The role of testers has undergone a significant transformation. Traditionally, testers focused on manual testing, ensuring that software met specified requirements and performed as expected.

However, with the rise of agile methodologies and DevOps practices, there is a growing emphasis on testers acquiring coding skills.

The question arises: is coding for testers a strategic advantage, empowering them to stay relevant in the dynamic industry, or does it impose an unnecessary burden? Let's delve into the pros and cons of coding for testers.

According to a recent survey by the Association for Software Testing and Quality Assurance (ASTQA), 80% of testers believe that it is important or very important for testers to be able to code. The survey also found that 60% of testers have some coding skills.

Many leaders in the software testing industry believe that coding is an essential skill for testers. For example, Glenford J. Myers, the author of The Art of Software Testing, believes that testers who can code are more effective and valuable than those who cannot.

A Strategic Advantage or a Burden?

Testers are often expected to have a broad range of skills, including the ability to code. While coding can be a valuable asset for testers, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding whether or not to learn how to code.

Coding for Testers


Automation Empowerment:

Efficiency Boost: Coding allows testers to automate repetitive and time-consuming test scenarios, leading to faster test execution and quicker feedback loops.

Regression Testing: Automated tests can be rerun effortlessly, ensuring that changes to the codebase don't introduce unintended consequences, a crucial aspect of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.

Enhanced Test Coverage:

Complex Scenarios: Testers with coding skills can create intricate test scenarios that go beyond the scope of manual testing, providing more comprehensive coverage of the application under test.

Edge Cases: Automation facilitates the testing of edge cases that might be challenging or impractical to test manually, contributing to a more robust and resilient application.

Integration with DevOps Practices:

Collaboration: Testers who can code can seamlessly collaborate with developers in an integrated DevOps environment. This collaboration fosters a shared responsibility for quality throughout the development lifecycle.

Continuous Testing: Coding skills enable testers to integrate testing into the development process, ensuring that testing is not a bottleneck but an integral part of the continuous delivery pipeline.

Career Advancement:

Market Demand: In the current job market, there is a high demand for testers with coding skills. Acquiring these skills can open up new career opportunities and make testers more versatile in their roles.

Adaptability: Coding skills make testers adaptable to changing technological landscapes, allowing them to stay relevant and valuable in the face of evolving industry trends.


Learning Curve:

Time and Resources: Learning to code takes time and effort. Testers may face challenges in balancing their testing responsibilities with acquiring coding skills, especially if deadlines are tight.

Initial Frustration: The learning curve can be steep, and testers may experience frustration as they navigate through coding challenges, potentially impacting their job satisfaction.

Maintenance Overhead:

Script Maintenance: Automated tests require ongoing maintenance to keep pace with changes in the application code. Testers may find themselves spending a significant amount of time troubleshooting and updating scripts.

Tool Dependence: Testers may become overly reliant on automation tools, potentially overlooking the importance of manual testing for certain scenarios.

Risk of Over-Automation:

Misguided Automation: Without a solid understanding of testing principles, testers with coding skills might be tempted to automate everything, including scenarios that are better suited for manual testing. This can lead to a false sense of security and missed critical issues.

Potential Dilution of Core Testing Skills:

Dependency on Tools: Testers may become overly dependent on automation tools, potentially neglecting their core testing skills. The ability to think critically, design effective test cases, and understand end-user perspectives remains paramount.

Few Things Testers Can Do

Few Things Testers Can Do

If you are a tester who is considering learning how to code, there are a few things you can do to decide if it is right for you. First, consider your current job duties.

Do you think that coding skills would be helpful in your current role? If so, then learning how to code may be a good investment of your time.

Second, consider your career goals. Do you want to advance in your career? If so, then learning how to code may be a necessary step.

Third, consider your learning style. Are you a self-learner? If so, there are many resources available online and in libraries that can help you learn how to code. If you prefer to learn in a classroom setting, there are also many coding bootcamps and courses available.

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Coding for Testers

Coding for Testers

Whether or not coding is right for you depends on your individual circumstances. If you are considering learning how to code, weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

There are many resources available to help you learn how to code, so if you are interested, I encourage you to explore the options available to you.

In the debate over whether coding for testers is a strategic advantage or a burden, the answer lies in striking a balance. Coding skills undoubtedly empower testers to be more efficient, collaborate seamlessly in a DevOps environment, and advance their careers.

However, the learning curve, maintenance overhead, and the risk of over-automation necessitate careful consideration. Ultimately, coding should be viewed as a valuable tool in a tester's toolkit rather than a replacement for core testing skills.

Organizations should encourage a holistic approach, fostering an environment where testers can leverage coding strategically while maintaining a strong foundation in manual testing principles.

With the right balance, coding for testers can indeed be a powerful strategic advantage in today's fast-paced and dynamic software development landscape.

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