10 Ways to be a software tester and utility infielder

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1. Technical Trainer: Teaching people how to use the software you just tested.
2. Customer/Technical Support: Providing technical support on the phone and/or in person related to software you have previously tested.
3. Pre-Sales Support: If the software you are testing is being sold to other companies, help the sales force sell the product by doing product demonstrations on sales calls.
4. Business Analysis: Help IT and/or the business define the next round of needed software enhancements. In fact, the roles of Tester and Business Analyst are very complementary in regard to their timing within a specific project. The Business Analysts work at the beginning of the project to define the requirements. The Testers work in the middle of the project to develop test cases and at the end of the project testing the software. Finally, Business Analysts are often then used again in the implementation phase to help roll out the software to the user base.
5. Project Manager: There is no law that says Project Managers have to come from the Programming or Business Analysis world. Should you be so inclined, move to position yourself to lead projects as well as test them. Not only will this enhance your task flexibility within your company, but it will also help position you toward the role of Testing Manager.

Beginning to position yourself toward an expansion of your testing versatility and/or widening your professional capabilities beyond the testing role will require a combination of education, professional branding, and internal politicking. Regarding education, do some work on your own via the web, a night class, a company sponsored course, or mentoring from a friend. This educational background has the dual effect of illustrating your interest in expanding your skills and, of course, gaining additional knowledge. Regarding professional branding, you must begin to get people to think of you beyond your existing role. Regarding internal company politicking, you will have to convince your manager or others to give you a chance to perform these expanded duties.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
eric@ManagerMechanics.com
or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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