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What’s up with QA?

We have noticed a recent staffing “up-tick” in the area of software quality assurance. After such a long dryspell within this area, it appears that all the technology companies in Portland decided simultaneously that it’s time to start recruiting and hiring QA Engineers. Now, that’s great news if you’re a QA engineer and bad news if you’re seeking to hire a QA engineer. Unfortunately, it seems to me that QA is often one of the first things to “get the boot” when things get tough, and therefore puts more pressure on software engineers to develop “quality products.” This appears to be one of the many sacrifices that companies make when things get tough financially. Consequently does this mean that companies are beginning to make enough profits to justify pumping up their quality? The sudden surge of quality assurance engineers to be hired in the market appears to be a solid indicator in the optimism of the economy.
One of the challenges (as recruiters) we face is locating available QA engineers, and due to the fact there has been minimal hiring in QA over the past two to three years there hasn’t been much “draw” for people to get into the field, thus resulting in our current shortage of talent. I’m excited to see things picking up in this area, but how do we keep up with the recruiting!?

These are my thoughts and I’m curious to hear if anyone has any other thoughts or theories to the situation?

2 thoughts on “What’s up with QA?

  1. Yes, I have noticed the same surge in QA demand. Agreed that they are the first to go when times get tough and this is a great part of the reason that the need greatly increases when sacricing them over too long a period.
    Your assessment of why we face challenges in finding them has good validity, however, it is not the only reason. The USA has so generously outsourced so much QA work to, particularly, talent from India, that now we have no QAs in the US, except those on H1-B Visas with the necessary experience in testing specific and critial financial and medical applications, and especially those applications developed within architectures that have sprung up in the last 3 years or so, such as .Net. The only way to “keep up” with it at this point in time is to convince your client to sponser an H1-B that satsifies all their requirements or to convince your client that if they let it go this long, they can wait and pay for a talented QA without all the qualifying requirements to get trained in the lacking areas.

  2. Sue, thanks for your comment and you definitely make some valid points. This issues you’ve raised have definitely increased the difficulty of recruiting top talent, and rather created 2 huge questions we must ask ourselves: 1) are you willing to wait for the “perfect” fit? or 2) are you willing to train someone (either internally or hire someone externally)?
    Now that we’ve come full cirle we’ve landed ourself smack dab in the middle of a “candidate driven” market, the above 2 questions are becoming the norm. Gone are the days of posting a job and having the luxury of choosing between a dozen “A” candidates.

    I’m always excited to see what creative ideas develop during times of adversity…it seems to me that our ability of adapting to adversity is the defining moment between winners and losers in life and business!

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