7/28/17

How to Ensure a Stable Career in Software Testing

Software testing is a lucrative career option with many Software Testing Jobs. As a software tester, you get to test applications on different platform and devices to make sure that it performs as expected when it is handed over to the consumers. To test an application, the QA team adopts different testing strategies and processes, the most basic being manual testing and test planning. But as the application evolves and new features are added, with every minor release the deliverables keep on increasing and it becomes really difficult to test each and every item. Also the scope of testing and the different types of testing required to ensure the product’s integrity, increases. 

So in order to cater to such needs, the company either hires more testers or looks out for testers who have all the required skills and the technical know-how to perform different types of testing within a short span, with minimal resources. During such a stage, testers with basic testing knowledge will add minimal or no value to the project. And can be deemed by the company or the higher management as under-valued resources. For this reason, to build a stable career in software testing, testers and QA professionals should take strict steps to increase their value.
In this article, we would talk about what necessary skills are required of a tester as the technology advances and how they can maintain a stronghold in the software testing community.

What is Expected in Software Testing Jobs

  • Software testers are often regarded as gatekeepers who make sure that the quality of the application is preserved. To maintain the standard of the application, testers come up with several testing methodologies specific to the project.
  • The different types of testing performed on the application are not documented, but arise out of need and depends solely on the type of the application.
  • As a tester, apart from basic test planning, test documentation and testing the overall flow of the application, he/ she should be able to recommend new forms of testing and learn new testing techniques on the go.
  • For a stable career in software testing jobs, testers should communicate with the client and get to know what the client wants and how their demands can be met especially from the testing standpoint.
  • At the end of the day, a tester should be able to convince the client about the stability of the entire application which would install the client’s trust in the application.

Ways to Ensure a Stable Career in Software Testing Jobs

Now that we have mentioned the different duties of a software tester, let’s talk about the extra mile that a tester has to walk in order to cherish a stable career in software testing Jobs.
⇒ Focus on business knowledge
Every project is built on a core business model. So if you want to test the application thoroughly with minimum gaps then you must take efforts to understand the underlying business.
  • For an insurance application, you must be aware of the different processes related to health/ medical or term insurance. While for an e-commerce application you must focus on the consumer interactions and business model of an online business portal.
  • With thorough business knowledge, you would be able to target the core functionalities that are often used and how a user or enterprise would use the application once it is pushed to development. Such knowledge increases the testing quality and widens the testing scope further which was earlier restricted to the SRS.
⇒ Improve software testing skills
Improving your technical skills can be considered as the most important factor that can help you attain a stable career in software testing.
  • As software testing is a purely technical role, you must add new skills and testing techniques to your existing ones to help you prosper. We would talk in detail about software testing skills in the subsequent section.
  • Improve client communication – From the perspective of product delivery, client communication is mandatory. But in order to hold on your own and provide correct estimates for testable items, you must be a part of client meetings to get a clear understanding of the features that need to be delivered in the sprint.
  • Also, when new change requests arrive, your understanding of the feature and repo with the client should be such that you can explain any hurdles that can arise due to the recent change and clearly communicate any repercussions related to it.
⇒ Increasing knowledge of project management and feature estimation
The days of Waterfall model are gone. As a tester, you must try to introduce Agile model if not already present. You must have a perspective of your project’s delivery model and should be able to cope up with urgent releases without compromising with the application’s quality.
  • Also during feature and testing estimation, every minute testing efforts should be considered to prevent slippage. Such thorough estimation would improve your planning skills and increase your capability to weigh different features and improve your foresight for related testing challenges
⇒ Innovating software testing techniques
There are many software testing techniques that you use regularly. But you can pitch in some new ideas to further improve the existing techniques. You can come up with some innovative platform for documenting test cases which can be easily accessible. You can use form filling browser extensions to fill the different forms in your web application swiftly.
  • That’s not all, if you are using Selenium (an open source automation platform) you can make some minor tweaks into your framework or create a wrapper around the existing automation setup to speed up the automation process or make it easily accessible for non-technical members. Such innovations would allow stakeholders and BAs to run tests and get accustomed to the application flow within a short span of time.
  • The goal should be to come up with new ideas which would reduce test execution time without compromising with the testing quality. Such innovations are widely recognized and can increase your visibility within your organization as well as in the testing community if pitched properly.
⇒ Being a team player
For a stable career in software testing jobs, you must be able to work and communicate effortlessly with team members. As no team members are alike, there are high chances of clashes of opinions in the team. You should be patient and mature enough to deal with such conflicts while keeping yourself focus on the primary goal, i.e. product quality.
  • You team bonding capabilities are tested even further when you hold senior positions like test lead or test manager. If you are holding such positions you must have the ability to resolve differences amongst other team members while clearly communicating your opinion.

How to Improve your skills for Software Testing Jobs

As we have mentioned earlier, your software testing skills are immensely important if you want a flourishing and stable career in software testing. So to enhance your skills you must pay attention to the following pointers. 
⇒ Polishing your analytical skills
Analytical skills are the core pillars of software testing. Such skills actually pave way for quality test cases and scenarios which add quality to the application and eliminates existing loopholes
  • Even when creating basic test cases, you must try to come up with new ways to break the functionalities. Every scenario should consist of negative test cases which would challenge the underlying logic.
  • You must never have a tunnel vision, or preconceived notion and should venture new avenues to go beyond the UI layer and test the business and database layer.
⇒ Automation is the key – If you are a manual tester, it won’t do you much good in the current IT scene. As a matter of fact, as a tester any technical stage that you are currently at, you must be ready to transcend. For a manual tester, you must equip yourself with the knowledge of Automation testing. You can select a tool of your choice, be it Selenium, UFT, Appium, and select a programming language that goes along with any of these tools.
  • Automation testing has become indispensable criteria in the testing Jobs. No matter how many years of experience you have, you must be proficient with at least one of the leading automation testing tool. That’s not all, to structure your automation scripts, to make it more readable and re-usable you must be aware of a handful of test frameworks which would help you while structuring your tests.
  • If you have a basic understanding of programming, you can opt for different online courses and e-tutorials which can help you get on track and provide a good foothold on different automation testing frameworks. You can take a look at these courses to get started.
    • BDD with Java
    • Java for Selenium & Appium
    • TestNG with Java
    • Appium Mobile Automation
    • Selenium WebDriver with Java
⇒ Including new testing methodologies – Even if you are well aware of automation testing, your duty would be just another automation tester. Even though your job would be stable, it would lack the excitement within a few years. So what should you do get the charm back? Well, try your hands on other testing methodologies.
  • There are a number of different testing techniques that are sought after by companies worldwide. You can opt for API testing (SOAP & REST), security testing, mobile testing, penetration testing, Big Data testing, to name a few. And guess what, the list gets bigger every passing day.
⇒ Thinking a few steps ahead – In case ensuring a stable career in software testing is not enough for you, and you want yourself to be set apart from the rest of the testers, then you have to think out of the box. In order to get ahead of the curve, you must look at the current software trends and practices and seek for new testing techniques that you believe would catch traction in the coming years.
  • Few such futuristic testing techniques would be IoT(Internet of Things) testing, testing software based on VR (virtual reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and learning meta-programming and machine learning.
  • Such testing techniques would require you to gather ample knowledge of the software and the hardware used for the respective devices. As these technologies are still in the early development or beta stages, having a basic understanding and in-depth know-how of such technologies and testing techniques would add immense value to your testing Jobs.
⇒ Welcoming change and embracing the learning curve – No matter which position you are in, you must welcome change and embrace new testing technique that hits the market.
  • Having a positive attitude and willingness to learn would help you attain a stable career in software testing Jobs.
Conclusion
  • You must venture new testing techniques and not restrict yourself to simple manual testing processes and techniques.
  • Having in-depth knowledge of any automation tool is essential for a stable career in software testing. But to stand out from the rest you must explore new testing techniques and even keep an open eye for emerging technological trends and practices.
  • Apart from software testing skills, you must develop good test management and estimation skill to ensure smooth delivery.
  • At every point of time, you should strive to be a team player and improve your client interaction skills.

10 comments:

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