If you are still deciding on which career path to take, or perhaps you’re considering changing your current career, the tech field is something you should look into.
Why? The demand for IT specialists is extremely high, even during the pandemic of 2020 there were still many jobs available in this field, when other professions started to disappear.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be around 531,200 new tech-related occupations by 2029. What is more important is the fact that these jobs are well-paid, and often have significant growth opportunities. So, who wouldn't want to consider a career in IT?
One of the quickest and easiest ways of getting into the tech industry is by becoming a software tester.
The demand for trained software testers, QA analysts, and engineers in the US and worldwide increases every year. It’s not hard to see why. Software is everywhere - we use it in the office and at home! We need it to order a pizza, to watch a movie, and to find the cheapest flight tickets. This list is endless... And yet, somebody out there had to make sure that all of these applications worked correctly for us in the first place. It’s an incredibly powerful position to be in!
Plus, testers get paid really well! According to Indeed, a manual quality assurance tester's average salary is about $62,000 per year, while senior QA testers earn about $90,000.
And if this is not enough to persuade you that starting your career in IT as a tester is a great choice, read this. CareerBliss’ research shows that the role of a QA analyst is the second happiest job in America! And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense:
- This job has meaning. Testers are doing something that has a direct impact on the quality of the final product.
- It is flexible. Experienced testers can shift to many different job positions if they want to.
- Testing gives a tester the perfect chance to learn new things each day. Despite the common myth, it’s not boring. On the contrary, it’s challenging and fun!
Now we’ve introduced you to the idea of testing and its benefits, perhaps you’re seriously thinking about how to get a software testing job without any prior experience… Then look no further! Stay with us as we discuss this topic right now.
In this article, we will cover:
Why does every software development company need a tester(s)?
What type of testers are there?
What makes the job of a ‘tester’ an excellent entry position?
What skills do you need to get a job in software testing?
How can you become a tester if you have no degree in Computer Science?
How to get a testing job if you don’t have experience?
Why does every software development company need a tester(s)?
Now you know the simplest way to get into the tech industry is by becoming a tester, let’s take a closer look at why testers are so important.
Every company that is developing a software application wants to bring a reliable product, with the best possible user experience, to the market. And nobody can achieve this high-quality software without using a well-established testing process, to test out their project before it goes out to the public.
We are only humans, so let's admit it, we make mistakes in projects all the time. Which is why the key to success is to check everything we produce for bugs and errors before it goes anywhere near the target audience.
This is why software testing professionals are irreplaceable.
Testers are able to evaluate if the application that has been created actually matches its requirements, and to see if the application works as expected at each phase of the software development lifecycle.
How do they do that? By choosing the appropriate methods, tools, designing various tests, running them, and documenting the issues that have been found.
There are two main types of testing — manual and automated.
In manual software testing, test cases are executed manually by an engineer. In automated testing, engineers write a testing code that can be run repeatedly to look for errors in the software. Not all problems can be found automatically, so manual testing can never be replaced.
Manual testing does not require advanced technical skills and knowledge of programming languages, and it’s relatively easy to learn.
So, now you’re aware of why testers are needed, let’s check out what makes the role of a tester a perfect entry position into the software development industry?
What makes the role of a ‘tester’ an excellent entry position?
You already know why testing is so important in software development, but now you need to know why so many people find this role so appealing. Let’s find out why.
To get started in testing you need to learn about manual testing at a minimum. It just so happens that Manual testing can be learnt relatively quickly, which is incredibly favorable by individuals.
Another favorable point by individuals is the career growth that comes with testing. You don’t have to work as a manual tester all of your life, unless this is what you want to do. But by doing this job, you actually have the opportunity to analyze different aspects of the software development process, and this experience and knowledge can be applied to different positions later on.
Let's look at a few potential jobs you could do after becoming a tester.
- Test automation engineer
Many manual testers choose to move to better-paid test automation jobs.
- QA manager
After mastering the basics, you can focus on making your way up to QA team coordinator and QA manager roles.
- Product manager
Former QA professionals make great product managers, as they have spent plenty of time analyzing and reviewing applications. Here individuals get a deep understanding of all the software development phases.
- Software developer
Many developers make their way into their position through automated testing jobs.
There are many potential career paths that could be taken after you’ve become a tester. Now it’s important to see what skills you need to be a tester.
What skills do you need to become a software tester?
Every job requires skills, and the role of a tester is no different. In fact, the role of a tester actually has quite a specific skill set. Read on to find out what skills testers usually have to have.
Before we look at the skill set needed, let’s check out some of the daily tasks a tester might have so that we understand why a tester needs their particular skill set:
- Analyze the specification and requirements of the software.
- Participate in the creation of the test plan.
- Design test cases.
- Perform tests at each phase of testing.
- Document the bugs.
- Prepare reports for managers.
To be successful at these day to day tasks you need to have a particular skill set. Let's have a look at the common soft skills of a tester first:
- Curiosity - The whole testing process is driven by the desire to find what is hidden.
- Eye for detail - The ability to notice what others have missed is key to becoming a good tester.
- Strong analytical and logical skills - These are essential for understanding and creating test cases.
- Clear communication - There is no use in finding errors if you cannot write them down and communicate what they are to the rest of your team.
- Ability to learn quickly - The IT world is constantly changing, and QA testers must adapt to new methods and tools all the time. It is challenging, but on the other hand, there is no place for boredom as a QA engineer.
- Team player - No matter how big or small a company is, creating high-quality products is impossible without developers and testers working together effectively.
Now let's move on to the hard skills of a tester:
- It’s necessary to understand the main testing concepts (testing stages, various methods, and usual tests).
- Understand the different approaches - Waterfall, Agile, Scrum.
- Knowledge of the main UNIX/ADB commands and principles of working with databases.
- Ability to work with the most popular testing tools, like the JIRA bug tracking tool.
- Understanding of different desktop and mobile operating systems: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
We can’t deny it, there is a lot to learn, but believe us, this is not rocket science. You can do it!
You’ve got a much better idea now about what skills a tester needs, all you need to know now is where you can actually learn all of these skills.
Where can you learn all of these skills?
Now that you know why testers are so important, what career opportunities you could have as a tester, and what skills you need to become a software tester, it’s time to talk about where to learn these all important ‘tester skills’.
Many QA professionals have an academic background in Computer Science. A bachelor's degree in Maths or Engineering is a good start as well. And if this path suits you, here is an overview of the US’s most reputable universities to study Computer Science:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Carnegie Mellon University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Washington
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Georgia Institute of Technology
University will give you the fundamental knowledge that you need to become a tester, and a university degree might help you to get a job faster. But it’s not absolutely necessary to have a degree.
The university approach often requires a large amount of time and money - not everyone has this. If you’re short of one of these resources, do not feel discouraged, there is another way to learn. Taking a course that is designed for learning software testing in a short-time period is a great alternative.
Nowadays, there are plenty of options, both online and offline. You can choose between hundreds of courses on websites like Lynda.com, Careerist, Udemy.com, and edX.org. Plus, you will find some schools that provide training not far from where you live.
With so many options, another question arises.
How to choose a course that suits your needs? There are several points you have to consider.
- Price and payment terms. The prices of software courses vary greatly. Be sure to research the internet and other areas thoroughly, to find the training course for you that is within your budget. Read the payment terms carefully. For example, to enroll on a course with Careerist you only pay the registration fee to begin with, you pay the course fee when you are hired by a company. Don’t be fooled by fake websites, always check for reviews and find out if the company is genuine.
- Up to date information is mandatory. Remember, the IT world is changing so quickly that even a year-old course can be outdated. Make sure to check that the content being taught on the chosen program has been updated lately.
- Practice is key. It is not good enough to just watch hours of videos and to read tons of articles on testing. You must get lots of practical experience into your training. If the course does not teach you how to put all the knowledge you have learnt into practice leave it alone.
- Feedback is necessary. Without a helpful tutor, who will answer all the questions you might have, learning software testing will not be easy. You need to have back and forth communication with a tutor, so that they can point out your errors and you can see where you’re going wrong. Without this you WILL keep making the same mistakes over and over. Check if the course you have chosen provides this kind of support, if not leave it, or be weary.
You’ve now got a great idea about the role of a tester, and what and where you need to go to learn to become a tester. All you need to know now is, how do you get your first software testing job.
How to get your first software testing job?
You’ve done all the hard work and you’re finally ready to go and get a job. Here are some things to consider when you’re going to go and get your very first software testing job.
You need to check out how many open positions are in your locality. Search for "testing jobs near me." Or, if you are willing to move, there are tons of job opportunities across the US. For example, there is an above-average demand for QA professionals in California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, and Alaska.
Plus, there are many remote freelance software testing jobs out there. Testing requires minimal equipment, so if you want to work from home as a tester, you can do so.
The process of finding your first job is rarely easy. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Be honest about your skills. You have to be able to talk confidently about everything you have written in your resume.
- Do not worry too much about a lack of experience. Many companies are willing to hire someone who is open to learning testing procedures that are specific to their software.
- Be patient. Sometimes getting a job as a newbie takes a few months. Do not feel discouraged. Use the time to master your skills.
- Practice whenever it is possible.
- Try and connect with professionals in your locality, perhaps they can help you to find an opportunity.
The role of a tester is a lucrative and energetic one! There is a lot to learn, and there are many skills to master, but this whole process can be very enjoyable if done correctly.
If you have found our article interesting, and you find yourself walking towards the path of a tester, then you need to go to our website to find out more information about our Manual QA testing course!
Briefly, our Manual QA course is only several lessons long, and it is targeted specifically at getting you ready for, and landing your first job in the testing field. Our course covers: us helping you to prepare a resume, creating a strong LinkedIn profile, and practicing interview questions with you. Plus, all the information on our course is all up-to-date, and is checked regularly. Finally, after the course has ended, our tutors are there for you, if you need any help.
Enroll on our course and begin your journey into the exciting world of testing via our website right now.