How Domain knowledge is Important for testers?

Jayant Deo asks:

“Looking at the current scenario from the industry it is seen that the testers are expected to have both technical testing skills as well either need to be from the domain background or have gathered domain knowledge mainly for BFSI is commonly seen.
I would like to know why and when is this domain knowledge imparted to the tester during the testing cycle?”

First of all, I would like to introduce three-dimensional testing career mentioned by Danny R. Faught. There are three categories of skill that need to be judged before hiring any software tester.

How Domain knowledge is Important for testers_

What are those three skill categories?

1) Testing skill
2) Domain knowledge
3) Technical expertise.

No doubt that any tester should have the basic testing skills like Manual testing and Automation testing. Tester having the common sense can even find most of the obvious bugs in the software. Then would you say that this much testing is sufficient? Would you release the product on the basis of this much testing done? Certainly not.

You will certainly have a product look by the domain expert before the product goes into the market.

While testing any application you should think like an end-user.

But every human being has the limitations and one can’t be the expert in all of the three dimensions mentioned above. (If you are the experts in all of the above skills then please let me know ;-)) So you can't assure that you can think 100% like how the end-user going to use your application.

A user who is going to use your application may be having a good understanding of the domain he is working on. You need to balance all these skill activities so that all product aspects will get addressed.

Nowadays you can see the professional being hired in different companies are more domain experts than having technical skills. The current software industry is also seeing a good trend that many professional developers and domain experts are moving into software testing.

We can observe one more reason why domain experts are most wanted! When you hire fresh engineers who are just out of college you cannot expect them to compete with experienced professionals. Why? Because experienced professional certainly have the advantage of a domain and testing experience and they have better understandings of different issues and can deliver the application better and faster.

Here are some of the examples where you can see the distinct edge of domain knowledge:
1) Mobile application testing.
2) Wireless application testing
3) VoIP applications
4) Protocol testing
5) Banking applications
6) Network testing

How will you test such applications without knowledge of specific domain?

Are you going to test the BFSI applications (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) just for UI or functionality or security or load or stress? You should know what are the user requirements in banking, working procedures, commerce background, exposure to brokerage etc and should test application accordingly, then only you can say that your testing is enough – Here comes the need of subject-matter experts.

Let's take an example of my current project:

I am currently working on search engine application. Where I need to know the basic of search engine terminologies and concepts. Many times I see some other team tester's asking me questions like what is ‘publishers’ and ‘advertisers’, what is the difference and what they do?

Do you think they can test the application based on current online advertising and SEO? Certainly not. Unless and until they get well familiar with these terminologies and functionalities.

When I know the functional domain better I can better write and execute more test cases and can effectively simulate the end user actions which are distinctly a big advantage.

Here is the big list of the required testing knowledge:

  • Testing skill
  • Bug hunting skill
  • Technical skill
  • Domain knowledge
  • Communication skill
  • Automation skill
  • Some programming skill
  • Quick grasping
  • Ability to Work under pressure …

That is going to be a huge list. So you will certainly say, do I need to have these many skills?

Its' depends on you. You can stick to one skill or can be an expert in one skill and have a good understanding of other skills or a balanced approach of all the skills. This is the competitive market and you should definitely take advantage of it. Make sure to be expert in at least one domain before making any move.

What if you don't have enough domain knowledge?

You will be posted on any project and company can assign any work to you. Then what if you don't have enough domain knowledge of that project?

You need to quickly grasp as many concepts as you can. Try to understand the product as if you are the customer and what customer will do with the application.

Visit the customer site if possible know how they work with the product, Read online resources about the domain you want to test the application, participate in events addressing on such domain, meet the domain experts. Or either company will provide all this in-house training before assigning any domain-specific task to testers.

There is no specific stage where you need this domain knowledge. You need to apply your domain knowledge in each and every software testing life cycle.

If you are reading this article till this point then I would like to hear on which domain you are working on? So that our readers can get a better idea of different domains and projects. Comment your domain below.

Update: As per the request from many readers I have updated our software testing resource page for the BFSI domain online documents and articles for downloads.

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552 thoughts on “How Domain knowledge is Important for testers?”

  1. Hi,

    i am working with web based financial domain. now i am allocated in banking domain.could you pls give me some basic knowldge in banking domain.

  2. Hi,

    Can anyone pls help me with how testing is done in Airline domain especially for backend testing and Internet Booking and also with the related documents.

    Thanks,
    Sneha

  3. Hi,
    Really a nice article. For the past 3.5 years i have been working on Engineering & Manufacturing (Control valve and Safety Relief Valve) domain. Currently i am working on US Export Compliance domain.

  4. Hi,
    Really a nice article. For the past 3.5 years i have been working on Engineering & Manufacturing (Control valve and Safety Relief Valve) domain. Currently i am working on US Export Compliance domain.

    Best Regards,
    Bibin

  5. Hi ,

    Its really a very boosting article, it tells us how much domain knowledge is important. Thanks each one of you for your contribution to the site.
    Please email all testing related docs to my email ID karunakumari29@gmail.com
    Thanks & Regards,
    Karuna.

  6. Hi Writer,

    I am going to join a company as a tester and its a banking project.Please let me know what are all the things i need to know about banking.

  7. Hi Vijay,
    it’s very nice article and thanks for information….
    1.Coming to my work I’m working as tester and since last 1.5 years i’m working HR domain project(Basically it’d out organization product),could you tell this is an good domain and how the organizations believe that he/she is an very good domain expert while during interviews.

    2.One more important question is let ‘In real world there are lakhs of testers and competition also’ very high,in such scenarios how to prove and get demand our self in the presence of organizations.
    EX: I have 3 years of experience my current CTC is 25K per month and i attended for an interview and i asked for 40K per month,in such scenarios why should take me by paying such amount,what we should show to him?

  8. I am currently working on Finance domain. It is a loan application that checks and approves the loan application send from Applicants after proper verification.

  9. Hi Vijay,

    This site is really helpful for getting the knowledge, Please help me how to get more knowledge about finance domain testing.

  10. HI

    this site is very very useful to a testor. Mentions what is mandatory for a Testor, without any of those mandatory definetely he or she cannot be a tester in QA.

  11. hi everyboday this is very helpful,i was reading only questions and that too without any answers for them.am going crazy…

  12. Really I got the detailed information about this topic. But pls suggest me about the BFSI domain. Because I newly assigned for the BFSI domail.

  13. hi plz guide me how to develop domain knowledge on healthcare & ERP fr my projects. plz send me links internal meanings acts like that

  14. freinds,
    i have been working in a private bank from 3 years and now want to change my career to testing please help ..i have engg back ground with rich domain knowledge on banking and finance …..plzz help

  15. Hi Jagan, #475

    Surely you can. Your banking and financial knowledge will add value to your profile. Just learn and prepare well. Surely you can win.

    Wishes..!!!

  16. Hi Gary, #470

    Learning domain knowledge in not like doing course. You’ve to google for the knowledge. I think no other best way is there to gain domain knowledge than GOOGLE.

    Just browse with different keywords in the domain. Search each and every technical words, so that you can get more than what you want.

  17. Dear all,

    AM looking for job in Telecom domain(Testing Engineer),can any one send me telecom domain documents to my email: jagadeeshmvs@gmail.com,Please send as soon as possible,I need to attend an interview they prefer only d candidates having experience on telecom domain,so that i need to gain knowledge on telecom domain.Please can anybody help me out regarding this.

  18. Hi,

    Nice topic and its very good idea to sharing kowledge about domain. I had worked on semiconductor and now working in Finance domain.

  19. i am looking for testing job(banking domain) can any one send banking domain document to my mail. my mail id is hharsha96@gmail.com Please send as soon as possible,I need to attend an interview they prefer only d candidates having experience on Banking&healthcare domain,so that i need to gain knowledge on telecom domain.Please can anybody help me out regarding this.

  20. Hi ,

    Currenty i am getting many interview calls on BFSI. But i dont have any idea about that.

    Please provide me more details about this BFSI domain. Also send me the test cases and test plan to: hyper1@ceeby.com

    Thanks in Advance.
    Srinivas

  21. Hi.. Iam working as Test Engineer.. I want to become a business Analyst.For that we need to be strong in one domain. How to get strong knowledge in one particular domain? Is there any course?

  22. HI.. I’m working as a QA Engineer. I want know about Banking & healthcare domain. Please provide me the details of those domains as soon as possible. i need to attend interviews on those domains.

  23. looking out for a job change.
    3 years exp in c/linux device drivers..
    if there is any requirement in this domain ..contact me on 07795692969

  24. hi

    Im Currently working on Arline domain(Travel).
    This is really a nice article and will surely help people to know the importance of the domain knowledge.

  25. hi readers,
    i have seen the site today itself while i m browsing for domain knowledge in testing and where we can get the domain kmowledge projects if anu knows please inform me there r many people working in testing.can any one help me getting those projects please.ik have an interview for bank of america.please do me this favour

  26. Hi..

    Can you suggest me which domain in best among Retail and Securities in terms of career growth, oppurtunities and technical development ?

  27. Hello Guys,

    My Name is Prakash , I have done professional diploma in software testing in the year 2008, but haven’t yet got job related to software testing.

    Can anybody help me out?

  28. Can anyone explain me different domain knowledge like
    financial,pharma,network and etc.like what is secutiry in finance(what we have to speak during the Intervie)

  29. Hi Vijay,

    Am currently working on Retail domain where we test the functionalities of POS application..
    Plz let me know if u have any knowledge base material for retail domain.

    Thanks

  30. hi,
    this is jesica currently i am working in mobile game testing industry i just want to know the future about mobile game testing as we test games from low end to high end devices like from blackberry games to i-phone,nokia basic models……. game testing i want more information what is future of mobile game testing

  31. Hi ,
    I appreciate for the artice published by you.
    I am interested in knowing about BSFI domain , could you mail me related imnformation regarding.

    Thanks & Regards

    Usha Kiran

  32. This is really very good site for testers. I worked on Insurence domain. I want to improve my knowledge on BSFI. Can you please point me there.

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