J. MALARVIZHI

Software testing can provide you with an attractive career option, whether you hold a degree in engineering or humanities.

Information technology is yet another career option for those with a meticulous bent of mind and expertise in varied fields. Software testing, which used to be an integral part of software development, has emerged as an independent industry following an increased emphasis on quality control in services.Now around a decade old, the industry is growing phenomenally, with even the big players setting up their own testing wings, say executives in testing firms. Most of these prefer to provide in-house training depending on their requirements and are often open to taking fresh graduates with a bachelor's degree in arts or sciences. All look for `soft skills and willingness to learn'.Lack of training academies with recognised and regulated testing certification is a big problem, said V.N. Mahesh, Executive Director, Maveric Systems, an independent software-testing firm. Maveric has developed its own curriculum and partners academic institutions to train people in testing, he said. Trainers at AmitySoft, an institute that offers certificate and training courses on software testing, believe that almost 75 per cent of testing is still done manually. That is why their course content is also geared to provide their students with training in the same, said Ramesh Krish of AmitySoft.There are two kinds of testing, he said. Testing for performance of an application, or white box testing involving looking at software code to find defects, requires a good hang of technology. Candidates with engineering or computer applications degrees are preferred for this type. Knowledge and experience in domains like banking, insurance, healthcare, telecom or logistics is also valuable. People with niche knowledge can be trained and put on to specific projects of the second variety.Arts and science graduates, just out of college, with training in testing can work their way up in a few years and secure salaries comparable to software developers, several executives said.The market for software testers in India is likely to open up much more in the coming years since Indian software testing companies can offer testing services at a fraction of the cost of most other parts of the world, said Sridhar Kulasekharan, Chief Operating Officer, RTG. He estimated the size of the Indian software testing market to be $300 million, and growing at a faster rate than the global average. The software-testing arena in India as a whole is estimated to require more than 16,000 professionals this year.