Characteristics of a Bad Software Tester

Which Characteristics Can Make You a Bad Software Tester?

We posted several articles that focus on positive factors, good qualities, and positive traits.

Everyone wants those positive characteristics and factors to be implemented in their career or life but no one usually focuses on the characteristics or qualities that they need to avoid in their career.

Basically, being aware of the negative things/factors that would ruin your life or career, will help you in being a better person. 

In this tutorial, we will take an in-depth look at the characteristics that make a tester a “bad tester”. One should be away from these characteristics in their testing career to bring out the best in them.

Characteristics Of A Bad Software Tester


In SDLC, testing is an important phase before the software goes into a live environment, every project goes through multiple testing phases before it is handed over to the end-user.

Imagine what will be the quality of the software if there is no testing phase and if the software is implemented without testing, then how will it satisfy the customer requirements? Hence in order to test software, we need “good testers”.

Now, how you will define a Good Tester?

According to me, good testers are those who have – deep domain knowledge, the ability to learn quickly, a positive attitude, find bugs, and investigate them proactively, etc. (The list is too exhaustive but I’m just providing limited characteristics here). Such kind of a tester always makes any project a successful one.

Now consider the situation on the opposite side, a project team consists of a few “bad testers”. Again as per my understanding, bad testers are those who possess qualities like a lack of positive attitude, poor communication, stagnant skill set, etc.

Further reading:

Characteristics of a Bad Tester

Given below are a few characteristics that make any tester a “bad tester”:

#1) Poor Communication

Poor Communication

As testing starts early in the SDLC, during the requirement analysis, a tester’s role is important and the customer is expecting inputs from them. Hence, the testers should have good communication skills so that they can provide clear and concise details to the customer.

Not only during the initial phase but overall, the testers should be able to make effective communication whether it is verbal or through email with the client, development team, or any other team.

The list given below highlights a few points which contribute to poor communication:

  • Unclear requirements and technical knowledge.
  • Lack of energy to communicate.
  • Fear of rejection of input or thoughts.
  • Cultural diversity.
  • Feel vulnerable.
  • Lack of preparation.

#2) Lack of Technical Knowledge

Lack of knowledge

Along with that strong communication, if a tester has strong technical knowledge of the software and domain knowledge then it makes a good impression on the different parties who are involved in the project. If a tester has no or little technical knowledge then it is an obvious doubt about the quality of the software.

And at times during group discussions, the developers use technical terms and talk more in terms of technical stuff about the project and it would be difficult for the tester to understand these technical terminologies and it will, in turn, have a great impact on the project.

Given below is the list of factors that affect technical knowledge:

  • Lack of training programs in the workplace.
  • Incompetent trainers.
  • Lack of learning attitude.
  • Lack of practice.
  • Lack of energy or enthusiasm.

#3) Report a Bug without Analysis


During testing, a tester has to report a bug/issue immediately once they notice that the actual result does not meet the requirement. It is important to report a bug but prior to that, a tester should investigate the cause of the bug.

So it is usually a good approach to investigate the cause of the bug and if possible to perform a test twice before reporting a bug. The tester should not report any issue identified during testing as a bug, rather they should analyze and investigate the issue before reporting it as a bug.

Given below are the factors that you need to analyze before reporting any bug and they are the ones that cause an invalid defect:

  • Invalid Test Data
  • Unstable environment
  • Incorrect test step
  • Unclear requirement

#4) Not following Quality Processes

Quality Process

Every organization has different quality processes which help them to implement the project successfully. Individual and team performance is usually measured using these processes. Testers who are not following such processes may compromise on the quality which thereby will result in customer dissatisfaction.

Given below are a few examples of not following the processes:

  • Not using the correct template for test artifacts.
  • Not following the review process.
  • The older version of the documents was referred to during testing due to a lack of version control.

#5) Testing Performed on “Assumption”


There are many software-related things that a tester assumes and performs testing on. These assumptions consist of technical, non-technical software flow and there are chances that these assumptions may go wrong and the testers might miss the critical defect.

So never test any application based on assumptions, make clear and understandable requirements from the developers or the business analyst. If you are not clear on a specific requirement then ask your doubt without any hesitation. Else the defect missed due to such assumptions may cost huge to the project.

The list given below includes the common assumptions during testing:

  • The developer has more knowledge of the application and they have made the code correctly.
  • Assuming the statements or requirements without actually referring to any document.
  • Without discussion or any approval assuming that specific functionality is out of scope for testing.

#6) Lack of “Test to Break” Attitude

Testing primarily is a process to find out a bug in the system. The bugs are hidden bugs and every tester should think positively and negatively to identify such bugs.

Hence, the testers should develop such an attitude towards the application under test. For this, they should not assume anything rather the tester needs to test the maximum possible flows or scenarios which will prove that the system is not working as expected.

If testers only test what is given in the requirement i.e. happy path or only positive scenarios then they might miss the critical defects that are hidden in the system or seeded during the development.

The following factors affect the “Test to Break” attitude:

  • Think positive and must have no negative thoughts about the system under test and its workflow.
  • No exploratory testing or ad-hoc testing approach.
  • Making an assumption about the system behavior rather than checking the actual requirements.
  • Not attentive while testing.
  • Testing only normal or happy path flow.

#7) Stagnant Testing Skills

Stagnant Testing Skill

The software industry is changing every day and there are a lot of emerging technologies and tools that can be used during software testing. It is the tester’s responsibility to get updated knowledge on the tools. Also, it will be beneficial for them if they learn the new technology, and tool and implement it in their project.

A bad tester just completes his/her task and does no more learning about the tool, technology, language, etc. They do not go beyond their limit and learn new things, nor look for new information in the software industry.

The following points cause Stagnant testing skills:

  • Lack of pro-activeness to learn the application.
  • Getting bored at work.
  • Feeling it as a monotonous job and doing nothing new in the day-to-day testing life.
  • You may be in a “comfort zone”.
  • Not yet decided on the carrier objective or goals.

#8) Lack of Customer Insight

Customer Insight

It is a tester’s responsibility to test if an application is working as per the requirement or not. Also thinking “out of the box” they need to consider the end-user point of view while testing. A bad tester will not think beyond the requirement and identify the bugs.

A bad tester cannot understand the customer and their needs. A bad tester hesitates to ask any doubt or query, this may be because of a lack of confidence or lack of technical knowledge.

Every tester needs to understand clearly and while testing must always think what would be the end user’s point of view while using this application and how easy will be the software to use etc.

#9) Carelessness


At times, Testers may become lazy while testing an application but remember that such habits will make you a bad tester. While testing, a tester needs to ensure that he is providing precise details in the reports, defects in test cases, etc.

Following are a few examples of carelessness while testing:

  • Forgot to add a snapshot.
  • Defects are reported with incorrect information or too little information.
  • Providing lengthy reports instead of precise reporting.
  • Writing an incorrect test case or missing a step in a test case.
  • Lack of listening skills due to which not all the information gets captured.

#10) Testing can be Performed by Anyone

Testing is easy

If a tester thinks that testing is an easy job and can be performed by anyone with little knowledge then they are really not clear about the basic testing concepts and what is the need for “Testing”. A tester with such an attitude or mindset is a threat to a project as it will definitely compromise on quality.

Testing is a skill that you can gain with study, experience, etc. Here, I am not providing an exhaustive list but every tester should have the skill, learning attitude, strong communication, technical knowledge, test to break mindset, etc.

A combination of all such qualities will make you a good tester and you will be an asset to the project and organization.

Bad testers have the following assumption about testing:

  • Testing does not require any skill.
  • Testing is an easy job so it can be performed by anyone.
  • There is no future or growth in Testing or as a Tester.
  • Testing is a monotonous job and nothing new is involved in day-to-day work or activity.

How to Get Rid of Bad Characteristics

There are so many characteristics that will make you a “bad tester”.

You can get rid of all those characteristics, but you need dedication, detailed study, and concentration while testing. Also, you can appear for certification exams in your area which in turn will help you to gain more knowledge and it will be helpful to your project as well.

You need to go beyond your limits and learn new technology, and tools and gather domain knowledge, etc. There are different testing tools that are available in the market which you can learn on your own or with the help of some training. Also, you can implement this knowledge in your regular project activities as well.

You need to prove yourself as a proactive tester by asking different interesting, logical queries, by implementing an innovative idea, or by creating a small tool/utility using macros or automation tools that will save everyone’s time.

Recommended reading:


We have mentioned the list of different characteristics of a bad tester. Most of these are also applicable to any other related career as well.

If you have to make a successful testing career then you need to avoid these characteristics or you need to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

Hope you will eliminate the above characteristics to prove yourself as a Good Tester! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Recommended Reading

17 thoughts on “Characteristics of a Bad Software Tester”

  1. all the mentioned points are very useful to be a good tester. Although not all can be controlled.

  2. Really a good one for tester.

  3. awesome information very useful?

  4. Great article, everyone should read it.

  5. Useful for a Career as Good Tester

  6. Really Good information, it is needed for every bad to tester to became good one.
    if we can follow this steps then no dought that we are gonna good tester.

  7. Good article that helps all testers and take inputs

  8. basicly you are saying that a tester is the silver bullet. He must have deep knowledge about dotnet, java, angular, python, ruby, perl, sql, c, c++, c#, javascript, html, xml, etc.

    he must also have deep knowledge of windows, unix, linux, osx, android and other operating systems

    then he must have deep knowledge of json, xsd, xml, soap, databases, applications, etc.

    and finally he has to know his tooling like microsoft test center, uft, cucumber, selenium, robot framework, protractor, tosca, jmeter, fitnesse, soap-ui

    apart from that he has to have excellent communication skills, being positive all the time, deep knowledge of any domain (whether it’s air traffic control, government, education, business, banking, health care, etc), he has to stay eager, is willing to learn, can learn anything in no time AND he knows EVERY requirement!

    Good luck in finding someone like that on this planet!

  9. @Joepiedepoepie – Good point :)

    Article emphasizes on good learning skills by pointing the bad characteristics of a tester.

  10. @Joepiedepoepie – Good point :)

    The article emphasizes on the required skills by highlighting the bad characteristics of a tester.

  11. When working on same type of work for a long time, may induce one or two bad characteristics unknowingly Laziness or Carelessness. Also when we look at newbie testers may have lack of technical skills or domain understanding, for short term.

    Although these bad characteristics does last for long
    term. A good tester always look for opportunities or create new for themselves.

  12. @Joepiedepoepie:

    A programming knowledge is always an advantage, with this knowledge one can understand what is happening behind the scenes. This will help to break software in better way.

  13. Really nice artical to learn as a tester

  14. First of all as such a characteristic can not be trait as a good or bad for a tester. Today;s world is like, Tester should jack of all technologies but should not be a expert in 1. This is like to rule all planets in the solar system.

    Tester should have good thinking and learning skills. Period !

  15. I had a tester who just glazes over whatever is on the list of work items ready to be tested. She’d always say “yes, it’s next on her list after I’ve finished what i’m currently doing” but the work items will only be picked up slightly more than a month later. When casually asked what she was finishing previously, her response was always “oh little things here and there, nothing important, what’s up?”. Is that a bad tester? If so, how does anyone break the news to her? She’s just left for maternity leave so the team has just heaved a sigh of relief, at least for another year until she returns to slow things down all over again.

    Out of the 2 testers we have, 1 is always proactive. She knew what she is testing or she’ll find out what she the acceptance criteria ought to be if not clear. She thought of many scenarios without anyone prompting her. If anything did break, she’d let us know so that we could attempt to replicate it then fix if required. The other one who’s just gone, she’d not bother. “Hi, please can you test work item 2 as it’s escalated to top priority”, “Yes sure, give me 5mins and i’ll get it done”. 4 weeks later, it gets done.


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