This guide will take you through the In's and outs of software testing. If you plan to make a career in software testing , this is a MUST READ!
what is Software Testing?
Software testing is a process of rating properties of a computer system /program to decide whether it meets the specified requirements and produces the desired results. In process, you identify bugs in software product/project.
Software Testing is indispensable to provide a quality product without any bug or issue.
Skills required to become a Software Tester
Following skills are indispensable to become a good software tester. Compare your skill set against the following checklist to determine whether Software Testing is a really for you-
- A good software tester should have sharp analytical skills. Analytical skills will help break up a complex software system into smaller units to gain a better understanding and created corresponding test cases. Not sure that you have good analytical skills - Refer this link - if, if you can solve atleast ONE problem you have good analytical skills.
- A good software tester must have strong technical skills . This would include high level of proficiency in tools like MS Office , OpenOffice etc , Testing tools like QTP , Loadrunner , etc.. and ofcourse deep understand of the application under test. These skills can be acquired through relevant training and practice. Also it's an added advantage that you have some programming skills but its NOT a must.
- A good software tester must have a good verbal and written communication skill. Testing artifacts (like test cases/plans, test strategies, bug reports etc) created by the software tester should be easy to read and comprehend. Dealing with developers (in case of bugs or any other issue) will require a shade of discreetness and diplomacy.
- Testing at times could be a demanding job especially during the release of code. A software tester must efficiently manage workload, have high productivity ,exhibit optimal time management and organization skills
- To be a good software tester you must have a GREAT attitude. An attitude to ‘test to break' , detail orientation , willingness to learn and suggest process improvements. In software industry, technologies evolved with an overwhelming speed and a good software tester should upgrade his/her technical skills with the changing technologies. Your attitude must reflect a certain degree of independence where you take ownership of the task allocated and complete it without much direct supervision.
- To excel in any profession or job, one must have a great degree of the passion for it. A software tester must have passion for his / her field. BUT how do you determine whether you have a passion for software testing if you have never tested before? Simple TRY it out and if software testing does not excite you switch to something else that holds your interest.
Academic background of a software tester should be in Computer Science. A BTech/ B.E. , MCA , BCA , BSc- Computers will land you a job easily.
If you do not hold any of these degrees than you must complete a software testing certification like ISTQB and CSTE which help you learn Software Development/ Test Life Cycle and other testing methodologies.
Compensation of a software tester varies from company to company. Average salary range of a software tester in US is $45,993 - $74,935. Average salary range of a software tester in India is Rs 247,315 - Rs 449,111.
Also, a software tester is also give health insurance, bonuses, gratuity and other perks.
On any typical work day you will be busy understanding requirement documents , creating test cases , executing test cases , reporting and re-testing bugs , attending review meetings and other team building activities.
Your career progression as a software tester (QA Analyst) in typical CMMI level 5 company will look like following but will vary from company to company
QA Analyst (Fresher) => Sr. QA Analyst (2-3 year experience)=> QA Team Coordinator (5-6 year experience> =>Test Manager (8-11 experience) => Senior Test Manager (14+ experience)
Alternate Career Tracks as a Software Tester
Once you have got yours hand dirty in manual testing , you can pursue following specializations
- Automation Testing : As an automation Test Engineer , you will be responsible for automating manual test case execution which otherwise could be time consuming. Tools used IBM Rational Robot , Silk performer and QTP
- Performance Testing: As a performance test engineer , you will be responsible for checking application responsiveness (time taken to load , maximum load application can handle) etc. Tools used WEBLoad , Loadrunner.
- Business Analyst: A major advantages Testers have over Developers is that they have end to end business knowledge. An obvious career progression for testers is to become a Business Analyst. As a Business Analyst you will be responsible to analyze and assess your company's business model and work flows, and especially how they integrate with technology. Based on your observation you will suggest and drive process improvements.
Software Testing as a Career pays Less
Developers are more respected as compared to Testers
Contrary to popular belief , Software Testers (better known as QA professionals) are paid and treated at par with Software Developers in all "aspiring" companies. A career in Software Testing should never be considered as "second rated".
Software Testing is Boring
Software Testing could actually "test" your nerves since you need to make sense of Business Requirements and draft test cases based on your understanding. Software testing is not boring. What is boring is doing the same set of tasks repeatedly. The key is to try new things. For that matter, have you ever spoken to a software developer with more than 3 years experience ?He will tell you how boring his job has become off-lately.
Okay I am interested ,where to begin ?
For a complete newbie, here is our suggested approach to learn Software Testing
You start with learning Basic principles of software testing. Once done you apply for freelancing jobs. This will help you gain practical knowledge and will fortify the testing concepts you have learned.
Next you proceed to QTP - Automation tool , then Loadrunner - Performance Testing tool and finally Quality Center - Test Management Tool. All the while you are learning ,we suggest you apply for freelancing jobs (apart from other benefits you will make some moolah too!).
Once you are through with all the tools , you may consider taking a certification. We recommend ISTQB. But this is optional.
After this , when you apply for permanent jobs in big corporations you will have many skills to offer as well some practical freelancing experience which may be of value and will definitely increase your chances of being selected.
Learning Links :-
- Software Testing - link
- QTP - link
- Loadrunner - link
- Quality Center - link
- Permanent Jobs - Any major job portal like monster.com or naukri.com
Hope to see you in a QA conference some Day! :-)