The words “I want to be a world-class QA” is not something I hear often, at least not among my millennial software cohort. Instead, I hear “world-class person” and “world-class Developer” very often. That’s what more people are stoked about, apparently.

QA is funky because it’s a little bit of both disciplines; a good QA is an expert Product person with a deep understanding of UX and how how the product works and an expert software engineer who can write robust, extensible, efficient test code. And in my experience, the top talent gravitates towards Product or Engineering, but seldom towards the misty gray mountain that is QA. Consequently, there seem to be few “passionate” QA’s who make software testability their life’s work. Additionally, many QA’s “accidentally” stumble into QA and ultimately feel uncertain or unsatisfied with their long-term career prospects.

So my devil’s advocate question: in the modern engineering org, what’s the value in having a standalone QA or QE discipline? Wouldn’t it make more sense to align exploratory testing under the Product discipline (perhaps the responsibility of a Junior Product Owner), and automated testing under the Engineering discipline (Perhaps the responsibility of a SDET or Junior Dev)?

Obvious caveat: this question is 100% theoretical. Just want to hear people’s thoughts on the state of QA, particularly more “progressive” software engineering shops.

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