Steve Fenton

Look past your role

I get annoyed by articles that generalise by role or job title. The inane “developers are better than programmers”, or “software engineers vs software developers”, or even “software developers can’t lead your test automation efforts”.

The reason I dislike such rubbish is I work with people.

When you work with people, and recognise the humanity, you realise that there are examples of people in any role that can do any thing!

To prove to me that “software developers can’t lead test automation efforts” you must collect a huge amount of proof… you’d have to find every instance of a developer doing this, and measure the success of the endeavour. To prove you wrong, I need only find one success case. That’s the beauty of black swans, just one of them destroys the theory that “all swans are white”. Look up Nassim Nicholas Taleb for more on that subject.

The other problem I perpetually come across is that people will change their definitions each time evidence is supplied. “John had the role of programmer, and he seems to be objectively better than many software developers”… ah yes, but John is really a software developer, because he is so good.

Here is the actual fact. There is no role in software development that is entirely represented by novices, or wholly populated with experts, or totally by people who can lead test automation, or by those who couldn’t.

You are not your role.

Written by Steve Fenton on