Software testing has huge public image problem and nobody really knows why. Or we do know why? Here is my version with main four points.
#1 You cannot study testing
Universities has tons of programs for applied sciences, but it is new to offer courses in software testing. Is it a real science? If yes – why I cannot study it? If not – why should I care?
#2 Anyone can test
How people get tester jobs? By accident! Wrong place, wrong time, no other opportunities, last chance to stay in company etc. I am no exception myself – my first testing tasks I got on my summer intern ship. Time to time all testing teams gets an offer to overtake bad performing developer, shop manager or other. While testers has a lot of empathy, usually they accept the candidate. In many cases it turns positive for both sides, but very important is a message to the outside: testing is not important, everyone can do testing, all bad performing employees we can relocate to software testing.
#3 Self confidence
What kind of people takes and sticks to the job, described above? My guess – people with low self confidence. There are many jokes about geeks, especially about their social skills and confidence problems. I see it applying daily for testers as well. Of course once you had a chance to attend local testing group or a conference, you will meet another kind of testers. But how many do that?
#4 Communication and other soft skills
No matter that every second tester says that communication is important testing skill, looks that we do it all wrong. We are testers, we tell people that we are trained to test a software with various approaches. For example, we observe piece of software as a black box. Sending signals in and analysing coming out signals. If we would take a look to our image problem as a result of communication black box, than it is clear that we are sending wrong signals. Projects are different, customer needs are different, so why to keep focusing on found/open/fixed bugs? Why to use the same weekly report template?
Points above are my experience, lessons learned and observations. I found my way and can say that it works for me. For you I can suggest to learn your domain, to work on your self esteem and communication skills. Try to explain your kid or granny what do you do and why. Why one method is better then another? What do you try to find out? Why it is important to know? How do you collect and present the results? What profit has project manager, developer and a customer from this information? Use your experience as a solid base, but do not stop to look for new ways how to test. If your message has no advantage to other stakeholders than it is unnecessary.