Are you new to the IT world and thinking about starting your career as a software tester?
Or, are you a seasoned professional and are wondering about switching to Software Testing as your next career move?
This article is our attempt to aid you in this journey and be an objective source of information so you can make an informed decision.
Here we go.
What You Will Learn:
Software Testing Career Path
Software Testing Industry Transformation
In the last few decades, the world of software testing underwent changes beyond recognition. More and more businesses have embraced software testing not just as a necessary evil but as a value-adding activity.
To summarise these changes at a high level:
- Testing is no longer an end-of-development activity. It is much more integrated with the end-to-end software development life cycle. Tests are created at every level of software development and employed to test the software continuously during various stages. For example, Unit testing is used extensively to catch defects early and to ensure that each build is stable and ready to ship if need be.
- Testing is not just perceived as a bug-finding exercise. It is rightfully looked at as the many-faceted discovery and reassuring task that it is.
- Testing is no longer just an end-user-based functional validation. Load and Performance Testing, Security Testing, Accessibility Testing, etc. are employed for deeper insights into the software and many areas of its functionality.
Suggested Reading =>> Different Types of Software Testing
How Software Testers Design Their Career Path
To adapt to these changes, the technical and soft skill profile of a Software Tester had to adapt quickly. This is a tremendously positive outcome for our software testers to celebrate ecstatically. This is also the most important reason why we recommend a career in software testing to aspiring testers without a doubt.
The software testers that have been successful are the ones that were flexible and fluid to mold their skillset and mindset to fit the needs of the job.
Here is what you will need for your software testing career growth:
Gain Domain Knowledge: Software is often a tool that solves a problem. Banking software lets you interact with the banking system at large. eCommerce is making shopping easier for its users online.
In order to be successful in your software testing career, you need to be well-versed in the business itself. Several traditional domains, such as BFSI, Telecom, Healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, etc. have a number of certifications available for users to get certified on.
This can be a great boost to your software testing career in the domain of your choice. Deeper domain knowledge would mean that you not only find software defects but find defects that might disrupt business processes or cause any adverse effects on the core business logic.
Embrace Test Automation: Automated testing and its adoption have been major game changers in the testing world. The automation tool kit is super extensive and there is a tool for every job out there.
Let’s look at a few:
#1) Functional Test Automation and Browser Automation Tools: HP UFT, Rational Functional Tester, Selenium, Appium, Playwright, etc. Some of these tools are licensed and some are open-source.
Also Read =>> Best Functional Testing Tools
#2) API Tools: API testing cannot be accomplished manually (at least not fully) since there is no UI to interact with. There has to be some kind of interface to send and receive information from the API.
Postman, Karate, JMeter, Rest-Assured, SoapUI, etc. are widely popular tools. They are very easy to use and each needs a different level of coding skill to be successful.
#3) Test Management Tools: Technically, these are not test tools but are critical for our work management as testers. These tools help us create, manage and track test artifacts, test results, defects, etc. HP ALM, JIRA XRay, and TestRail are some examples.
If you need a refresher on what test management entails, please see the image below:
#4) TDD and BDD Tools: When your technical tests need an additional layer of intelligence and application behavior attached to them the normal course of action is to use TDD/BDD frameworks. There are lots of tools to help us achieve this. Cucumber, Behave for Python, etc. are some examples.
Top Behavior Driven Development BDD Tools and frameworks add a layer of business processes and flexibility that many automation frameworks consider BDD inevitable.
#5) Load/Performance Test Tools: Load and Performance tests are just as important as functional tests. Not only do we want the system to work right, but we also want it to work right in the expected time and with the expected amount of resources we want it to consume.
HP LoadRunner, JMeter, and Locust are some of the most commonly used Load/Performance tools.
The entirety of test automation and its individual facets is beyond the scope of this article but it suffices to say that testing without these automated tools in some capacity is becoming rarer and rarer. Therefore, to advance your career as a software tester, you will need to get well-versed in test automation tools and frameworks.
Don’t be afraid of Cloud technologies: More and more systems are shifting to being cloud-based and use Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud as their application platforms. Software testers and their automation framework infrastructure are also undergoing this very change currently.
Therefore, knowing and being comfortable with the usage of these cloud platforms is extremely critical for software test engineers. Many of these cloud vendors offer training and certifications so you can gain deeper experience quicker and showcase your skill acquisition to your employer or to the market at large.
Some of these certifications are listed in the next section.
Get certified: Testing certifications provide the fundamental core knowledge that sets you apart from other testers.
- QAI, ASQ, ISTQB, and several other institutes offer testing-specific certifications. These certifications improve the confidence of the clients in the testing professionals if you are in a service-based industry. If you are an absolute beginner, certifications can help with your confidence in your test approach and practices.
- CQTM and PMP are some managerial certifications that would help the testers to scale up on the professional ladder and advance their career in software testing managerial areas.
- Tool-specific certifications offered by vendors like HP can help with gaining technical expertise on the vendor software.
- Cloud certifications to understand and gain proficiency in the services being provided by a cloud platform and how to use them to our benefit can be extremely useful to your software testing career.
The following image shows you the top choices:
Pursue Niche areas: Experts predict that niche areas like SOA testing, security testing, and other non-functional testing areas are gaining momentum in the testing space. There are so many tools that help in this situation and the list keeps growing. As testing professionals, we should be aware of where the industry is heading and update our knowledge accordingly.
Know your options: Below is a diagram outlining the most common career paths available to software testers. This can really help you answer if software testing is a good career path for you or not. Please note that this does not include everything.
Depending on your technical know-how, you could end up becoming a developer, or DevOps engineer or scrum master, etc. Sky’s the limit and your own aptitude and perseverance can set your own unique professional course.
Career Options for Software Test Professionals
The below diagram depicts the various options available to a Software Tester.
Keep up to date: Keeping yourself current is a continuous process if you would like to stay relevant. This applies to all walks of life and especially to successful software testing career growth.
There is a wealth of information out there that you can rely on:
- Websites such as sticky minds and QAForums offer excellent tutorials and reading material on current trends.
- Listen to testing podcasts. Joe Calantonio’s testguild is an especially famous one.
- Consider enrolling in passive training on sites such as LinkedIn Learning, PluralSight, and Udemy.
- Try real-time teacher-led training if you want to further advance your learning and/or if you need a mentor.
- Join testing-related groups on LinkedIn and other social media to learn and share ideas.
- Find and attend testing conferences local to you or online.
Is Software Testing a Good Career Path
If you still need convincing and harbor the question, “Is software testing a good career path?”, here is why I am still in the field and love every minute of it:
- Testing lets you interact with almost all areas of the software development, marketing, product, data, and DevOps teams. The interaction and insight this provides into the making and working of a software product is appreciable.
- Testing is a good stepping stone as illustrated in the diagram above if you want to branch out and expand your career.
- A career in software testing can be as technical as you choose it to be. If you are coding savvy, you can go deeper into white-box testing techniques as a program tester. Or you can stay a functional or UAT tester if you do not have deep coding skills.
- Job satisfaction. Knowing that I have improved a product or created a system that would let my team ship a more confident and quality product makes it all worthwhile.
This article had some motivation along with actionable resources that can help chart a successful career path for testers and newcomers alike.
If you are new and your career goal is software testing, you can get started here at SoftwareTestingHelp