What are the Must-Have Skills for QA PROFESSIONALS?Category: Quality Assurance Posted:Mar 15, 2017 By: Serena Josh
The current Software Testing industry is experiencing growth at an amazing pace with the number of professionals pursuing software testing as a career, which is increasing exponentially with each passing day. The need to deliver quality software products has never been more pressing, with each enterprise investing a lot of time and effort to hire the best QA professionals for achieving their project goals.
Any professional wanting to be in the Quality Assurance and testing domain will need to understand what it takes to be successful and any QA professional worth his/her salt will possess the skills mentioned below.
Must-Have Skills for QA Professionals
1. Analytical and Logical Thinking
Analytical ability and a good thinking ability is essential to thrive in testing and will serve as an asset to the tester in his stint as a tester
The primary objective of testing is to recognize the hidden errors, and not simply prove that the software works. For a tester to be effective in his role, one must be able to analyse the given business situations and judge all possible scenarios. The professional should have the capability to recognise and resolve unfamiliar problems and should formulate a strategy to validate it. Only a person who has strong analytical skills can effectively generate situations and validate the application under test before presenting it to customers.
For complex issues in the software a tester should be able to chunk the software into manageable chunks, analyse the relationship between the functional chunks of code and debug appropriately using logical approaches. He should also be able to recognize contradictions, redundancies and implications to make the code consistent and unambiguous.
A good software tester should be able to create multiple what if scenarios. They should be able to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and apply multiple scenarios in the workflow of the application.
2. The Ability to Envision Business Situations
A QA professional must not only envision real time business scenarios and abstract an idea from the specifications provided by the client. Real time business scenarios must be visualized into something tangible and ready for some form of knowledge transfer, should the need arise. The QA professional must focus on the code at hand rather than being idealistic about what it is supposed to be.
In addition to anticipating possible complex issues a tester must be able to visualize and articulate them as required. System simulations should not be a problem for the seasoned tester and less of a challenge for someone who has just gotten into testing. In today’s world just in time business scenarios, while it is not possible to block time for unscheduled brainstorming sessions, a tester must be able to ideate, conceptualize and execute as required for the testing task- all this being done on a turnkey basis.
Business awareness is a desirable trait in a QA professional. This basically means that the tester must have what it takes to view the software product on a holistic level. The tester should not just focus on the piece of code at hand, but must look how that particular piece of code will fit in with the bigger picture.
3. A test to break attitude
While possessing more than just a penchant for quality, a tester must display a “test to break” attitude towards testing the intended portions of code. This phrase basically means that the tester must test and push the software product at hand until it “breaks”. Only then will the tester be able to explore all the flaws of the software product.
It is always a good practice to ask a lot of questions and see to it that the answers help the process of testing. As in any profession humility goes a long way in testing, solving any issue of peer-peer interaction by applying the right soft-skill in the required situation.
It is good to be slightly adventurous when it comes to application of disruptive and innovative thinking so long as it does not interfere with the timely delivery of the software product within the client prescribed guidelines and specifications.
4. A “glocal” approach
As the popular adage goes, it is best to think globally and act locally. With most software products these days having multiple stakeholders and many requirements to be met on several levels, a tester must be able to interact with anyone from the end-user and developer, right to the client and other third party project stakeholders. The tester should be able to identify how the system under test interacts with other constituents of the system. He should also be able to isolate the minutest units of the application under test and do the validation, keeping in mind the behaviour of the system as a whole.
Drive is essential in to thrive in any career and across any vertical and industry. Like any job a great tester is one who is deeply passionate about testing and understands that curiosity is necessary for rapid growth in any designation. The obvious way to excel in testing is to handle testing tasks of all magnitudes for various products in diverse environments. Taking on more complexity at an initial phase in a testers career is always a good way to be prepared for more complex tasks.
5. Critical thought and Rational Enquiry
Unbiased thinking is of paramount importance when it comes to the testing process. A tester should take control of the inherent structures in the code and validate it with intellectual standards. Vital questions should be raised time and again until the requirements of the product are crystal clear and there is no room for doubt when it is time to deploy the product. Being open minded and suspending any undue judgement when there is no actionable information to make a change to the code.
As is always in the service industry, the customer is always right when it comes to the design and testing of software products. It always good to view things from the customer’s perspective to ensure the best quality software product is delivered, within time, and exceeding the set quality expectations. This way a tester is always guaranteed to pick out more bugs and errors in the code, since the tester will be thinking from the viewpoint of the customer and will design the product. This will ensure that the tester will have better de-bugging skills while testing.
6. The ability to apply Basic and Fundamental Knowledge
In the testing domain, and as a QA, professional knowledge refers to a homogenous mixture of skillsets, experience borne out of trial and error, contextual information with a generous helping of expert insight, if available. And this knowledge has to be displayed from time to time by the tester when situation call for it. Fundamental communication cannot be stressed enough, along with a great command of mathematical and software application skills. Knowledge in the context of testing can be attributed as the fluid mix of experience, values, contextual information and expert insight. Those things provide a framework for evaluating
7. Continue to Learn
The learning process in a business environment is on-going and continuous. There is a constant change element in a corporate environment, and work processes need to be updated from time to time to stay current and relevant in the marketplace. Therefore it is highly imperative that a tester gives priority to observing, learning from and then eventually evolving along with the new processes in the work environment. Such continuous learning means that the tester will have to be open to learning new procedures and processes and picking up new skills along the way.
The essential quality that a tester must have is the ability to adapt and learn quickly. These are the basic and most important qualities that a tester possesses in order to be a good software tester and deliver quality products in the market.
8. Unbiased and Unprejudiced Testing of Code
The software product that is being tested has to be handling in an unbiased manner and most human error needs to be eliminated. Prejudice and dogmatic thinking while handling testing of code has to be avoided. The approach to testing of code has to be purely logical, rational and systematic, without skipping any steps during testing. The element of human error has to be minimized here while being impartial in adopting best practices that are available in the company for testing the available code.
9. Planning, Time Management Skills
A tester and QA professional must have a well-planned strategy or approach to testing the components of code assigned to him. And the plan must be implemented before the testing the code and it should describe the elements and features which has to be tested along with the test strategy and also the levels of testing involved. Other things such as pass/fail criteria, suspension/resumption criteria, and schedule are also important while testing code.
And the plan that has been implemented has to be monitored continually along with validations should be performed along with a system of feedback that is organized. Sticking to the plan is as important as monitoring the progress of implementation from time to time.
Go through our QA Important Interview Questions to crack the interviews.
10. Effective Communication Skills
A tester must always be able to communicate any issues to the development team and is the most important job of the tester. Therefore every tester must possess excellent communication skill –both verbal and written, in order to communicate the issues faced by them in the most effective and efficient manner.
11. Domain Expertise
While not absolutely necessary, it is always an edge over the competition when the tester is a domain expert and understands the software product well (as much as a developer at least). The tester must know the ins & outs of the software product with how the software is deviating from how it is intended to function. The tester must have a good feel for what are the break points of the application.
Check out this insightful video on QA Tutorial for Beginners:
When it comes to QA Professionals and testers, innovation, ingenuity and perseverance are the buzzwords that ensure career success and fulfilment. QA professionals need to get a feels for the product while testing, take a look at the same on a holistic level and see the testing through completion. If you are a QA professional or an aspirant, then if you master the set of skills and attributes that are given in the list above, you are bound to get set in your career in no time!
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