Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How Can I Hire QA Engineers That Write Software?

Software is an interesting animal. It can do useful things like help you find movies you love. Software can also test other software to help insure that movie-lovers get the best possible movie-finding experience. I manage the quality assurance group for the Netflix website. For over a year, we've been aggressively pushing towards more test driven development. We've constructed a jUnit based automated framework for testing that lowers the barriers to unit test creation for the development engineers. We've integrated the EMMA code coverage tool with our nightly regression test runs to get a handle on how our level of testing is improving. We've developed code that allows us to execute tests within the context of our Tomcat application, relieving some of the burden of fixture and mock-object creation. What I'm having a much harder time doing is finding QA engineers that can wear both hats:
  1. can analyze the underlying business and insure that the developed system accurately follows that model
  2. can effectively develop software that automatically tests the website and underlying tiers in a relevant and productive way
I've looked on craigslist, LinkedIn and plumbed the depths of our recruiting database looking for this rare bird. Anyone out there have a good idea of where else to look?


David Vydra said...

What you are describing is a well-known problem in The Valley. I can not offer you a silver bullet, but can suggest that you try to recruit experienced application engineers. We do this at Agitar and we call the job Quality Engineering (QE) instead of QA. I would also not worry too much about peoples specific background - go for the most intelligent and motivated candidate you can find.

David Vydra

Rob said...


Thanks for the good advice. I've done some of the title manipulation you suggest, and it has skewed things more positively.

Funny you should respond, as we're just getting ready to evaluate Agitator next week. Should be interesting.

David Vydra said...


Amazing coincidence, or is it? It's a small valley populated by an even smaller number of people who care.

BTW, I am a huge Netflix fan. Keep up the good work.