Testers & Developers: Worlds Apart or Kindred Spirits?

Is it possible to be a Developer and a Tester at the same time? Having spent over 20 years on either side of the fence, my own experiences tell me that it isn’t easy. I spent the first 20 odd years in designing, writing and fixing software and the last 20 or so working out ways to find weaknesses in it (before our Customers or Users). Along the way I made the transition from builder to breaker and acquired a whole new mindset. My main reasons for making the transition were that I had become jaded after years of building code (mainly based upon poor requirements) and I thought that changing my focus to a more business-oriented outcome would provide a more satisfying experience. I was right!!

Over the intervening years I have heard many discussions and read many words regarding possible differences between Developers and Testers. So I thought I’d just add my own little twist to this ongoing saga by providing a few anecdotes of how I see the two mind sets. As always, I’d love to receive feedback on this (from Developers and Testers) and hopefully produce a longer list in a subsequent version of this Blog. I hope you get to enjoy reading this as much as I did creating it….

Developers aim for the stars, Testers make sure that can get back again
Developers stay up all night writing code, Testers stay up all night worrying why the Developers stayed up all night
Developers release software, Testers release bugs
Developers make headlines, Testers prevent headlines
Developers know HOW stuff works, Testers know WHEN stuff works
Developers embrace Risk, Testers will do anything to avoid it
Testers check the door is locked three times before they leave the house, Developers don’t leave the house
Testers can see dead People, Developers struggle to see living people
Testers avoid cracks in the pavement, Developers make a feature of them
Testers rejoice when they find a bug, Developers rejoice when they fix a bug

Dateline: Thursday May 23, 2013; Melbourne


15 thoughts on “Testers & Developers: Worlds Apart or Kindred Spirits?

  1. I believe that Testers & Developers are or should be Kindred Spirits. When working on a project the Testers and Developers need a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished. We have different views, understanding, knowledge and experience, combining these assets can only enhance the outcome of a project. I am a true believer in being a Team Player we need each other to complete any issue with a quality result.

  2. Interesting article! I am a tester and I believe that it is very possible to be a developer and perform some testing along with the developing stage. I happe to work with some developers that will not release their code to a tester until they have performed some unit testing on their own first. This is not always the case, but it is nice to know that the developer is invested in the project and cares enough to catch some of those little bugs in advance.

  3. Hi Neotys,

    With respect to Testing Roundup Poll Question:
    Which of the following differences between Testers and Developers from Colin Cherry’s article below do you most agree with? Vote on our blog now and let us know what you think!

    I believe the below point describes the meaningful difference among developer & a tester

    Developers release software, Testers release bugs


  4. Interesting to hear from people who went from development to testing. I’m headed the opposite way, myself. I want to spend most of my time trying to make things work, instead of trying to dream up ways to break them.

    I spent 6 years in Support, then 6 years in QA. When I felt we were most successful was when:
    Requirements were written in a testable format; given these inputs, I want these outputs
    Requirements/tests were written by product management, development, and QA collaboratively
    Requirements were MOSTLY written before development work began (Revisions to the requirements/tests are expected along the way)
    Testing is EVERYONE’S job

    Here’s my shot at an addition to the list:
    Developers ignore real-world scenarios; Testers invent other-world scenarios

    • Hi Ben,
      Thanks for the comments. I really enjoyed my time as a Developer but wanted to have more influence across an organisation and QA gave me that.
      I like your addition to the list it’ll be on the next iteration 🙂
      Good luck in your career as a Developer.

  5. Pingback: Neotys Testing Roundup, May 2013 Issue 5

  6. Pingback: Five Blogs – 24 May 2013 | 5blogs

  7. Yes, and No. Developers cannot be testers of their own software. Validation has to be mutually exclusive. This is not a criticism of developers, it is part of the process. I’ve worked as both and as one who designed the process as well. The problem is that executive sponsorship buys into it but directors fail to plan or adequately fund this. The cost benefit of having a validation process is priceless, but since we are still hiring Chefs (CIO/CTO’s) to run restaurants (data centers) that don’t know how to bake a pie (build a server), the industry steps into the puddle of why do most business fails (lack of experience). Where I have been involved with advanced engineering groups, the validation process is priority – only good fruit comes from a good tree.

    • But i see, if budget goes out after the project tested by tester.. Team would say:” Developers will test themselves”.

      I dont know why this scenario happens…

  8. As a dev turned tester I’ve seen both sides. As a dev I sucked at testing – but basically because I knew nothing about it. Now that I do I wonder what sort of dev I would be..

    I worked with one dev who produced really high quality code and joked with him that it all devs were like him then I’d be out of a job
    Then I moved to a company where all the devs were like him and it’s a real challenge to find bugs. There’s no us/them, if I find bugs they want to work out how they missed them and how they can find them before me next time. I’m learning from them and they’re learning from me

  9. Developers are loved by Testers because they keep testers employed. Testers are loved by Developers because……Ok I’m stuck here.

    Colin, interesting list. Is one of those relationships I love to use with Developers as a way of keeping work relationships in good order. Have had some great Tester v Developer sessions that get everybody laughing (just need to make sure you have the right audience). I think this is a great sign that, in the majority, tester versus developer is a thing of the past and there is now much more alignment between the two. Interestingly I recently had to follow up on some inappropriate correspondence from Developer to one of my Testers. The Developer reiterated that Devs are “at war with Testers” because Testers try to destroy Developers work. I was really surprised that this attitude still existed.

    Testers think of various possible possible scenarios to stretch the software, Developers think the scenarios in specifications are the scenario universe.
    Testers say a client could follow path X and see the issue, Developers say a client would NEVER do this – not a defect


    • Hi Paul, sad to hear about workplace conflicts – especially between Developers and Testers. I’m hoping a numerous approach will break down any remaining barriers that may still exist.

      • If there is no process on testing in a team, if a new tester tries to implement his learnings, But there are chances that testers are not encouraged as devs

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