As an individual with nearly a decade in the software testing arena, I feel I have gained substantial knowledge that is worth sharing. 🙂
The question I frequently encounter is whether I still partake in testing in my current position. The answer is always an emphatic YES!
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As I’ve shared in several previous STH articles, software testing is about the mindset and observation rather than just years of experience, since it naturally changes and grows over time.
If you’re in the beginning phase, overlooking a bug generally elicits a simple notification. At a moderate level, bypassing an essential bug leads to advice to prevent making the same mistake. Should you reach a senior level, however, it is expected that you avoid such mistakes entirely.
Experience comes with the comprehension of the level of responsibility one shoulders. Here, I’ve laid out some of my most important lessons:
Top 10 Insights from a Decade-long Career in Software Testing:
Lesson #1: Software testing is a demanding task
I’m often startled when people claim that software testing lacks challenge.
Isn’t it testing to taste and analyze food prepared by a chef and then point out that they forgot to include salt? Isn’t it taxing to propose to a self-assured artist to use orange instead of blue? Isn’t it daunting to locate typographical errors across a manuscript of 200 pages?
This is the exact essence of software testing’s challenge. It demands that you remain alert, knowledgeable, and eventually the one who earns appreciation for spotting flaws in someone else’s work.
Lesson #2: Attitude is key to successful software testing
While fault-finding in someone else’s output doesn’t grant the liberty to become impolite, hypercritical, or bossy.
The correct attitude is always about enhancing quality. Testers should come prepared with the right attitude towards their tasks, look at the broader perspective instead of merely being critical of others or trying to prove superiority.
Lesson #3: Software testing demands tactful communication skills
When your role includes identifying errors in others’ work and providing feedback, diplomacy is crucial. Rather than hearing “you made mistakes,” people react positively to constructive suggestions like “can we enhance this aspect in another way?”
Lesson #4: Analytical skills are essential in software testing
Why do some developers tend to fix bugs reported by tester X but ignore those reported by tester Y?
That’s because tester X offers a more comprehensive picture of the reported bug. They dive deep into investigations, make an effort to comprehend the central causes of the problem, and generate comprehensive bug reports. This is why their reported bug gets precedent.
Lesson #5: Continuous learning is crucial in software testing
Keeping on top of any field requires a continuous pursuit of knowledge, and software testing is no different.
The market abounds with tools, documentation, blogs, and other resources to acquire new skills. To flourish and progress in your role, it’s important to select those resources that align with your domain of work and personal preferences, besides staying in sync with the current industry requirements.
For instance, half a decade ago, nobody would have predicted the high demand for mobile testers today. This exemplifies how technology, generations, and demands keep evolving. Staying updated requires continuous learning. 🙂
Lesson #6: Skill, not certification, drives software testing
While certification is commendable, it’s not a requisite.
An accomplished tester requires a range of qualities like an eye for detail, analytical thinking, troubleshooting skills, etc. I believe no certification can genuinely verify these abilities. When it comes to writing test cases, we rarely contemplate boundary value analysis and decision tables; instead, we apply common sense to our knowledge.
Lesson #7: Self-motivation powers software testing
How does it feel when someone points out litter on your balcony and ask you to clean it up? Mostly, they don’t earn appreciation even if they’re helping maintain cleanliness.
That’s how this profession operates! You may not always get recognition for your efforts to enhance the quality, but it’s essential to realize the significance of your role. Every once in a while, celebrate your own accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back.
Start each day telling yourself, “I have the best job because I contribute to something bigger,” and you won’t require external approval to stay motivated.
Lesson #8: Prioritizing is key to software testing
When caught in a dilemma between enjoying a party and staying home to complete some work, what would you choose? You would consider the situation, prioritize, and make the right decision.
Software testing works similarly. As a tester, while you may be juggling multiple tasks simultaneously, it’s necessary to understand the prominence of each task. Learn from past experiences, seek advice from those who have gone through similar experiences, and plan your work accordingly.
During crunch times, extensive documentation may not be required. Concentrate on testing instead. On the other hand, for a maintenance project, all processes should be strictly adhered to.
Lesson #9: Software testing targets qualitative customer satisfaction
As a tester, your role should be to step into end users’ shoes.
How a product is used might not be as crucial as understanding its potential uses. After all, the end users will interact with the product according to their terms. Consider various real-life scenarios: how the product behaves when not closed properly, or continuously tapped, or mishandled by a child, or during power disruptions etc.
How many of us start our computers following the user manual? Most don’t. Familiarity built over years takes over, and we believe no documentation can significantly improve that. The same principle applies to end users’ expectations. They want a quality product that is user-friendly and simple to use, and your role as a tester is to ensure this simplicity. 🙂
Lesson #10: Software testing is a profession to be proud of
This point doesn’t require much explanation.
Never let anyone undermine you without your permit. And remember, if you’re not proud, you haven’t completed your task yet.
Stay smart, follow your heart, intuition, and aim high. I am certain you’ll discover a career path that fills you with pride.
About the author: This motivational piece is penned by Bhumika M., a member of the STH team. Bhumika, a project lead with over a decade’s experience in software testing, has an immense passion for testing and relishes the opportunity to scrutinize anything and everything.
I trust my experiences will impart valuable insights to enrich your career growth!
Do you have learnings from this profession you’d like to share? We’re eager to hear from you.
Happy testing 🙂