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10 Mistakes Every New QA Tester Will Make and How to Avoid Them

July 20, 2021

When you start your very first job as a QA tester you’ll be very excited about the new changes and challenges that face you. But, at the same time you’ll probably be scared about doing something wrong in your new role. 

It’s important to remember that when you start a new job you’re still learning, and making mistakes is just part of the process. Besides, making mistakes is how we learn. 

In this article, we’ll look at the most common mistakes new QA testers make, and we’ll give you some tips on how to avoid them. 

Mistake 1: Undervaluing the importance of communication skills

Effective communication between all team members is crucial in every software development company. But, you often find that novice testers focus so much on their technical skills that they forget how important it is to communicate clearly.  

Think about it, a QA tester must communicate across different channels, and they must consider the audiences they talk to — developers, test managers, product owners, etc. 

Do not make this mistake. Be diplomatic and consider how you communicate, and choose your words carefully, especially when you have to give feedback to someone.   

Mistake 2: Being afraid to ask questions

Sometimes new testers don’t want to pester their colleagues with too many questions, so they try and find solutions to problems on their own. While this is great and it improves problem solving skills, it’s not always a good option. 

A good rule of thumb is, if you cannot find an answer to the problem within half an hour, look for help. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask questions! 

Mistake 3: Not prioritizing tasks

Testing is deadline-driven work. So, sooner or later every QA professional finds themselves with a ton of tasks that need doing, for loads of different people. 

Once you're faced with such a situation, you’ll quickly see that you cannot do everything at once. So, you’ll have to start prioritizing tasks. Work through what needs to be done task by task. 

Mistake 4: Writing poor bug reports

There are two kinds of reports that will make your colleagues unhappy: bug reports that are filled with irrelevant information and bug reports that don’t contain enough detail. 

Always remember that as a QA tester it is your job to find bugs and to describe them in a bug report. 

A well-written bug report is essential as it decreases the time between discovering an issue and fixing it. Make sure your bug reports always answer the "What?", "How?" and "When?" questions. Also, try and avoid making grammar mistakes, misspelling, and incomplete sentences. 

Mistake 5: Neglecting paperwork

Writing test case specifications, plans, scenarios, analysis, reports, and updating information in existing documents is undoubtedly a tedious task. But it has to be done. 

At some point you’ll be tempted to speed up these processes by skipping a section or two. But, please don't do this. It will inevitably lead to chaos. 

Detailed and up-to-date documentation is compulsory for an efficient QA process.   

Mistake 6: Assuming rather than double checking 

Another common mistake novice QA professionals make is confusing a bug and a feature. As a result, new QAs ignore some bugs and report back about ‘assumed issues’ that don’t actually exist. 

As a tester, you should never make assumptions. Make sure you understand the requirements, and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you need to double check something. 

Mistake 7: Using the same data

Sometimes testers fall into the trap of the so-called Pesticide Paradox. Basically they repeat the same test cases over and over again with data, yet they don’t realize that these tests have stopped detecting new bugs. 

To avoid this you have to regularly review the set of test cases that are going to be used, and keep the data as varied as possible. Remember, as a QA tester you are trying to make sure that the product will behave as expected in the real world, so do consider all the possible scenarios. 

Mistake 8: Ignoring intuition

Some people call it "experience," others prefer the term "intuition," and other people say it’s a “gut feeling”. Basically, sometimes we can predict issues before the issues happen. It’s that moment when we feel a particular feeling in our stomach, or a thought keeps popping into our head. 

With strict plans and checklists to follow, new testers choose to ignore their feelings. But one of the reasons we cannot entirely rely on automated testing is that humans can foresee the most unpredictable errors. 

So, yes, it’s important to follow procedures, but it’s not a bad idea to check “gut feelings” if they’re telling us something. 

Mistake 9: Not learning more 

Software testing is an ever-growing and fast-changing field, and every single day you will face new challenges at work. As a QA professional, you have to learn new things and improve your skills continuously. Being closed off to learning will not help you at work. 

For example, you must be open to learning about new solutions that might make completing your day-to-day tasks easier. 

Mistake 10: Worrying too much about making mistakes

And lastly, many new testers worry so much about making mistakes that they cannot work independently. 

Do not fall into this trap. 

Accept the fact that you will make a mistake sooner or later. And believe it or not, it will not be the end of the world. Analyze your error, and remember it so you don’t do the same thing again. Then move forward. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of mistakes a new QA tester will make in their very first job. Of course, it’s good if you can avoid them but it’s not essential to avoid making mistakes. If you do make a mistake, don’t punish yourself too much and learn from it instead.

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