As in every industry, software testing also obeys to basic economy law, supply and demand. It is important to know how that law relates to your hourly rate. This post is based on a remarkable book written by Chad Fowler, The Passionate Programmer.
Software testing obeys to economy laws, because we supply goods, software testing services, to the market, software development agencies. The supply and demand law states:
In microeconomics, supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market. It postulates that, holding all else equal, in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good, or other traded item such as labor or liquid financial assets, will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded (at the current price) will equal the quantity supplied (at the current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium for price and quantity transacted [Wikipedia].
The first increase in demand for software testers was when the software development industry realized that they need an independent third party to demonstrate that the product works. That was based on the process set by the automobile industry. As that was wrong in many ways, that sparked the development of skillful software testing.
As demand increased, the hourly rate also went up. But more people start learning about software testing until there was an equilibrium between supply and demand. The hourly rate was defined.
You can’t compete on price. In fact, you can’t afford to compete on price. This is called, race to the bottom.
In order to get a job, new testers started to lower their hourly rate below the equilibrium value. You can not afford to do that, because that price will not cover your expenses. You would bankrupt very soon.
What should you do? You must find a new software testing market, that is in development. For example, in 2014, that was the Selenium framework. If you knew how to write a GUI demonstration in Selenium, you could get a better hourly rate than regular software testers. You must not follow high demand software testing markets. Those are markets offered by low-cost offshore companies.
To find a low demand market, start with Tester’s Syllabus. For example, if you know Python, search popular software testing libraries for Python. Why not replace Python Unit Test with pytest and related libraries?
You heard about the BBST course or the Rapid Software Testing course. Investigate the market. Or to go in software testing management, you can start with Manage It! book, by Johanna Rothman. These are just examples, you need to find your fit, according to your preferences.