3 Most Common Questions that baffle the QA beginners – answered
STH’s recent venture into QA teaching courses has given a wonderful insight into some of the common questions and inhibitions that plague the new-comers’ minds. While we answer them in sessions for our course participants, we thought making a list of these questions and posting them on our site with answers might be really beneficial to the ardent readers of STH.
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So, here we decided to address the 3 questions that come up most. I mean it; in every batch, we get these questions….
- How would my first day be in my new QA tester job? What if I am not able to live up to the expectations?
- Which testing is QA certification best and more valued?
- What if I learn a certain tool, a certain technology, and a certain language, and the employer is looking for something else?
We will address all these:
Q #1) How would my first day be in my new QA tester job? What if I am not able to live up to the expectations?
Answer: This question really takes the center stage among all others. To get to the answer straight, always remember that all of us have got to start somewhere. Everyone knows this. As much as you want to do the best in your new job, your employer would want his work done best too. Therefore, just as you would prepare, they would too.
Most companies have employee induction plans in place. One of the clients I worked for believed that long-term relationships between employees and employers are crucial for the success of the company.
So, they had a 30-60-90 rule for new employees.
- 30 days to familiarize and understand roles and responsibilities & the system of course.
- 60 days to work with support from a fellow team member(s).
- 90 days until the new employee works independently. You see, there is a 3-month cushion here.
Agreed that not all companies follow the exact same rule, but most of them have one or the other form of induction policy in place.
Please be assured that you will not be expected to out-perform everyone right on your first day.
Read more = > The typical QA process
Some of the usual things you would go through on day 1 are:
- Introduction to your role, physical location of work, timings, culture, etc.
- Team introductions and point-of-contacts will be shown. Basically you will be told who to get in touch within the case of questions based on subjects.
- Accesses to required systems
- Knowledge transfer sessions would be arranged
- Documentation about your project will be shared
- Small tasks are given to understand your comfort level
Some of the things that a QA can do are:
- Read the documentation
- Explore the system a little bit- if it exists
- Understand the stage the project is in
- Try to sit with a colleague and understand how things work in the project
- Follow up and get the necessary accesses that you would need to get started
Most important of all, be confident on your Day 1 and work on finding your way around. The rest will follow…
Q #2) Which testing QA certification is best and more valued?
Answer: Certification is highly recommended for beginners who are trying to make their way into IT QA. It helps you establish standards and validate your QA expertise. In addition, it will also help your employers recognize your commitment to the field.
There are lots of beginner level QA certifications available in the market. There is ISTQB-CTFL, QAI’s CSTE & CAST, etc.
If you are experienced in any of the automation tools you can also take certification for that For Example, HP QTP certification, HP ALM certification (QC) or LoadRunner certifications. Selecting automation testing certification is easy as you already know which tool you are expert at.
When these choices are presented, the question that usually follows is, “Which one is better?”
The answer to this question is not as obvious as you might think it would be. It is complicated because comparing the certifications in terms of curriculum effectiveness and recognition in the market is not an easy or fair one. This is because; all they have in common is that they are QA certifications. Other than that, the following are all different:
- Scoring pattern
Check out the below table for a quick reference. For fee and pre-requisites the links for the exam sites are provided so that you can have the most current information.
|Prerequisites and more||CSTE||ISTQB||CAST|
|validity||3 years||life time||3 years|
|Exam format||essay questions and multiple choice||multiple choice||multiple choice|
|Scoring Pattern||No negative marks||No negative marks||No negative marks|
|Duration||2.5 hours||60 mins||75 mins|
|Minimum score to pass||70%||65%||70%|
When all these distinctions exist, it is not correct to compare the certifications. It is like comparing apples and oranges.
Most certifications are equally valued and are recognized in the market in a similar way. The choice is yours. Ask yourself the following questions to make a decision:
- Would you prefer multiple choice or essay writing format?
- Would you like lifetime validity or it is not a factor?
- Which fee is a better option for you?
- Would you prefer a shorter pattern of an exam or would you prefer a pattern that is more intensive?
- Which pre-requisites you satisfy?
In addition to all these, be sure to check out the syllabus and sample examination pattern before choosing.
Check the links provided in the above comparison chart to get the most recent info on these certifications:
Q #3) What if I learn a certain automation testing tool, a certain technology, and a certain language, and the employer is looking for something else?
Answer: Let me ask you a question. If you have been using yahoo mail to send and receive emails so far and for some reason, you want to give Gmail a try, would that be different? Would that need special training? Would you be able to adapt? YES.
The same logic applies when learning software testing tools.
The common tools that we use are:
- Test Management tools – HP ALM (QC), TestLink, qTest, etc.
- Bug Tracking tools – Bugzilla, Mantis, etc.
- Incident/project management tools – JIRA, Rally, etc.
- Automation tools – QTP, Selenium
- Performance Test tools – HP Load Runner, JMeter
It is practically impossible for anyone in the field, no matter how much experience they have to know all the tools, much less use all of them.
So, tool expertise is not usually what is required for projects. It is the proficiency with the process itself.
For Example, if you do not understand Defect Management, can any tool help you? Another extreme example is, we all know, love and use Microsoft Word to create documents. But if you expect it to conjure a test plan, can it? When we do not know the basics of the process, tools are of no use.
Our recommendation is that learn the process well. Learn the core concepts of defects management, automation, performance testing, etc. Get working knowledge in at least one tool in each genre and then you are good to go.
All tools that belong to the same category have similar features. You might need a day or two or at the max couple of weeks to familiarize yourself with a new one, but you will be ok in no time. The same logic applies to the programming languages and technologies. Fundamentals are more important than any technical variations.
That brings us to the end of an amazing Q&A round. Let us know if this has been useful to you. We would love to hear your comments and feedback.
About the author: These three most important questions for QA beginners are answered by our software testing online course instructor Swati S. Click here if you want to check the demo session for this software testing course.
If you have any questions, please leave them below. We promise to answer them all. 🙂