Monday, April 14, 2014

Formula for successful QA tester

Bling or Blah, Boring

When I was checking the news yesterday and hearing the current debate about standardized tests in schools in NYC this made me think about my Career/ Passion. In India, when I started my career lot of people used to make fun of testing team saying it is the boring job and not for engineers. In my opinion if you ever think like that and not ready for rewiring yourself with the trend then you cannot be passionate about Quality Assurance/ testing.

As a software tester I have seen many fellow testers when trying to find next job there is a real need to stand out in the pool of resumes any employer receives. Anyone in QA knows the number of resources available in market at any time for a particular position. Here I go with my formula for success as a QA resource. These are the 5 Qualities of a Quality Assurance analyst/tester that makes you the best and lets you stand out from the rest.

Formula for being successful QA Analyst

Evolve with Technology
The tester in any project should have a really good understanding of the application. The QA team has the responsibility to make the application results in a great user experience. Anyone working as a tester should remember the importance of reading some websites or blogs like and Recently when browsing online for such articles read this quote from testing guru “When asking a team of  software testers on what is the best book on software testing, most replied they haven’t read one” . The tester should rewire themselves at the speed of today's technical evolution and improve knowledge base for testing various applications.

Sense of responsibility
Many days in our life as Tech worker we feel that we want to disappear and be out of this problem. But blame game is not an option for growth in our career. We have to take responsibility for our actions and stop from blaming the developer for wrong code or the user for incomplete requirement. The role and visibility of the tester in a project increases with increase in ownership of the functionality. Anyone can blame someone and escape from the scenario in junior level, but not in senior roles. Any exception in code has to be handled with an error message rather than crashing an application.

Domain Expert
In many places the jobs are based on a particular domain. When you live close to NYC there is more concentration of banking or insurance companies. If you live in CA the jobs are based on latest technologies like twitter or mobile apps. The communication between the end user and application developer in common language about key terms regarding the business.  Anyone cannot really understand the application functionality without the knowledge of key terms in particular domain. As a Quality Assurance personnel one should have the business idea of the end user to add value to the team. So keep reading a lot and do work in projects in different domains to gain insight. I came across this site which explains about domain with real time examples,

Automation tools
We have read so many articles and blogs that MANUAL TESTING is there to stay. It is true, but life gets tough when you are just a manual tester. Anyone can survive in today’s market with a good knowledge of automation. Whenever it is said, the next question is which one is the best tool to learn? The answer to this question is not any tool but knowledge of automation and a good knowledge of programming logic. Also many new projects nowadays goes towards open source tools as they are cheaper, easier to switch from one  tool to another and more compatible with agile user stories. So good tester should have a good understanding of automation and technical expertise on creating framework and scripts using one tool.

A lot of my friends argue with me that certification does not place you in a job. But I have seen so many job openings in many websites with mandatory qualification being a certification. The days of real person looking at a resume are over, so when recruiting software skims through hundreds of resume, resumes with certifications are acting as filters. Also when recruiting for manual testing certifications help to judge the knowledge of testing concepts. Sometimes domain expertise can be gained with certifications even with little real time experience. If you complete a testing certification CSTE or CSQA without real time knowledge it may not help you. The technical knowledge and domain expertise is not valuable when one exists without another.

In my opinion the software tester life in USA as just a manual tester is numbered, since the tester need to deploy application and use automation tools to make testing efficient and effective in short span of time. The technology keeps changing from mobile to agile to cloud due to which people attention span gets shorter and shorter. So testing should be in short duration using agile techniques like SCRUM and Kanban. The tester has to follow the above things and make the client understand who the right jewel is for the king’s crown, aka next project.

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