I'm trying to get back into work after a year break. One of the things that both amuses and depresses me is the number of finance related test manager jobs where knowledge of the finance sector is "essential".
How much is this is really true?
Domain knowledge can be really helpful, I know this from my own experience. But being old and cynical I'm now of the opinion that if domain knowledge really is essential the requirements are not good enough and there will be other problems anyway.
I also look at some of the examples of really good project managers I have known who have understood as little about the subject matter of a project at the end of it as at the beginning. Why can't test managers be the same?
Just curious to get others views on how important domain knowledge is.
The story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
As with any job, a Test Manager's position comes with a language, jargon, phrases, etc.
Some of it is the language of testing. Some of it is the language of software. And some is the language of the domain.
When hiring, I usually put domain knowledge in the "nice to have" category. With appropriate domain knowledge, it makes the work easier for my team - in understanding and interpreting the Requirements, in speaking and sharing with the stakeholders, in writing bug reports and status reports that are in the language of the business. Everything else being equal, I'll hire the one with more domain knowledge.
That said, I've hired folks without any financial systems knowledge. If they are smart and willing to learn they can acquire the domain knowledge quickly enough.
On the other hand, I do know companies who want Test Managers to be fluent in their business from the beginning. For them, domain knowledge may indeed be essential.
In the financial organisations that I have held Test manager roles, the position is very much client facing (where the client is traders/operations staff/fund managers etc)
Those clients are not particularly tolerant of people who don't have a good understanding of the business and certainly in one case they were outright scared at the possibility of hiring someone who did not have that experience.
We manage over USD$2 Billion. I can easily imagine the horror of an investor in hearing that the person responsible for testing our software doesn't know much about the business.
I think it is acceptable to hire a compentent tester and train them on the business side. However, I would happily support someone who insisted on Finance knowledge and/or experience for hiring a Test Manager.
"Not every solution was derived to address an obvious problem" - Me (quite recently indeed)