Demystifying Misunderstandings in Software Testing:
After spending almost a decade in the Quality Assurance domain, I’ve observed a common trend where some people seem hesitant to explore a career in testing due to insecurities and pessimistic perceptions. Through this article, I aim to shed light on my insights and experiences by dispelling some widely held myths people hold about this profession. It’s commonplace to set lofty expectations for ourselves, which only lead to frustrations and stress when they are not fulfilled. Let’s dissect some of these misconceptions and initiate a conversation about what testing experts truly think.
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In this context, I aim to highlight some prevalent myths while opening up a platform for dialogue among our testing community. While the list below is primarily influenced by my personal experiences, I encourage everyone to participate and voice their perspectives.
What You Will Learn:
- 9 Widely-held Misconceptions About Being A Software Tester Vs Reality
- #1) Testers only get involved post-development during the project lifecycle
- #2) Testers will never become Project Managers
- #3) Reporting to a Dev lead can stall a tester’s career growth
- #4) Those with poor coding competencies are relegated to testing
- #5) Testing is merely clicking randomly
- #6) Testing is simply about documentation and filling up Excel sheets
- #7) Testers have a comparatively low salary scale
- #8) Testers are not often recognized
- #9) Testers do not hinder project delivery
- 3 Additional Major Misunderstandings that Testers Should Dismiss
- Wrapping Up:
9 Widely-held Misconceptions About Being A Software Tester Vs Reality
Off we go.
#1) Testers only get involved post-development during the project lifecycle
This is one of the most misleading myths. If it were to be true, it would imply severe issues with the project. Quality Assurance being involved only at later stages introduces risks to project quality and timelines. Testers need just as much time as developers to comprehend requirements, identify gaps, prepare deliverables, and plan and carry out tests. When testers are introduced late into the project, they must depend on the developers’ comprehension, which often fails to enhance the overall deliverable quality. Instead, testers should be a part of the project right from the outset, contributing their unique perspective, understanding, analysis, time, and active participation.
#2) Testers will never become Project Managers
There is a widespread belief that testers do not experience significant career growth in terms of managerial positions. But it’s important to note that test management and project management are separate and independent fields. Project management requires skills like people management, cost management, and time management, which are not bound by specific technical domains. Testers have the same opportunity as anyone else to build a successful project management career by developing the necessary competencies.
#3) Reporting to a Dev lead can stall a tester’s career growth
Although having separate hierarchies for Dev lead and QA lead who report to the Project Manager is ideal, sometimes there can be situations where testers report to a Dev lead who may not possess a deep understanding of testing. While this scenario is not the most suitable one, reporting to such a lead does not necessarily impose a long-term detrimental impact on a tester’s career progression. Provided testers continue to effectively perform their assigned tasks and assist the lead in becoming familiar with testing practices, their career progression remains unimpacted.
#4) Those with poor coding competencies are relegated to testing
It’s a widespread misbelief that testers lack strong coding skills. But in reality, testers often deploy coding in several ways. They formulate complex SQL queries for data validation or create test data for ETL testing and data verification. They also conduct code migration testing where they convert code from one database to another. Besides, for automation testing, testers need to script in languages like Java or Perl. In short, having coding skills is highly valued in the testing field.
#5) Testing is merely clicking randomly
A common misconception is that testing simply entails clicking randomly on the User Interface (UI) and recording details in Excel or other formats. Contrarily, testers follow specific test steps to make sure the application or UI functions optimally across all scenarios. Testing mandates strategic vision as the actions of users aren’t confined. Testers extensively explore the UI, which might appear as random clicks to those unfamiliar with the process. But seasoned testers can vouch for the methodical approach underlying this seeming madness.
#6) Testing is simply about documentation and filling up Excel sheets
While documentation does form a crucial part of any project, it’s not a task exclusive to testers. All team members are expected to partake in documentation to lay a solid groundwork and keep a track record of the project. For testers, documentation holds heightened importance since their deliverables primarily revolve around ensuring quality. They utilize tools like the Microsoft Office suite or testing management software to construct robust artifacts. Nonetheless, testing goes beyond just documentation, involving a range of other tasks.
#7) Testers have a comparatively low salary scale
Feeling underpaid as a tester might be indicative of belonging to the wrong organization. However, it’s vital to recognize that salary depends on multiple factors and being a tester is not the single determinant for lower pay. In order to dismiss this myth, it’s crucial to value a tester’s skills and negotiate paychecks accordingly.
#8) Testers are not often recognized
The testing profession sometimes can feel thankless, but it’s not a personal issue. Recognition primarily depends on the company culture and how they value their teams. Testers ought to maintain a positive attitude and let their work be their representation. Although receiving accolades and commendations feels good, testers should not lower their self-esteem if they are not lauded or awarded. The gratification of team members and customers who understand the significance of Quality Assurance can be rewarding, irrespective of external recognition.
#9) Testers don’t delay project delivery
Despite starting alongside the development team, testers often await the completion of the development phase to kickstart their testing activities. Subsequently, there are iterative processes of bug reporting, rectification, and retesting. This might prompt the impression that the testing phase is responsible for project delays. However, with proper planning and realistic expectations, such issues can be avoided. Testing per se does not cause project delays; instead, it’s incorrect planning and unrealistic expectations that lead to delays.
3 Additional Major Misunderstandings that Testers Should Dismiss
3 Additional Major Misunderstandings that Testers Should Dismiss
Automation testers need not concern themselves with manual testing
Nothing can be more misleading. Automation testing is a form of testing that employs a different approach. It’s crucial to understand that automation testing augments manual testing; both aren’t in competition. While specializing in automation bears its advantages, manual testing is still an underlying fundamental skill. Automation testers might also have to indulge in manual testing for certain projects. Hence, both types of testing are vital to assure quality.
Test leads do not ‘test’
Presuming that test leads shouldn’t partake in testing activities is a mistaken belief. Test leads are integral to the QA team and are expected to contribute to testing endeavors. Even though management tasks might take up a good portion of a test lead’s responsibilities, they should still dedicate a certain amount of time to actual testing activities. For a successful career, it’s important to always retain the tester mindset, irrespective of formal titles.
Testers are always skeptical about everything in the IT industry
Excessive skepticism and doubting everything can be counterproductive and potentially hamper efficiency. Testers should adapt a balanced approach of trust but verify. While it’s necessary to be skeptical to question and reveal potential issues, it’s equally important to appreciate the software’s effectiveness, goal, and potential. Testers work towards refining the product’s quality and eliminating any deterrents to its success. Their commitment to the product and belief in it fuels their efforts and contributes to the product’s overall triumph.
We hope this article successfully busted some rumors and misunderstandings regarding the QA community. Being a tester is an incredible job that requires outstanding skills and a strong faith in quality assurance. Seize the challenge, have faith in yourself and your work, and remember that not everyone can fit into the tester’s role. Let’s carry the discussion forward in the comments section, do share your opinions, and let us know if you’re in agreement, disagreement, or hold mixed views about the list provided above.