Qualities of a good tester:
What makes you think you are good at testing? Why do you qualify as a tester?
The question still bangs in my ears whenever it comes to an interview.
This was the question I was asked at the beginning of my career as a software tester. The interviewer asked some aptitude questions as usual and suddenly he threw this question to me. I was almost speechless. Most of the time, we think we are good at something because we are doing it or maybe we presume we are good at it.
After spending almost a decade in the industry, when I look back I can understand the importance of the question and therefore today I am going to present you a list of points I have jotted to make myself feel that I was/am good at testing.
Let’s take a look. On a side note, you are invited to add your point to the list and we will accept it with open arms.
What You Will Learn:
- 10 Qualities that Can Make You a Good Tester
- #1. You understand priorities:
- #2. You ask questions:
- #3. You can create numbers of ideas:
- #4. You can analyze data:
- #5. You can report negative things in a positive way:
- #6. You are good at reporting:
- #7. You are flexible to support whenever it’s required:
- #8. You are able to co-relate real-time scenarios to software testing:
- #9. You are a constant learner:
- #10. You can wear end user’s shoes:
- 10 Skills to Be A Great Tester: How A Tester Can Be A Great Tester
- Recommended Reading
10 Qualities that Can Make You a Good Tester
So, here you go. Please prepend the condition “you are good at testing when” to each point and read through:
#1. You understand priorities:
Software tester unknowingly becomes good time manager as the first thing he needs to understand is a priority. Most of the time, you are given a module/functionality to test and timeline (which is always tight) and you need to give output. These regular challenges make you understand how to prioritize the things.
As a tester, you need to understand what should be tested and what should be given less priority, what should be automated and what should be tested manually, which task should be taken up first and what can be done at last moment. Once you are master of defining priorities, software testing would be really easy. But…….but my friend, understanding priority only comes with experience and so patience and an alert eye are the most helpful weapons.
#2. You ask questions:
Asking questions is the most important part of software testing. If you fail at it, you are going to lose an important bunch of information.
Questions can be asked:
- To understand requirement
- To understand changes done
- To understand how requirement has been implemented
- To understand how the bug fixed
- To understand bug fix effects
- To understand the product from other perspectives like development, business etc.
Can be beneficial to understand the overall picture and to define the coverage.
#3. You can create numbers of ideas:
As I have written in almost my all posts, software testing is about ideas. When you can generate numbers of ideas to test the product, you stand out of crowd as most of the time people feel self-satisfaction after writing ordinary functional and performance test cases.
As per me, a real tester’s job starts only after writing ordinary test cases. The more you think about how the product can be used in different ways, you will be able to generate ideas to test it and ultimately you will gain confidence in the product, customer satisfaction, and lifelong experience.
So, be an idea generator if you want to be good at testing.
#4. You can analyze data:
Being a tester, you are not expected to do testing only. You need to understand the data collected from testing and need to analyze them for the particular behavior of application or product. Most of the time, when I hear about a non-reproducible bug, I silently smile. There is no bug that is non-reproducible. If it occurred once that means it’s going to pop out for the second time. But to reach out to the root cause, you need to analyze the test environment, the test data, the interruptions etc.
Also, as we all know, when it comes to automation testing, most of the time it’s about analyzing test results because creating scripts and executing them for numerous time is not a big task but analyzing the data generated after execution of those scripts, is the most important part.
#5. You can report negative things in a positive way:
yes, you read it correctly. A tester needs to learn tactics to deal with everyone around and needs to be good at communication. No one feels good when he/she is being told that whatever they did was completely or partially wrong. But it makes a whole lot of difference in reaction when you suggest doing something or rectifying something with better ideas and without an egoistic voice.
Also, details are important to provide details about what negative you saw and how it can affect the product/application overall.
No one would deny rectifying it. :)
#6. You are good at reporting:
For the whole day, you worked and worked and executed numbers of test cases and marked them as pass/fail in test management tool. What would be your status at the end of the day? No one would be interested in knowing how many numbers of test cases you executed. People want a short and sweet description of your whole day task.
So now onwards, write your status report to the client as – what you did (at max 3 sentences), what you found (with bug numbers) and what you will do next.
#7. You are flexible to support whenever it’s required:
The duty of software tester does not end after reporting a bug. If the developer is not able to reproduce the bug, you are expected to support to reproduce it because then only the developer will be able to fix it.
Also, tight timelines for software testing makes many testers ignorant for quality. The right approach should be proper planning and an extra effort to cover whatever is required.
#8. You are able to co-relate real-time scenarios to software testing:
When you are able to co-relate testing with real life, it’s easy. Habituate yourself to think or constantly create test cases about how to test a train, how to test a vegetable, how to test a monument and see how it helps in near future. It will help your mind to constantly generate ideas and relate testing with practical things.
#9. You are a constant learner:
Software testing is challenging because you need to learn new things constantly. It’s not about gaining the expertise of specific scripting language; it’s about keeping up with the latest technology, about learning automation tools, about learning to create ideas, about learning from experience and ultimately about constantly thriving.
#10. You can wear end user’s shoes:
You are a good tester only when you can understand your customer. The customer is GOD and you need to understand his/her needs. If the product does not satisfy customer needs, no matter how useful it is, it is not going to work. And it is a tester’s responsibility to understand the customer.
10 Skills to Be A Great Tester: How A Tester Can Be A Great Tester
There is always room for improvement and making things better.
If starting as a QA fresher and spending a few years in the field have not changed you from tester to a Good/Great tester, this article is for you. Read on –
Testing, reporting, and finishing a task is something anyone can do after a while with experience and training. But, being a tester is so much more.
Be a great tester to rise and shine in the field.
What can get you there? Let’s find out!
How a Tester Can be a Great Tester
Also read => 10 Qualities that Can Make You a Good Tester
#1) Positive attitude
The positive attitude is a key agent to succeed in any field and software testing is not an exception.
Great testers are:
- Always ready to put in extra efforts.
- Help make the product quality better.
- Aid in hurdle-free delivery
- Support meeting
Great testers keep a positive attitude. They care. They understand the power of positivity.
To instill a positive attitude, testers should be given ownership of tasks, prompt appreciation, and interesting assignments.
Read also => 16 Characteristics of a Great Software Tester
#2) Good communication
It helps to overcome critical problems easily. You can understand problems easily, document better and convince effectively.
A great tester has excellent communication skills and uses it to ask questions, to present his opinions and to discuss critical scenarios/impact thoroughly.
Good communication skills can be acquired easily by joining communication training sessions and practicing the same regularly. Please note that good communication really does not mean, writing or speaking fluent English alone, although that helps.
#3) Multi-tasking abilities
Multi-tasking abilities are the demand of today’s era.
A great tester must juggle multiple activities, such as:
- Generate and execute test ideas
- Design test cases
- Write effective bug reports
- Work on multiple projects and provide updates.
Not only that, you should also prioritize and schedule your activities accordingly.
Multi-tasking abilities need practice and the right mindset.
#4) Quick learner
A great tester is a quick and self-learner.
You do not HAVE to learn new stuff, you should WANT to learn it. You should be able to update yourself with new technologies, processes, tools, skills etc. on a regular basis.
Quick learning cannot be taught but it can be developed with patience, planning, practice, and perseverance.
#5) Passion for testing
You have got to love your job.
A passion for delivering quality, for providing better user experience, for generating new ideas, etc. is critical.
‘A passionate tester is always better than a technically sound developer.’
It is an absolute game changer. You will never be bored. You will never overlook something to test. You will never report a case without thoroughly researching. You will never ignore a corner case. Most importantly, you will not look at testing as a thankless job. :)
#6) Team player
Being a team player is a must for every job but it takes on a whole new dimension because we have to deliver bad news. To do this well, you have to be understanding and giving. Don’t play the blame-game. Stay positive.
Rejuvenating this skill is very important to be a great tester and a good human being.
#7) Think and act as an end-user
Quality ultimately means end user’s satisfaction.
Irrespective of what the requirements say think about the end-user impact. This is easy because we are software users too even though we are professional testers.
With continuous study, observation, and comparison, end user’s perspective can be cultivated.
#8) Analytical abilities
Our primary responsibility is to help make software as bug-free as we can. Every bug follows a pattern and a great tester is always good at observing that pattern and reporting all the bugs of the same pattern.
In-depth analysis and creativity help in nurturing good analytical abilities.
#9) Be an inspiration and a role model
You are right; this has nothing to do with testing. But I believe we have plenty of scopes to spark inspiration in people we interact with every day. You might be the last one in a queue, but in a few minutes, there will always be someone behind you. So, no matter what position you are in, there are people looking up to you.
In a team, if the team lead often gets into arguments with the developers, naturally the team will too. If a team member does not follow a template, the others might think it is OK to not follow a template.
Being aware that every action of ours resonates somehow in another around us should make us aspire to inspire without even trying.
There are plenty of ways to leave your mark on otherwise mundane tasks:
- Be the best at what you do
- Being on time
- Paying attention to detail
- Coming up with a new best practice
- Finding a problem that could have caused a major breakdown
- Learning a new skill and volunteering to teach your peers
- Being courteous in your communication
- Gather a reputation for being the best tester/best defect reporter/or best metric generator.
#10) Practice empathy
Once again, this might not feel like an attribute testers need. Especially since there is a lot of talk about how testers should guard, protect and guide their defects to resolution and all.
But testers have to have the quality to be able to feel and not just be automatons. It helps the testing process too.
Take, for example, a brand new application that is just being integrated as a trial run. Would you just come crumbling on it, wage a war and report that it is fit for nothing? Or would you test it sympathetically and try to find problem areas so you can help the developers aid further improvement?
Let’s look at it from a real-world example perspective. You just finished building a chair. Would you jump into it or sit carefully the first time? The later, isn’t it? After you are confident it holds you then start adding unusual weights etc.
Testing in the initial stages has to be subtle, slow and kind.
Also, empathy can help you be a better team player – not only within your team but with external teams as well. When in doubt, be kinder than you need to be.
I hope this list gives you an idea as to which area you need to work at to be a better software tester.
About the author: This post is written by STH team member Bhumika, a project lead with 7 years of experience.
By the way, did I miss something? I would love to hear from you.
With this, I am ending this article with a hope that I could cover most of the points, which are making me a good tester. What about you?