Many fresher who want to build a career in IT opt for software testing as a stepping stone.
Even if you plan to switch to software development in the later stage of your career, it is always a good idea to start as a software tester.
This post will cover what you should and should not do to get your first job as a testing professional.
How to Get a Software Testing Job When You Have No Experience?
What You Will Learn:
- #1) Be Passionate About Testing
- #2) Have the Right Skill Set Required for the Job
- #3) Choose Your Niche
- #4) Bust All Myths
- #5) Write a Perfect Cover Letter and Resume
- #6) Get Recommended
- #7) Try applying in Startup & Small company first
- #8) Cherry on the cake: Proficiency in communication
- #9) Float your Resume
- #10) Few other tips
- Recommended Reading
#1) Be Passionate About Testing
Why do you want to do a testing job?
This is probably the most commonly asked question across all testing interviews. You should have a clear answer to below questions:
- Why do you want to become a software tester?
- If you are a computer science engineer, why did not you choose software development?
- If you are from some other stream, why don’t you look for a job in your field of specialization?
Only those candidates who are passionate about this field and want to grow as a quality tester end up getting the best jobs available in the market. Anyone can be trained but only the people with real interest in this field can make a name for themselves.
So, get to know the basic idea of software testing & quality assurance and develop an interest in it. You will be able to survive in your software testing job only when you have real interest and passion about it. Else, you will start finding testing as a burden and finally end up in losing your performance and efficiency.
So, apply for a software testing job only when you actually want to do it.
#2) Have the Right Skill Set Required for the Job
As a software tester, you’d be spending most of the time trying to “break” the software. You should have excellent aptitude & analytical skills coupled with knowledge of testing methodologies and tools. The interviewer will definitely ensure that you have all the basic required knowledge of software testing and have necessary skills to do the job.
Use the following resources to develop software testing skills:
As a fresh graduate, you will not be having any significant exposure to test scenarios & test cases. In such a situation, you can join any leading institute that offers training in software testing. By doing so, you will get the good knowledge of software testing as well as some hands-on experience which will prove to be very useful in grabbing a software testing job.
The below link will take you to some of the best software testing training institutes in India: Software Testing Course: Which Software Testing Institute Should I join?
Freelancing & Crowdsourced Testing
You can also take up some freelance work that will be an added benefit to your experience. You can also do crowdsourced testing for few months before applying for a software testing job. Showing this experience in your CV will add weightage to your candidature for the job.
You can also take up some software testing projects through the communities like uTest.
Nowadays most of the job openings require you to have some certifications in testing. This has been made mandatory by most of the companies so that the candidate can be productive from the day 1 of his joining and no amount of time or money needs to be spent on training the candidate over the basic software testing concepts. So, it’s a feather in the cap if you hold certain certifications before applying for a software testing job.
You can also attend online software testing courses or read the software testing tutorials available online.
There are a lot of tutorials available online for learning software testing and preparing for job interviews. You can refer to below list of tutorials available on STH: Software Testing Tutorials
Another good option to build your software testing skills is reading Books on testing. Below are some excellent eBooks available on software testing for beginners:
- The Art of Software Testing
- Practical Software Testing – Free eBook
- Lessons Learned in Software Testing – A context driven approach
- Software Testing: Essential Skills for First Time Testers
- Software Testing Career Package – A Software Tester's Journey from Getting a Job to Becoming a Test Leader!
Agile methodology in software projects is very popular these days and there are high chances that you might have to work with an Agile team in your first job. You can learn about Agile testing in the following book:
There are many popular software testing tools which offer the free trial versions. I would suggest you to start exploring Selenium first. It is a most popular open source and one of the best automation testing tools available in the market. Below is the website link for Selenium: What is Selenium?
Other tools which you can explore are QTP, RFT, Bugzilla, LoadRunner, etc.
Knowledge of at least any one popular software testing tool can prove to be very helpful in getting you a software testing job as a fresher.
#3) Choose Your Niche
Have you heard the saying “Jack of all trades but master of none”? Well, these days, especially in IT field, you need to specialize and not generalize. A specialist is always preferred over a generalist by most companies (Although it’s not a good idea to choose specialists as they have limited scope, most HR’s find the easy way out to fill up the position fast).
Some of the popular testing niches you can choose are
- Manual testing: In this method, a tester has to mimic the role of an end user. An end user is the one who will be actually using the software product. In this process, the tester has to use all of the software features manually to find the bugs.
- Automation testing: In automation testing, a tester has to validate the features of the software by writing scripts that automate the test activities. It saves a lot of time because it does not require manual efforts. This is often the most cost-effective way of testing a software over the long term.
- Performance testing: In this method of testing, software is tested against a specific workload. Some of the metrics that would be evaluated are responsiveness, maximum load capacity, etc.
Similar to software development, software testing is a vast field. So you should focus on one area of testing. This will increase your worth in the job market. Along with specialization in one area, it is always advisable to be familiar with other areas of testing as well. You must also be flexible enough to shift to another domain if required.
Being a fresher, a combination of Java, Selenium, Manual Testing and SOA knowledge will give you an edge over the other fresher applicants. Recruiters will definitely approach you first if you are having this skill set.
Also, one of the most trending roles seen in software testing these days is SDET (Software Developer in Test). An SDET is a developer as well as a tester. So, if you have a blend of good programming and testing skills, you can hunt for an SDET job role. An average salary of an SDET in India is Rs. 768,557 per year.
In the year 2017, the most demanding skills for software testing are anticipated to be Big Data Testing, SDET, DevOps, TDD & BDD, Docker Container, IOT Testing, Lifecycle Testing and Mobile Testing.
#4) Bust All Myths
Sadly, the industry and students have a lot of misconceptions about software testing jobs.
Some of the myths still prevailing are:
Software testing is a simple job. So anyone can do it:
Although it’s not a rocket science, still testing requires a lot of work and intellect from the part of the tester. So, don’t assume it to be a child’s play because testing will require one’s technical skills to be on point so that the tester is able to understand the technical complexities of a system under test as well as he is able to develop/execute test scripts in an efficient manner.
Testing is a second tier job compared to development:
Testing and software development are two different processes. Any type of comparison about the difficulty level of both does not make much sense.
In one of the job interviews happened for the role of a software tester, we came across a candidate with previous experience in software development only and no testing experience. The candidate was overconfident about cracking the interview because of the perception that testing is a second tier job compared to development.
The candidate argued that testing is inferior to the development and since she has already worked on development projects, thus no testing experience is required for her to get the job. Sadly, she was rejected because of no knowledge of testing concepts!
Software testing is just as important and valued as software development. So experience in one domain doesn’t necessarily entitle you to a free pass to another.
Testers get paid less as compared to developers:
It is a misconception that testers have low pay scale as compared to developers. The salary of tester purely depends upon the factors like job role & responsibilities, skills, company standards, nature of employment, the kind of testing you are involved into, etc. Comparing salary between a tester and a developer is not actually a good idea!
Automation testing means clicking a few buttons and the software will do it for you:
While it can be true for some existing test cases, most of the time you’d have to create the script for automation testing. So don’t think that it will be easy and since you don’t know/hate programming, it’s the perfect opportunity for you.
Testing is boring:
If you find testing boring, then it means that you are not doing it in the right way. Testing is fun! Testing gives you a perfect chance to explore about the product, think out of the box and learn new things each day.
#5) Write a Perfect Cover Letter and Resume
How many times have you applied to a set of jobs at a stretch using the same resume and not even thinking about including a cover letter?
If you are like most people applying for a job, your reply here would be “most of the time” or “always”.
We receive several resumes each day from candidates who simply attach their raw fresher level resume and blindly apply to the job without even reading the job titles and requirements. Do you really think a recruiter will take the pain to evaluate you after such an attempt?
Always customize your resume and make sure that you include a custom cover letter with each application. Instead of trying to apply to 50 different employers at a stretch, apply to just a few relevant ones.
You’ll drastically improve your chances of hearing back from the employer.
Make sure that whatever you have written in your resume actually reflects your personality and skills. Do not include fake experiences and skills in the resume because when the interviewer will ask questions about it, you will just get blank at that moment and this will throw a negative impact on the interview panel.
Read your resume twice or thrice thoroughly before attempting the interview. Most of the questions come from the resume itself because your resume is the only bridge that makes a connection between you and the interview panel.
I have embedded a sample cover letter here which you can use as a template to apply for the software testing jobs. I prepared and used such cover letter when I applied for my first testing job and grabbed it successfully :)
#6) Get Recommended
The fastest and easiest way to land a job is entering through friends’, family or relatives’ recommendations. Many of the vacancies get filled by asking the current employees to recommend their known people having the matching skill set as required by the company.
It’s a two-way benefit as the employer easily gets a candidate and the employee gets a referral bonus. So, reach out to your contacts who are working in the field of software testing or in a company which has software testing opportunities and request them to refer your candidature for the job openings in software testing in their organization.
#7) Try applying in Startup & Small company first
It’s easier to make entry into startups or small company than an IT MNC. Small companies are more flexible in evaluating a candidature. Also, as they are into initial or growing phase, they need more testers to test their products. They tend to take a risk of hiring a fresher more often as compared to big companies.
#8) Cherry on the cake: Proficiency in communication
It is very important for a software tester to have good oral and written communication skills as you need to document the test related data properly and explain the bugs/issues to the stakeholders in a way that there is no gap in understanding.
So, brush up your communication skills before you apply for a software testing job.
#9) Float your Resume
Join software testing forums, job portals and social networking sites like LinkedIn and upload your CV everywhere.
You can join forums like STS where a lot of software testing jobs gets posted.
#10) Few other tips
Since you are a fresher, there won’t be many expectations from you. Just be confident, revise the basic testing concepts and speak without any hesitation in the interview.
Be true to yourself!
Don’t add fake things in the CV. You should be able to speak about the things that you have written in your CV.
Read from the web about the interview experiences of software testers who have joined in companies as a fresher. This will help you to visualize how your interview is going to be. One of the best sites I have found for reading interview experiences is the geek for geeks.
About Author: This is a guest post by Adarsh Thampy. Adarsh is a career and marketing expert at Jombay. He talks about various resume formats freshers can use while applying for testing jobs.
Update from Vijay
Our friend Govardhan Reddy added some good points in comments on getting jobs as a fresher. Below is the same comment I'm adding in the post:
@ Freshers/Job Seekers: My views/suggestions
#1: Be Passionate About Testing: Remove all other tracks/paths that you’re working on. e.g.. one fresher may be searching job on Oracle, c, c++, java, testing, blah, blah, blah. If you want to get into testing, Just keep testing path – NOTHING ELSE. If not today, tomorrow you get the job. But until that time keep mastering testing skills!!!
#2: Have the Right Skills Required For the Job: This is achievable just through friends/relatives who are already working or from good institutes. Don’t draw any pictures/conclusions blindly (just my assumptions). This definitely kills your interviews!!! Learn Learn Learn. Google online, Practice Practice Practice.
#4: Bust All Myths: Well said. No primary. No secondary.
All are of equal priority. How much a dev engineer draws his/her salary, Same or more the test engineer draws every month. Just keep in mind that you need to beat the competition. Nothing else matters @ interviews.
#3: Choose Your Niche: Don’t enter into automation/performance testing without knowing the manual testing. What’s wrong if you go step by step? It’s always good to know in and outs of manual testing before stepping into automation or performance. Slow & Steady wins the race.
What you answer for “why you chose testing?”.
Ans: Just say that you have a passion for testing and not interested in programming (or you can always tell that you’re poor at programming). It’s not a crime!!! Just add a tag that “you can’t make better software but you can make software better” :-)
Remember that all questions have answers in one way or the other way. But don’t act very smart!!! No vendor prepares a lock without a key. Respond wisely.
You can see my other comments on this website but on different articles.
Just do Google as ‘software testing interview questions by Govardhan Reddy M’ and you will end up digging more information.
Over to You:
Are you trying to get a job as a software tester and getting stuck somewhere? What are the challenges you faced? Let us know in the comments.