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Introducing the Test Engineering Society

There are many communities both large and small that support testers and QA practitioners. Often, their focus is on testing as a technical activity, using particular tools, in a specific industry or using certain approaches and processes. They have distinct identities, and address different needs of practitioners working in different sectors, locations or industries. Practitioners greatly benefit from these community, networking and learning opportunities of course.

The certification schemes (primarily ISTQB) also run conferences but the certification boards focus on some theory and what might be called the logistical aspects of testing. These have value, but tend to be of interest to a subset of the testing community.

In the last thirty years, Professionalism in Testing has been discussed from time to time, but there has been little progress in defining professionalism (as other engineering communities have done). There is no unifying organisation that supports testers working across the spectrum of high integrity, mainstream IT, Agile and DevOps approaches.  

Isn't it time we made progress on this?

One challenge that we face is that testers have varying job titles such as tester, QA, quality engineer and test engineer and so on. However, most testers believe their craft is a form of engineering, even though it is not well defined. 

There are multiple test approaches, differing widely, and communities associated with these approaches appear to have little in common. The approaches, philosophies, technologies used vary widely.

But all testers face similar problems. Understanding what stakeholders need from testing, how to communicate what testing does, how to scale the testing and do 'enough', how to manage progress and report it, how to support stakeholder decision-making and so on. Processes, analysis and test design, tools, documentation all vary because they are logistical choices. 

Industry sector, scale, risk appetite, business culture and so on require different logistical approaches. But the underlying problems to solve and testing principles involved are common across all systems development projects.

Introducing the Test Engineering Society (the Society)

The Society aims to represent the interests of test engineers by firstly defining what Test Engineering is at a level that is meaningful for all practitioners. Test Engineering is not a job title but rather a term that identifies a range of activities that almost all testers perform in their projects.

The overall goals of the Society are to be:

  • The premier not-for-profit professional institution dedicated to empowering and advancing the careers of Test Engineers worldwide
  • The leading authority in the field, committed to fostering excellence in test engineering by providing a comprehensive framework for professional development and recognition

It will do this by aligning with the UK Engineering Council's rules for Professional Engineering Institutions (such as those that represent electrical, mechanical, civil and 36 other engineering disciplines). It will adopt UK-SPEC (Standard for Professional Engineering Competence and Commitment) as the definition of core engineering capabilities and competencies.

The Society will start the journey to become a Professional Institution, licensed by the Engineering Council. It will operate a a fee-based membership scheme, run its own events, build information services capabilities, training, mentoring and support services for its members. It will build partnerships with academic institutions, company members, services and tools vendors, recruiters and of course other test engineering communities and events.

The Society will reach out to establish a network of similar institutions across the world. They may be independent, or part of the Society, depending on the local situation and wishes.

This will take time to achieve. Perhaps five years. (Bear in mind, some of the established Institutions have been around for two hundred years).

The website https://testsociety.org is up and running but is a work in progress. We invite you to take a look at the site to see what we are trying to achieve and where we currently are. If you are interested in helping us in any way - to be a supporter - please get in touch using the contact form on the site.

There is a newly formed LinkedIn Group for the Society here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12887293/

We will publish additional information in the LinkedIn Group over the next few weeks.

Please share/re-post to your network if you support this initiative.

Thank-you very much.