Skills of a Good Software Tester

Tuesday, 20 December, 2016

Today, software development is growing rapidly and together with it the software testing industry. Many people have decided to pursue a career in software testing, because of all the possibilities, advancements and learning opportunities.

If you want to pursue a career in software testing, you need to prepare for constant changes and learning. It is not simple, but if you are passionate about this, you will enjoy it. It is critical to understand what it takes to become successful in this domain. Becoming a highly qualified team member of a software testing company requires constantly search for new information about desktop testing, mobile testing, website testing, and maintaining connections with highly-competitive IT world. In this field, various skills are necessary and desirable, and with some experience and a lot of hard work, everybody can adopt, develop, and improve them. In this article, we will discuss exactly those skills – skills of a good software tester.

Who is a Software Tester?

Software testing is a process of verifying if the developed product meets the specified requirements and produces the desired results. A testing phase in software development cycle is necessary so as to provide a quality product free of bugs.

A software tester often works as a part of a company’s quality assurance team. Testers perform a significant role in the whole software development process. They check software to ensure that the programs are functioning properly. They are responsible for assuring quality in the end product and for finding all the errors in a product before it is released. A testing engineer’s job includes designing, building, and implementing effective testing strategies. They test, find bugs, and suggest improvements in software that is under a test. They check for significant errors and complete crashes to small details and visual anomalies. Software testers play the role of end users and the first audience, and they identify any aspects which could be improved. With all of this, they need to document findings well; they need to be aware of priorities, work under deadlines, and must understand production and marketing schedules.

Software testers must have a comprehensive knowledge; they use concepts from mathematics and computer science to design, develop, and test computer software systems. Tools that they use include word processors, spreadsheets and databases, Web content management systems, graphics editing programs, operating systems, and programming languages. The devices for which they create tests include cell phones and computer systems. Their job can be applied to new software or towards adapting existing software to new hardware.

Skills of a Good Software Tester

Testers are the backbone of all IT companies. They are one of the most responsible people in a project – in assuring its quality and releasing an error-free product among the end users. As a tester, you should improve your work continuously and strive to become better and better every day.

The creative mind is one of the most desirable characteristics of a great software tester. Professional testers think beyond the expected, considering software and its users. They need to think of every possible thing a user could perform on the application that is not a part of the software requirements. Analytical skills and understanding clients’ feedback are imperative for the analysis of the requirements. If you have analytical skills, you can build smart testing solutions. Testers also need to analyze the data collected from testings for particular behaviours of applications. Thinking outside of the box to detect problems where no one else would look for them which is why curiosity is imperative.

A good tester needs to be aware that there is always room for improvement. They must listen if anyone is giving an idea or a proposition because this will help them improve the quality of the software program under testing. It is a good thing when there are more people on the same project; someone will notice scenarios that other may miss. Great testers love their job, so they conduct research and provide suggestions to improve their product, and not only check software programs against the set of requirements.

Like in every job, there is always room for studying. Testers need to be quick learners, familiar with the technology, and they need to know some automation tools and be willing to learn new ones but also keep up with the latest technology in testing. They need to rely on experience but also come up with new ideas. If a tester wants to design and execute successful tests, he must have tremendous knowledge about the application’s domain. They have to know how will the end user utilise the application, understand the terminology of their particular field and come up with strategic business case scenarios.

Good testers always keep in mind clients and their happiness. It is important to be aware that customers do not have the same technical skills as the testers. Because of that, while testing, they have to make the best use of their testing skills and keep in mind that the delivered product is what clients demand. Testers need to have knowledge of test automation. They always need to choose the appropriate and latest set of tools, determine when the test must be automated, which layer can be examined automatically, execute tests on a constant basis and provide metrics to the organisation. Ability to organise and prioritise is of great importance.

First, the tester needs to identify and organise basic tests, and later prioritise execution based on the test relevance. Communication with non-technical and technical people in written or oral form is of big value. Good communication means being in touch with the development team and customers too. Ability to report at the end of the day is a useful skill. Preparing an effective and detailed bug report with screenshots will provide a better picture of the testers work. Having a good eye for details is helpful because then all the scenarios will be covered. This characteristic helps to avoid extra costs of errors that are found late in the cycle or after product release. Thorough understanding of software from a business point of view, and understanding how testing phase effects a business is desirable. The tester needs to appreciate clients’ requirements and understand them to form a non-technical side.

Turning a business issue to a technical solution is the testing team’s mission. Using logical and intellectual ability to resolve the source of a problem in the best possible way is necessary if a tester wants to work in a high-level testing environment. The tester must be a good observer, keep track of minor and major changes in the project. In a dynamic environment, it is important to stay on top of the changes. Excellent time management and understanding of priorities are valuable skills.

Know what needs to be tested first, what requires less time and effort, which task comes at the beginning and which at the end of a testing process, which part of the application to test automatically and which manually, putting first documentation or actual test execution. A good tester will know how to answer to all of these questions.

A great tester is persistent. He is patient in the process of detecting bugs; he is always making improvements and never gives up in testing challenges. The ability to identify risk on time, analysis of the risk and its alleviation will serve as sufficient competence in software testing phase. Software professionals do not compromise on quality in any testing stage. They work well in a team equally as they work independently. Brainstorming, experience and discussions can improve the quality of software.

Although sometimes it’s hard to explain the importance of a testing phase in software development and the importance of hiring a professional team of testers, their job is vital and crucial for projects and companies. Testers reduce the work in many fields; they release projects without defects; they are shortening the problem fixing time, and they make sure that end users are satisfied. Without a quality tester team, it is tough to complete a project successfully.

Conclusion

The testing phase is crucial in any software development process. For software testing to be successful, you need a good and a professional team of testers. But, while this fact is still quite neglected, many companies started recognising the importance of delivering quality products to the market.

Some people in the software community consider testing as an unimportant phase of software development which is done by individuals with lesser analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills. But, that is not true. A member of a tester team needs to possess a particular skill set. Testing is not only a challenging job, but it is a creative job too. All of these skills are important, and they contribute to the success of a whole project. Every tester needs to be proud of his role and his contribution to the primary goal.

To end, here is a statement by David Whalen: “When a virtually flawless application is delivered to a customer, no one says how well tested it was. Development teams will always get the credit. However, if it is delivered with bugs, everyone will wonder who tested it!”

Ana Lozančić

Ana is a content Marketing specialist and blogger. She graduated in Faculty of humanities and social sciences. She enjoys learning and applying knowledge about marketing and social media, covering latest trends and topics about software development subjects.

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