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Manual QA testing engineers: Who are they and why a company cannot work without them?

Job Market
Jul 21, 2020

Today, there are several thousand QA testing jobs in the USA, and California is home to a great deal of them. But why is QA manual testing still so popular among employers, and what skills do you need to have to be successful in this area? Read on to discover who QA manual testers are and why a company cannot work without them.

What is manual testing?

Manual testing is when a person searches for software defects. The tester manually checks the performance of a program’s components by simulating possible user actions.

Key benefits of manual testing for companies

  • In short-term projects (up to one year), manual QA testing is usually much cheaper than automatic testing.
  • Also, when manual QA is used for short-term projects, an experienced manual tester can start analyzing a software program almost immediately after receiving a minimum set of instructions. Thus, the first results from a QA manual test can be obtained within the first day of work, which is almost impossible with automatic testing.
  • Manual testing may not be as accurate as automated testing, but it does give testers more flexibility in their work. If a tester wants to work on a specific task, then it's easier to do everything manually.
  • In QA manual testing, the engineer is able to examine additional scenarios that may not have been outlined in the original assignment brief. As a result, during manual testing, even more is checked than what might’ve been indicated in the assignment’s instructions. Typically, the defects found are much wider than what could’ve been found during an automatic test.
  • Manual testing makes it possible to identify and get rid of bottlenecks, establish stable operation of the entire system, evaluate the convenience of the program, and get a more finished final product that will meet the expectations of most users.

QA Manual testing stages can be divided into three phases:

Phase 1: The Initial Phase

  • Analysis of technical tasks, requirements for functionality.
  • Creation and approval of a test plan, deadlines, test cases, the number of repetitions.

Phase 2: The Main Phase

  • Implementation of manual testing based on requirements and according to pre-prepared test cases.
  • Fixing detected errors in the system.

Phase 3: The Final Phase

  • Develop and prepare reports that provide a summary of the findings found in the testing.
  • Draw up a recommendations list for software integration, system improvement.

Manual Testing Tools

Manual software testing uses a large number of different tools.

The testing itself is carried out in special programs, for example IBM Rational Quality Manager, HP ALM, MS Team Foundation Server, TestLink, Redmine, and Jira.

Among the file managers, the most commonly used are Total Commander, Far Manager and Free Commander. 

Among the XML editors are; Altova XML Spy, XMLPad and Xsemmel.

Screenshot, video or animation software include ScreenHunter, CamStudio, Snagit Snipping Tool, Monosnap, Recordit, and LICEcap.

Don't forget about Chrome DevTool, Xcode & Android Studio – that are great at diagnosing issues and can be integrated to work across different platforms.

Soft skills of a manual QA engineer

Soft skills are not your ‘usual’ skills, rather they are a set of attributes. These attributes allow individuals to get along with other people, in particular when communicating with colleagues and customers. Soft skills are not related to a specific profession, but they can be used across many professions in a lifetime.

Here’s a list of soft skills Manual QA engineers need:

  • Able to word questions in a simple way;
  • Able to provide detailed descriptions of the errors found while testing;
  • Ability to sort errors by importance;
  • Ability to form simple test cases;
  • Curiosity by nature;
  • Disciplined and responsible approach to work.

Hard skills of a manual QA engineer

Hard skills are abilities and skills that are directly related to professional duties.

  • Testing theory (various types, methods and types of test management);
  • Knowledge regarding the principles of web applications;
  • Ability to use different Operating Systems: Mac, Windows, and sometimes Linux;
  • Ability to use mobile Operating Systems: iOS and Android;
  • Basic PC skills.

Salary level

On average, a manual QA engineer can receive a salary of up to $75,000 per year, but this amount may vary depending on the skills, place of work, and duties performed by the tester.

You can learn QA Manual testing skills in just a month by signing up to our courses on Careerist. Our alumni work as QA testers at some of the world’s largest companies including Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber and Samsung.

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