How Would My First Day be in QA Tester Job? Which is the Best QA Certification? Which Automation Tool Should I Learn? – All Answered

3 Most Common Questions that baffle the QA beginners – answered

STH’s recent venture into QA teaching courses has given a wonderful insight into some of the common questions and inhibitions that plague the new-comers’ minds. While we answer them in sessions for our course participants, we thought making a list of these questions and posting them on our site with answers might be really beneficial to the ardent readers of STH.

So, here we decided to address the 3 questions that come up most. I mean it; in every batch, we get these questions….

  1. How would my first day be in my new QA tester job? What if I am not able to live up to the expectations?
  2. Which testing is QA certification best and more valued?
  3. What if I learn a certain tool, a certain technology and a certain language, and the employer is looking for something else?

qa beginners questions

We will address all these:

Q #1. How would my first day be in my new QA tester job? What if I am not able to live up to the expectations?

This question really takes the center stage among all others. To get to the answer straight, always remember that all of us have got to start somewhere. Everyone knows this. As much as you want to do best in your new job, your employer would want his work done best too. Therefore, just as you would prepare, they would too.

Most companies have employee induction plans in place. One of the clients I worked for believed that long-term relationships between employees and employers are crucial for the success of the company.

So, they had a 30-60-90 rule for new employees.

  • 30 days to familiarize and understand roles and responsibilities & the system of course.
  • 60 days to work with support from a fellow team member(s).
  • 90 days until the new employee works independently. You see, there is a 3 month cushion here.

Agreed that not all companies follow the exact same rule, but most of them have one or the other form of induction policy in place.

Please be assured that you will not be expected to out-perform everyone right on your first day.

Read more = > The typical QA process

Some of the usual things you would go through on day 1 are:

  • Introduction to your role, physical location of work, timings, culture, etc.
  • Team introductions and point-of-contacts will be shown. Basically you will be told who to get in touch with in case of questions based on subjects.
  • Accesses to required systems
  • Knowledge transfer sessions would be arranged
  • Documentation about your project will be shared
  • Small tasks are given to understand your comfort level

Some of the things that a QA can do are:

  • Read the documentation
  • Explore the system a little bit- if it exists
  • Understand the stage the project is in
  • Try to sit with a colleague and understand how things work in the project
  • Follow up and get the necessary accesses that you would need to get started

Most important of all, be confident on your Day 1 and work on finding your way around. The rest will follow…

Q #2. Which testing QA certification is best and more valued?

Certification is highly recommended for beginners who are trying to make their way into IT QA. It helps you establish standards and validate your QA expertise. In addition, it will also help your employers recognize your commitment to the field.

There are lots of beginner level QA certifications available in the market. There is ISTQB-CTFL, QAI’s CSTE & CAST etc.

If you are experienced in any of the automation tools you can also take certification for that e.g. HP QTP certification, HP ALM certification (QC) or LoadRunner certifications. Selecting automation testing certification is easy as you already know which tool you are expert at.


When these choices are presented, the question that usually follows is, “Which one is better?”

The answer to this question is not as obvious as you might think it would be. It is complicated because comparing the certifications in terms of curriculum effectiveness and recognition in the market is not an easy or fair one. This is because; all they have in common is that they are QA certifications. Other than that, the following are all different:

  • Format
  • Validity
  • Scoring pattern
  • Fee
  • Pre-requisites

Check out the below table for a quick reference. For fee and pre-requisites the links for the exam sites are provided so that you can have the most current information.

DetailsCSTEISTQBCAST
Prerequisites and moreCSTEISTQBCAST
validity3 yearslife time3 years
Exam formatessay questions and multiple choicemultiple choicemultiple choice
Scoring PatternNo negative marksNo negative marksNo negative marks
Duration2.5 hours60 mins75 mins
Minimum score to pass70%65%70%

When all these distinctions exist, it is not correct to compare the certifications. It is like comparing apples and oranges.

Most certifications are equally valued and are recognized in the market in a similar way. The choice is yours. Ask yourself the following questions to make a decision:

  • Would you prefer multiple choice or essay writing format?
  • Would you like life time validity or it is not a factor?
  • Which fee is a better option for you?
  • Would you prefer a shorter pattern of an exam or would you prefer a pattern that is more intensive?
  • Which pre-requisites you satisfy?

In addition to all these, be sure to check out the syllabus and sample examination pattern before choosing.

Check the links provided in above comparison chart to get the most recent info on these certifications:

Q #3. What if I learn a certain automation testing tool, a certain technology and a certain language, and the employer is looking for something else?

Let me ask you a question. If you have been using yahoomail to send and receive emails so far and for some reasons you want to give Gmail a try, would that be different? Would that need special training? Would you be able to adapt? YES.

The same logic applies when learning software testing tools.

The common tools that we use are:

  1. Test Management toolsHP ALM (QC), TestLink, qTest etc.
  2. Bug Tracking tools – Bugzilla, Mantis etc.
  3. Incident/project management tools – JIRA, Rally etc.
  4. Automation tools – QTP, Selenium
  5. Performance Test toolsHP Load Runner, JMeter

It is practically impossible for anyone in the field, no matter how much of experience they have to know all the tools, much less use all of them.

So, the tool expertise is not usually what is required for projects. It is the proficiency with the process itself.

For example, if you do not understand Defect Management, can any tool help you? Another extreme example is, we all know, love and use Microsoft word to create documents. But if you expect it to conjure a test plan, can it? When we do not know the basics of the process, tools are of no use.

Our recommendation is that learn the process well. Learn the core concepts of defects management, automation, performance testing etc. Get working knowledge in at least one tool in each genre and then you are good to go.

All tools that belong to the same category have similar features. You might need a day or two or at the max couple of weeks to familiarize with a new one, but you will be ok in no time. Same logic applies for programming languages and technologies. Fundamentals are more important than any technical variations.

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of an amazing Q&A round. Let us know if this has been useful to you. We would love to hear your comments and feedback.

About the author: These three most important questions for QA beginners are answered by our software testing online course instructor Swati S. Click here if you want to check demo session for this software testing course.

If you have any questions, please leave them below. We promise to answer them all. :)




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30 comments ↓

#1 Raj kumar

30-60-90 is really nice rule for new joiner induction.

this is not followed by most small as they want their employees productive from first week itself.

#2 Malvika

Superb article !!!!!

#3 Koteshwari

Very nice,
Thank You for giving such a good articles

#4 Aparnaa

Nice and Useful posts… please continue such Q&As!

#5 Prasanna

Yes, this article helps the readers, thanks Swati

#6 Nikolay

I completely agree about the tools and how it’s more important to understand the process versus learning a tool. If you know how to correctly implement a tool, it doesn’t matter what you use. However, if you are amazing with some tool, but do not know when to implement it, you are literally wasting money for the company. Sadly, I think the latter situation is more common.

#7 Swati Seela

@Raj Kumar: yes indeed. Not all companies might follow it to a T but they do have some similar system in place. Thanks for reading

#8 Swati Seela

@all: thanks for stopping by and reading

#9 Swati Seela

@Nikolay: Well said. I do agree with you. Tool expertise often overshadows a testers choice of tool, which probably is not the best choice.

#10 priya

Very nice post…I love reading your articles…They are so informative…Thanks Swathi!..Keep writing..

#11 Swati Seela

@Priya: Thanks priya.

#12 jim

I do agree – the process is vital

#13 Devi

Not only this one every article is really helpful.
I have one question:-Iam facing every time
In interview What about your automation skills and what did you do in previous projects?
What I have to say?
Please give me answers those kind of questions.
Thanks,
Devi.

#14 sangeetha

It is a very useful article especially for the beginners in the field….it gave me the clear picture and drained my confusion with best testing certification. thank you Swathi…

#15 gaurav khurana

last point is awesome and everyone shoudl read that

” Fundamentals are more important than any technical variations.”

“So, the tool expertise is not usually what is required for projects. It is the proficiency with the process itself.”

regards
Gaurav K

#16 really it's a nice article.....

Want to ask a question… Is there any age criteria for such kind of testing certifications? I hv done testing course 2years before(2012) don’t hv job yet, May i get admission for the course? pls, answer……

#17 Swati Seela

@Devi: Sure Devi, we will address those Qs soon…

#18 Swati Seela

@really it’s a nice article….. : I don’t think there is…

#19 Mahitha

wow wonderful articles These are very interesting to learn and study.

#20 sukhjinder

Its really great article for beginners like me.

#21 CHINMOY SARKAR

I truly enjoyed reading your excellent article. Keep up the good work

I have several years of work experience in the US, mostly as an analyst in the banking field. As such, I’m conversant with the business processes and I was actually involved in Test scenarios, defects management, performance testing etc. I have a burning desire to learn Software Testing and , to that end, I would like to meet with you in person for guidance. Please advise the telephone # and the name of the person I should call to set up an appointment. Look forward to hear from you. Thank you and best regards,
Chinmoy Sarkar

#22 Sharon

Very informative article. Thanks a bunch for sharing.

#23 nancy

Very Nice Article thanks for sharing such a nice Information QA online training

#24 Vishal Shukla

Can undergraduate and having no experience in IT field CAST certificate will give enrolment to give exam?
Can any undergraduate find job with CAST?

#25 Preeti Ramajayam

Very Useful article indeed for a Tester on their First Day at work. I’ve a question, are we supposed to take any sought of Template or something?
Thanks in advance.

#26 Preeti Ramajayam

Also, I would like to mention something about this Website is.. I totally love this website. Lots of important information is shared here for both Experienced and Non-Experienced QA’s. Thank you very much, Vijay …..

#27 Preethi Benedict

I will like to take the class in . Can you tell me the timing and where it is offered? Is it on line and live?

#28 Preethi Benedict

I will like to take the class in October . Can you tell me the timing and where it is offered? Is it on line and live?

#29 Monica

Hi I am trying to contact Swati Seela. I was wondering if there was an email address I could use.

#30 satya

Could you please provide Swati Seela Contact information.

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