10 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Career in Software Testing

After spending almost a decade in the software testing industry, I think I am eligible to write down the learnings. :)

Most of the time, I have been asked, whether I do any testing with current role?

My answer is, YES, always!

As I have written in many STH posts in past, software testing is about mind and eyes and not about years of experience, it really is expected to grow with experience.

At a beginner level, when you miss out a bug, you are just notified about it, at middle level, when you miss out a critical bug, you are instructed to not repeat it and at senior level, you are not supposed to make that kind of mistake.

So with experience, one needs to understand the responsibility they carry. Hereby, I have just tried to point out my learnings:

10 takeaways from 10 years of career in software testing:

Lesson #1: Software testing is challenging

When I hear that there is nothing to do about software testing, I feel strange.

Isn’t it difficult to taste the recipe prepared by the chef and telling him that he forgot to add salt? Isn’t it difficult to suggest the self-claimed best painter to use orange instead of blue? Isn’t it difficult to find out spelling mistake from 200 pages long book?

That is how software testing is. It challenges you to be alert, to be well acquainted and ultimately to be the one whom people like even if you are finding mistakes in his work.

Lesson #2: Software testing is about attitude

Finding faults in other’s work does not give right to be rude, critic or authority.

The right attitude to help in improving quality should be the prime concern. A tester needs to approach the testing task with right attitude and should look at bigger picture rather than just criticizing someone or to prove oneself better.

Lesson #3: Software testing needs communication skills

When your job is to find faults in others’ work and conveying that to the relevant person too, it needs tact. No one would like to hear “you have done mistakes”, but everyone would respond positively to “we can do this better in this way, don’t you think so?”

Lesson #4: Software testing demands analysis skills

Why developers willingly resolve bugs, reported by tester X but not by tester Y?

Tester X always provides better information about the bug reported. He does some investigation around the issue, tries to understand the root cause of the issue, he will render the bug report with details and that is the reason, developers like to prioritize his bugs.

Lesson #5: Software testing is about constant learning

To survive in any field, one needs to improve continuously and software testing is not an exception too.

The market is flooded with tools, documents, blogs and many other means to learn new things. To grow and to be good at what you are doing, you need to select the one based upon your area of work and choices along with current demands.



For Example: five years ago, has anyone ever thought that we would look for mobile testers so badly? That’s how technology and generation and ultimately demands have changed and to survive, you have to learn. :)

Lesson #6: Software testing does not ask for certification but skill

There is nothing wrong in getting certified but it’s not compulsory.

A good tester needs to possess testing skills like sharp eye for details, analytical and troubleshooting skills etc. and I believe no certification can prove that you are good at those mentioned skills. While writing test cases, none of us would prefer to think about boundary value analysis and decision tables specifically. What one needs is application of common sense on knowledge.

Lesson #7: Software testing is all about self-motivation

Who would like a person who indicates litter in your balcony and makes you sweep it? No matter if he is helping to make something clean, mostly he won’t be appreciated.

That is how the profession is! You might or might not be appreciated for the quality improvement work you are doing but you need to understand importance of what you are doing. And on timely basis, you need to pat on your back for the work you are doing.

Tell yourself “I am doing the best job in the world as I am helping in improving something”, at day start and you will not need anyone’s favorable judgement to motivate you.

Lesson #8: Software testing is about understanding priority

What will you choose when you want to attend a party but you have to be at home to look after something? You will understand circumstances, will decide priorities and accordingly will select the best option.

That is how software testing too works. As a tester, you can be distracted with many tasks, at a time but you need to understand priority of each, you need to learn from past experiences, you need to seek advice from who have already experienced it and ultimately work as per the priority.

When you are in crunch of time, there is no need to document everything but to perform testing and likewise all processes need to be followed for a maintenance project.

Lesson #9: Software testing is about customer satisfaction in qualitative ways

When you are a tester, you need to be an end user.

It really does not matter how the product should be used but it really matters to know how the product can be used because that is how the end user is going to use the product. Put yourself in end user’s shoes, think about the behavior of product when not closed properly, tabbed continuously, when handled by a child, when there is no power and so on..

In real world, how many of us start our computer as per the user manual? Most of us don’t. Because for us it’s a process we are used to with since years and now we feel that no documentation can help in making the process better. Same is applied to end user’s expectations too. Everyone wants a superb product in simplistic manner and as a tester your job is to test that simplicity. :)

Lesson #10: Software testing is a job you can be proud of

I don’t think I need to write a single word about this point.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. And remember, if you’re not proud, you’re not done.

Be smart, follow your heart, gut and all your goals. I’m sure you will find yourself on a career path that fills you with pride.

About the author: This inspirational post is written by STH team member Bhumika M. She is a project lead, carrying 10+ years of software testing experience. She is totally into testing and loves to test everything exists.

I hope you can learn something from my experience and grow at much faster pace in your career!

Do you want to share your learning from this profession? We would definitely like to know.

Happy testing :)