With a decade of experience in the Software Testing industry, I’ve witnessed the transformation of this field firsthand.
When I first started, Software Testing was just beginning to gain recognition and had recently transitioned from being considered optional to being considered a necessity, regardless of the software development lifecycle. In the past, Software Testing didn’t have a large following due to the associated costs.
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In the past, testing activities required hiring and training people, extending schedules to allow for testing time, and purchasing and maintaining machines and software – all in the hope that the software would work better and satisfy customers. But how much do firms need to spend to maintain the “Cost of Quality,” and at what point does this cost become worthwhile and yield benefits?
There has also been a stigma around the idea of “settling” for a Software Testing position instead of actively pursuing it, often because of the perception that testers are incapable of writing code. I have to admit, in many cases, this perception holds true.
Software engineers with top-notch degrees often lack programming skills and venture into the Software Testing field. These testers then become complacent in their roles, ignoring opportunities to learn and improve. They believe their current knowledge and experience are sufficient, and they become stagnant.
Meanwhile, the consumer marketplace has been rapidly evolving. People’s attention spans have grown shorter, the demand for faster deployments is increasing, and keeping up with ever-changing technology has become challenging. The industry now demands more efficient processes with fewer resources. Agile Testing methodologies have become popular, and I, too, wanted to jump on the agile bandwagon.
When I was hired to establish a test department and progress in my career, I had grand plans to implement agile test methodologies, lean processes, and rapid test turnarounds with minimal post-release defects. I aimed to keep the team small because automation would handle everything, and we would test products in production environments!
However, we eventually fell into the tedious routine of Manual Testing. It’s easy to become complacent and avoid making any efforts or using brainpower. But realizing this and wanting to break free from it is challenging. The key is to prevent falling into such a rut in the first place.
What You Will Learn:
List Of Top 5 Things A Tester Must Have, To Excel
#1) Continuous Improvement
Software testers must always be learning because the world of technology is constantly evolving. Today, we’re talking about jet planes that can transport people from Britain to Australia in less than three hours via space flight!
I don’t mean to suggest that everyone should start studying aviation science. What I mean is that testers should never settle in their comfort zones and use their limited capabilities as an excuse. Testers should continually expand their knowledge, particularly in the product domain. Many testers mistakenly equate product knowledge with domain knowledge, but this is completely wrong. While understanding the product is important, having domain knowledge is essential. Not understanding the domain of the system being tested is irresponsible and dangerous.
#2) Programming Skills
Software testers should have a basic understanding of programming. A tester who lacks programming skills cannot be as effective in their role.
I remember when I first started working at a company, it was a requirement for testers to complete a development rotation before becoming testers. This rule helped testers relate to and understand the code structure, adding value to developers and system engineers during the testing phase.
When a test team truly understands the code, their testing efforts provide added value to the product they are testing.
#3) Mind Of Innovation
Testers should constantly explore new ways to:
- Vary testing scenarios
- Improve testing methods
With these skills, varying testing scenarios becomes a matter of strategy rather than a challenge. Testers can focus on test strategies rather than the nitty-gritty details of testing. This shift in mindset frees testers to think ahead and develop innovative ideas. Many software testing tools and programs have emerged from forward-thinking approaches.
Testers sometimes see themselves as “back-office” individuals who don’t need to communicate as much as front-office personnel. Although there may be instances where testers need to speak less, it does not mean they should communicate less overall. Talking and communicating are two different things in any context.
A tester should be able to communicate clearly, accurately, and demonstrate strong comprehension skills. Communication encompasses activities such as reading and understanding specifications, translating them into structured test cases, reporting bugs, and writing clear and concise reports for management. But it doesn’t stop there.
In meetings, testers should be able to articulate their thoughts logically and unambiguously. In short, exceptional spoken and written communication skills are essential for testers to excel in the industry.
This term can make many software testers uncomfortable. I interpret accountability in two ways:
a) Accountability to the product being tested: Testers often come to the office, complete their tasks, and leave at the end of the day. As long as their daily tasks are done, they consider their job complete. This may sound reasonable, and many people strive for this kind of routine in the workplace. However, this isn’t the point I want to emphasize here. What testers often fail to see is how their work fits into the bigger picture.
Testers should understand the impact of the product on the market, businesses, consumers, etc. Studying these aspects helps testers realize the significance of their contributions and instills a sense of ownership.
b) Accountability for errors or mistakes: Testers are commonly seen as the individuals who catch other people’s mistakes. And testers often relish this role. However, testers – like everyone else – make mistakes too. Honest testers own up to their mistakes without offering unnecessary explanations that waste time and effort. This allows us to move away from blame and focus on finding solutions rather than shifting blame, which can lead to unwanted circumstances and strained relationships.
The world is progressing, and the industry is evolving. Testers must evolve too to stay ahead. “Learn, Improve, Innovate.”
About the Author: Ratha Jegatheson is a Quality Assurance Manager at Actix Malaysia, a company acquired by Amdocs. With 14 years of experience in the software industry and 10 years in software testing, she leads a test department involved in testing, deployment, support, and maintenance of enterprise network management products in the telecommunications industry. She also provides project and product management expertise for the projects she is involved in. Her goal is to expand her knowledge and delve into other key business areas in her domain.
These observations and opinions are solely my own. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.