Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is Software Testing the best job for ASD/Aspergers folk?

Companies like Aspiritech, Specialisterne, Uzmanlar, Kaien and Autism Works certainly provide an excellent opportunity for people on the Spectrum to engage in decent paying jobs in the high tech industry. But after 15+ years in software development I have to wonder: is software quality assurance the best place for ASD folk?

Outside of those companies I would have to say that it is not as ideal a job as it might seem. True the core strengths of ASD/Aspergers certainly play into the demands of a Software Quality Assurance Engineer or Analyst. However there is one key drawback to the job: conflict. Depending on the company there can be a lot of conflict. Conflict over the defects reports, conflict over the deadline, conflict over resources and so on. If there is one thing that is difficult for people with ASD it is conflict.

So I am thankful that the companies above can act as a shield for good software testers but keep in mind before jumping off into the great wide open world of software testing that the shield may not always be there. Many companies treat SQA as a necessary evil (and their products tend to show it) providing little in the way of advancement, training and compensation. I once had a CEO claim that SQA was an impediment to revenue... I always wondered what he thought the jammed support lines were.

If you are investigating a SQA position look for these things:
  1. Equality of equipment. If the developers have two monitors and the SQA staff has one, if the developers sit in offices while SQA has cubes or if the desk furniture for developers looks better than QA; STAY AWAY. It is telling you right there that you will be a second class citizen.
  2. Body language of the testers. I know; this is a hard one. To make it easy look for slumped shoulders, baggy eyes and downcast expressions. One is not a problem. A few is a warning. If the whole staff is like that, run. I once walked away from a great monetary offer because the one (ONE) tester for a department of 20 developers looked like some sort of undead creature.
  3. If during the interview the testers treat you like an inferior. Showing an inferiority complex in an interview is a bad sign anywhere; for software testers it usually means they are frustrated with their job and taking it out on you.
  4. Ask them what happens when QA stops a release. The answer will tell you a lot. If QA has never stopped a release, run. If the answer includes descriptions of horrendous meetings, run. If they laugh, run very fast.
  5. Inquire what the additional compensation is for QA (bonuses, stock, etc.). If QA is not eligible for it then you have another sign that you will be a second class citizen.
  6. If the interviewers do not let you speak with members of the team beyond them, even for a moment, then that is not a good sign. What are they hiding back there?
  7. Find out what the turnover is like in the department. Evasive or vague answers should server as yellow or even red flags.
This is not a foolproof method but it will certainly help inform you about the job. You may also go on to forums for SQA (e.g. QA Forums) and ask if anyone knows about the company.  Forewarned is your best bet to avoiding a conflict laden disrespectful environment.


  1. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.
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  2. Right,Good to see these helpful information here Jobs in Testing .Thanks lots for sharing them with us.