Going into a software testing interview as a seasoned professional, you are often questioned about your overall work history. If the recruitment is centered on a project, the interviewer is likely to delve into your expertise in a specific domain.
Although substantial work experience is crucial in determining one’s suitability for the role and the accompanying remuneration, why do employers place such an emphasis on domain knowledge? Does the employment of a domain specialist truly affect the outcome directly?
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You can glean an understanding of the critical role of domain knowledge in testing by perusing this article.
This writing will address the following aspects:
- The preference for a domain expert over a newcomer
- The meaning of ‘domain’ in the context of the software industry
- Various domains within the software industry
- Approaches to improving domain knowledge
The knowledge you will acquire:
The Preference for Domain Knowledge
Each sector has established distinct ways of conducting their operations, which influence the skill sets required, both on a technical and a business level.
For instance, when operating within the healthcare realm, understanding healthcare terminologies and concepts such as inpatients, providers, outpatients, and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes is essential.
These terminologies are often featured in the requirement document. To compose effective test cases, testers must be familiar with these terms.
Similarly, the retail industry’s point-of-sale (POS) system needs an understanding of payment processing and credit card transactions.
However, it’s important to note that lacking this domain knowledge does not imply that a tester is unsuited or unable to execute a project. It simply means that novice testers need to build up their capabilities.
The main distinction between a newbie and an expert is the ability of an expert to provide insights and make meaningful contributions beyond just completing tasks competently.
While a novice can discharge the job duties, a domain expert can propose beneficial modifications, give valuable feedback, and actively join in decision-making meetings.
During the recruitment process, be it internally or external, this question is put forth to ascertain the candidate’s compatibility. The recruiter evaluates if a novice tester might need time to acquire domain knowledge, as compared to a domain expert who already has basic apprehension and can immediately delve into the technical specifics of the project.
Sometimes, those testers who demonstrate a notable interest in a certain domain and develop expertise might even be recruited as business analysts (BAs). As such, acquiring domain knowledge does not only behoove testers in their present jobs, but it also paves the way for further career prospects.
Domain Definition in the Software Industry
In the context of the software industry, ‘domain’ refers to the different industries or sectors that are being serviced by software companies. For instance, if a company acquires a project from Vodafone, it is linked to the telecom domain.
Domains are classified based on their respective business types rather than technology or platform. For example, testers working with Vodafone might need telecom domain knowledge along with technical skills in Java and databases.
The following are some of the domains that testers typically work within:
How to Increase Your Domain Knowledge
Now that we’ve established the importance of domain knowledge, here are some suggestions on how to augment your proficiency in a particular domain:
- In a testing project, you should focus on the business perspective and try to think as an end-user would. Evaluate the significance of every functionality from a business standpoint to enhance your understanding of the domain.
- If you are a neophyte to a domain and do not comprehend its terminologies, use Google to enlighten yourself.
- Firms sometimes offer internal training resources. Availing these materials can improve your domain knowledge.
- On top of that, some companies provide internal domain certifications. While these might not be highly regarded outside the firm, they can assist in gaining understanding and might be prerequisites for certain projects. For example, taking part in a healthcare project could necessitate passing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) certification.
This article has aimed to provide an overarching comprehension of domains and the significance of domain knowledge for testers. Nevertheless, field-specific testing is vast and warrants additional research.
For an in-depth understanding of testing methodologies pertinent to different domains, consult individual topics.
Author: This article was drafted by Priya R., a key member of our team. If you wish to contribute content for our numerous STH readers, reach out to us here.
We are interested to hear about the domain you are currently working on, and which other domains you are keen on studying.