Bullshit alert! On The Bullshitisation of Software Testing

Can software testing be a bullshit job? Let's look at the book Bullshit Jobs and find out!

In the book Bullshit Jobs, the author argues that over half of societal work is pointless. Is software testing at risk for being a bullshit job too?

In 2018, David Graeber published the book Bullshit Jobs, in which he argues that over half of societal work is pointless. This book struck a chord with me because in the last 10 years I have felt that my job as tester was at times pointless. Testing in itself is not bullshit, but it definitely has many elements that we can classify as bullshit. This has caused me to feel cognitive dissonance and other unpleasant feelings about my job, as you can imagine. In this talk, I will map the main arguments from Bullshit Jobs to testing and investigate the bullshitisation of software testing jobs. 
I’ll go over the 5 types of Bullshit Jobs and argue how they can apply to testing. I will then try to identify why testing in itself is not pointless, but how it transforms into mostly bullshit when you add certain elements and tasks to it, based on personal experiences. Are some testing roles more susceptible to bullshitisation? Does it matter what type of product you test? Last but not least, we’ll have to confront ourselves with the question “now what!?”. What can we do to avoid the bullshitisation in testing? Is it even a problem? Because this is ultimately an extremely opinionated talk around what the value of testing is and isn’t, I can only tickle your brain and get you to ponder over this topic and that’s what I’ll do! I think it’s healthy if we, as software testers, critique our own field once in awhile. So grab your bullshit alert and come listen.

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