What's in a title?


I have come to find that words and titles we use in our jobs often tend to give the wrong idea about what we actually do. My current title is Quality Assurance analyst and I test the software that my team develops, but what is it that I really do? I add value, ideas, suggestions and through my skilled area as a tester I also develop software.

So I pose a question, why aren't developers called programmers, if testers can't be called developers? So I am going to differentiate two specialised type of people, Software Programmers and software testers.

Why aren't developers called programmers?

After doing some research, here is what i found. If you search for the word title 'software programmer' the definition will be:"A programmer, computer programmer or coder is someone who writes computer software." If you then looked up 'software developer' the definition will be: 

"A person concerned with facets of the software development process. Their work includes researching, designing, developing, and testing software." 

So...why can a software programmer be addressed as a software developer but a tester can't?

So where does "The Development Team" come in?

This is pretty much my argument. We are all part of  a team which develops the same software or new feature. So again I researched this and within the Scrum Guide section labelled "The Development Team" there are two core points which highlight my argument:

  • Scrum recognises no titles for Development Team members other than Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the person; there are no exceptions to this rule;
  • Individual Development Team members may have specialised skills and areas of focus, but accountability belongs to the Development Team as a whole;

Is delivering quality a team responsibility?

YES! The work we present at the end of the day as part of the DONE criteria is the whole teams responsibility. Pointing fingers because programmers didn't finish their unit tests or testers didn't test in time will always cause this never-ending them and us problem and keep stirring this practice of silos.

We are all one team, working towards one goal. After all there is ONLY one sprint goal, not one for software programmers and one for software testers and we should be all focusing the end result and common aim.

Why are we so focused on titles?

The last argument and I guess the closing statement really is why are we so focused on what we're called? Surely the outcome of quality, working software is far more important than how many tests a super awesome software tester can write or how many lines of code a software programmer and churn our in a day?

In my opinion it all boils down to one thing. Those who work as a team of developers and throw titles out the window will almost always develop great working software, inspecting and adapting and working as a team. Those who only think about what they have to do to get their own work done will always be stuck in a never ending spiral of us and them.

For me - it will always be the first option.