Software testing is an interesting process, it is like a detective story: searching for “evidence” – bugs, identifying them and “catching” – creating reports for further correction. Software testing is carried out according to pre-established rules, using certain methods and techniques. Let's look a little deeper into this profession.
Testers – who are they, and what are their responsibilities?
To begin with, a QA engineer is a qualified professional with specialized knowledge and skills in the field of testing. In their role, it is necessary for them to find problems with a final product, and they go about their work in a SYSTEMATIC and DETAILED manner.
Software quality assurance engineers understand the inner workings and most intricate details of all the components in a program, and they use specialized tools to effectively test software.
In addition, they are able to create and simulate potential situations that could arise during a test that programmers might have failed to see.
Software quality assurance engineers must have a good understanding of the present testing technologies, the ability to write scripts, and to be able to anticipate potential problems before they occur.
One of the main, and most important, features of a software quality assurance engineer is, they are there to test the functionality of a software program and to ensure that it is convenient for the end users. Additionally, QA engineers must ensure the software complies with IT standards and guidelines.
Learn more about why we need software testers in this article.
Main work tasks for testers
Among main work for software testers there are:
- Creation and implementation policies and procedures for ensuring the quality of products in the company.
- Assessment of quality assurance standards.
- Development of procedures for creating and conducting tests and preparing bug reports.
- Comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of quality and control systems.
- Planning and conducting testing of final products.
- Preparation of documentation for audit and other quality assurance activities.
- Collecting and investigating complaints from the users.
- Collecting data on product quality, including identifying areas for improvement.
- Ensuring compliance with quality and industry regulations.
- Other actions to ensure the quality of the final product.
How does testing work? What stages does it consist of?
Regardless of what the engineer is testing, the testing process can be represented as follows:
- The choice of approach to testing – manual or automated. How one differs from the other and what approach is preferred in companies, you can read here.
- Creating a test plan and test scripts.
- Functional testing of the product, writing bug reports, running debugging programs.
- A series of retests after corrections of issues and resolving issues.
What areas do require software testers?
Not sure how this works in the real world, then think about a website that sells plane tickets. A QA engineer would simulate buying their own plane ticket in this example. The engineers would go to a website to order a plane ticket, and he/she would “follow” the same ‘route’ that a real user would take when booking a ticket. The engineer does this so that he/she can find and fix any errors in the algorithm/software along the way. Eliminating these errors ensures that booking a plane ticket, as a real passenger, runs smoothly and there are no issues.
By the way, quality assurance testing is an absolutely vital stage in any website development project. Why? Because users get angry if they experience problems with a website, and it usually results in losing them as a customer, plus it can have a knock-on effect on your reputation. Mistakes can lead to a waste of time and money, and who wants that?
Seeing the site in front of you, be sure: it was definitely tested. Here we have detailed the stages of such testing.
For a successful career, any professional must have a number of skills – both hard and soft, and QA is no exception in this matter. Let's take a look at the skills of a manual tester, because this is the profession that is most in demand right now.
Soft skills of a manual QA engineer
Soft skills of quality assurance engineers 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.
If you set out to count how many vacancies there are in the US today for a manual software tester, there are several thousand positions in California alone, and more and more vacancies for remote work are now appearing – and this despite the crisis.
The largest recruiter Glassdoor claims: on average, a manual tester receives a salary of up to $75 thousand per year, but the amount of payments may vary depending on skills, place of work and duties performed. Experienced testers receive up to $100 thousand per year, engineers with knowledge of automated testing – about 115 thousand per year.
At the same time, becoming a tester is not as difficult as it seems – there is no need to undergo long-term training at the institute, it is enough to take short-term courses. You can find out what else you need to become a tester in this article.