Most software engineers join the workforce right after graduation. Historically, software test engineers have found themselves at the bottom of the pyramid– arguably so. Manual testers, especially, fail to acquire significant hardcore programming skills early in their careers. They normally do not get considerable latitude to learn these skills. At this point, and onward, many tend to become complacent with time and end up sticking to QA & testing as a career choice. For most QA professionals, their learning curve starts dwindling, especially with new and continuous technological advancements. The current scenario, however, does not allow this at all and offers ample opportunity for those willing to step up their game.
Agile testing is the new buzzword, as faster deployment is becoming the key to stay ahead of the curve. Automation, lean processes, and rapid turnarounds with the minimal possible post release defect percentage are crucial for success in the current competitive environment. With many companies developing similar products and offering similar services, quality has become a major differentiator. The role of the tester has transformed dramatically with the need to work with and among developers, designers, product managers, customers, and clients.
Software Testing has evolved from ‘no need for’ technical know-how to ‘need for’ an in depth knowledge of software testing development life-cycle, out-of-box thinking, and a fair amount of programming skills. Hence, continuously learning new things to keep up with the latest trends has become inevitable.
Here are seven critical software testing skills that a tester should have or should learn to remain competent and relevant in the contemporary dynamic landscape.
1. Networking and Communication
Whether connecting with experts, exchanging ideas, or sharing subject related pertinent information, social networking help testers to remain up-to-date with the latest testing trends and techniques. And communication skills especially soft skills play a vital role in this.
Additionally, communicating effectively with professionals, with stakeholders, and with team members assists in better comprehension of the business requirements and testing needs, resulting in a robust test plan.
Some other significant deliverables of good communication skills are – structured test cases, apt bug reporting, and clear and concise management reports forming a solid basis for a viable end product. Further, these skills also help in adopting the latest approaches, like DevOps, successfully.
2. Agile and DevOps Methodologies
Testers must be adept at Agile and DevOps methodologies for continuous releases and collaborative teamwork. These approaches form the basis for software development in the current dynamic environments, eliminating role rigidity and silos.
Manual QA testing cannot entirely cope up with the increasingly complex frameworks and testing scenarios. Hence, automation testing skills are must for higher accuracy and faster delivery. Testers need sound knowledge to figure out the tests that need to be automated, the tools required for the purpose, and the execution methodology. They should also be well aware of various bug tracking tools, GUI testing tools and more.
Some of the sought-after tools testers should be aware of include– Selenium, including Selenium Remote Control, QTP, LoadRunner, xUnit frameworks, JMeter, Soap UI, Appium, and Calabash among others.
4. Latest Web and Mobile Technologies
To deliver better QA solutions, testers must be aware of the web and mobile technology advancements. It assists them to better understand the coding architecture, frameworks needed, and the technical aspects. This will help them to better understand the app built and scalability issues for testing purposes.
5. Testing Techniques and Basic Programming Skills
Every tester must be aware of the various testing techniques and tool usage. The knowledge of black box testing, penetration testing, unit testing etc. help testers work effectively on the different type of projects.
Learning some core programming skills can further assist testers to work in a variety of environments. Python, Java, Ruby, and SQL are some of the popular and in-demand programming languages. If testers are aware of the fundamentals of these languages, it can help them to understand the basic app functioning, to figure out the coding errors, and hence, to create effective tests.
6. Understanding Priorities
Time management skills are crucial for testers. Understanding what should be tested first and foremost, and what can be left for later is critical. Similarly, a tester must be able to figure out what can be automated and what needs to be tested manually in the given timeframe and as per the need of the project. With continuous releases, delineating prioritized features and testing them aptly for a defect-free timely release is critical.
7. Logical Thinking, Curiosity, and Problem Solving Skills
A tester with a curious and analytical mind is able to better understand the changing business requirements and associated testing needs. These skills are crucial to get the requisite clarity on the project by continuously communicating with the different stakeholders.
Additionally, an out of box thinker, with a logical and analytical bent of mind, is more capable of finding bugs, understanding the complexities of the app, choosing the right tools and techniques, comprehending different testing environments and frameworks, and accordingly testing the app. Experience, no doubt, also plays a major role in this.
Similarly, with problem-solving skills, a tester is able to question unusual app behavior, analyze it well, identify defects and defect probabilities and look for possible solutions, or prepare an effective bug report to deliver a robust end product.
These are some of the software testing skills a tester must possess to ensure that the project is running smoothly. Software delays are costly for a company and so are defective releases. Hence, a tester must keep up with the latest technology, and continuously learn and update testing skills and knowledge to remain competitive and relevant.
So, keep learning and improving yourselves testers, you are doing a great job!!