After 25 years or so in the IT industry, and with the vast majority of my experience being in testing, I rarely find myself surprised by even the most nonsensical stuff that crosses my virtual desk. It often feels like the same mistakes and traps are being made and fallen into by a new generation of testers or the same old things get rebranded as the latest shiny thing.
I’ve seen it come and go with the “testing is dead” narrative. I’ve seen automation via screen comparison noted as a ridiculous idea while now being touted as the next big thing. I’ve witnessed the ridicule around record & playback as an automation technique, while I’m now inundated with marketing for automation tools that magically instruct computers how to do stuff apparently “without any code”. I’ve become conditioned to the nonsense and I’m well aware that everything comes and everything goes, so my attention is rarely distracted away by such obviously ridiculous “trends” in the testing industry.
But I recently came to realise that my capability to be surprised in this industry hasn’t been completely destroyed, it has merely been dormant. Thanks to Eric Proegler posting a link to a YouTube video on the Association for Software Testing‘s Slack, my surprise (and, along with it, a hefty dose of dismay) has been awoken from its slumber.
The video in question is titled “Fake Experiance on Software Testing” by Venkata Krishna (published on February 6th, 2022):
While I’m at pains not to give this abomination any oxygen, the video has already been viewed over 131,000 times as I write so calling it out here seems worthwhile even if it adds another click or two to this incredible view count. It’s worth noting that the video has over 2,700 likes and has received over 270 comments, some (rightly) calling it out as promoting unethical practice but the vast majority sadly praising it as being useful.
The typo in the titling of the video and the fact that it was recorded on a computer running an unregistered copy of Windows gives an indication of the standard of the material to come. Venkata’s introduction sets out his purpose for producing this video:
“how to put the fake experience on software testing… what are all the major challenges you may face and how to overcome those challenges – and how to happily do your work even though you go with fake experience”.
This stunning opening gambit originally made me think that the video must itself be a fake or some kind of joke piece, but alas I was mistaken. Disturbingly, he claims that the video was made in response to requests from his subscribers.
His early advice is to do one “real-time project” for manual and automated testing before claiming fake experience, claiming that “there is no issue” in doing this to get into a company (this claim is repeated frequently throughout the video).
He advises applicants to approach those “good” small consultancies who can provide fake experience documents (and even payslips, bank statements, etc.) to help them clear background checks by employers when applying for jobs (Venkata reminds his viewers not to ask him specifically for the names of consultancies providing such “services”).
Heading into the workplace after clearing any checks using the fake experience documents, he suggests that the tester be careful with the questions they ask or “risk being identified as a fake resource”. He claims that “automation is all about Selenium” and, for any question they might be asked, the solution is “already in Google”. Both “manual” and “automated” testing are described in very simplistic ways and requiring little skill or knowledge to “get by” without arousing suspicion as a “fake resource”.
If the tester can survive two to three months without being found out, then “no-one will stop you” and if they somehow manage to do the work, “no-one will touch you”. He mentioned that there are so many jobs in the US and India with so much demand that it’s easy to use fake experience to land a position.
One of the more obvious challenges of this approach (!) is that “you might not be able to do the work”, in which case Venkata advises relying on friends with actual experience as testers or utilizing a “job support service”. If the tester really can’t do the work, the employer might re-do their background checks and flag you as fake. In this case, he said HR will be the first to start asking questions, such as “is your experience real or fake?”, and the tester should always say their experience is real and suggest that HR should contact their previous employer. Acting confident (while you lie) here is the key, apparently. If HR really do re-check and the tester’s fake experience is revealed, the tester should offer to resign and then leave. There is no problem here, “It’s software, everything is soft, you won’t go to jail”.
While Venkata rightly suggests that it can be hard to find your first testing job (and claims that there are “no fresher jobs” in his market), these facts don’t justify encouraging candidates to misrepresent themselves (essentially, committing fraud). This reflects badly not only on the people following this path, but more generally on the testing industry. The reputation of some outsourced testing companies already isn’t great and this kind of “advice” to fraudulently join them only serves to devalue testing and diminish its reputation even further.
It is on those of us who employ testers to provide entry-level opportunities into our industry, maybe via apprenticeship style models, where keen new testers can learn their craft and not have to be dishonest in doing so. There are excellent examples in India of companies and communities around testing who are treating the craft with care and promoting its value – Moolya and The Test Tribe immediately come to my mind. Publishing blogs, articles and other materials that can point potential new entrants into testing towards better quality resources seems important to me. This blog is a small attempt to do this, but these words are very unlikely to attract 100,000+ readers!
I remain surprised that anyone would publish a video recommending this fraudulent behaviour, along with the many justifications they make for doing so. A job in the testing industry can be varied, fulfilling and intellectually challenging – it’s not a place to live a fake life. For anyone looking to enter the testing industry, I hope you will choose to look for guidance and help from professional testers passionate about their craft rather than doing yourself a disservice by “faking it”.