3.6 lakhs. A career in testing can be as challenging and interesting as a development job. In fact, in some companies these days, software testers get paid even more than software developers.

Customers will want to ensure that software bugs donít eat up their dollar investments, and will demand better testing. This would make the total investments in testing grow, and this would mean that testing is here to stay and there is a great career for individuals with this skill sets.

The author is the CEO & Co-Founder Edista Testing