How to Improve Your Testing Skills and Beat the Competition!

8 Practical Techniques to Keep the Mind in Tune for Testing

During a recent software testing interview, I asked the candidate about what he does to keep the mind in tune so that he can continuously think about new testing ideas. He was confused and answered, “I do testing”.  I smiled.

While working on the same project/application/product/domain for many years, we become an expert in a particular domain or product, but if we are not careful, we lose the most important thing – The eye to test.

Yes, you read it right. When you are working on the same product every day for 2 years and when you are bored and not seeing any more bugs, my friend, it is time to rejuvenate; time to brush up the mind, and time to be a learner again.

Practical testing skills

Software testing is not a job, it’s a responsibility. Either you are doing manual testing

 or you are writing complex automation scripts. You are the authorized person for the quality of that particular web page/module / overall product.

To keep up with the responsibility in the highly competitive IT environment, it’s necessary that –

  • You find something bad before someone else finds out
  • You see something critical before someone else thinks about it
  • You report something extraordinary before someone else has a chance to do it
  • You co-relate past experiences, learn, and use work experience to generate a fabulous output

Most of the time, as a tester, we are busy while executing documented test cases, generating automation scripts or reporting bugs. While doing this, we are losing that skill of looking at everything with a different view.

Why is Software Testing challenging?

Software testing is challenging because you have to keep yourself updated with the latest knowledge as well continuously provide more qualitative inputs to make a product better (in short, find more bugs). How can we keep up with this kind of stress?  It’s not just one-time learning. It’s a process, and believe me, by following some simple practices daily, you can do it easily.

8 Practical Tips to Keep Your Mind in Tune for Testing

#1. Think “testing” with everything around you

When you are travelling, cooking, playing with kids, taking a walk in the garden, or when you are reading a book, observe everything around you, and force your mind to prepare test ideas to test these things.  Think of at least 5 test ideas for everything around you, every time you get a chance to think about.

Think….. how can you test a train?  How can you test a spoon? How can you test a book? How can you test a jar? How can you test a cable? How can you test a remote?….. the list is endless. After following this practice for 15 days, notice a  difference in yourself.  You will be full of ideas. You will be able to understand things properly and will be able to correlate the items.

#2. Learn something new every day

No matter whether it’s a small testing technique or an automation tool, you must have at least one item to check off as “Learned” every day. Small amounts of knowledge, when accumulated, creates an ocean of the same. This practice, if followed, will surely show wonders in your career. Try it!!!

#3. Keep diversified interests

Nowadays, it’s expected that a quality person is aware of the development lifecycle, documentation, testing processes, programming, analysis, automation, and knowledge across different domains.

It’s not easy to learn something else while you are already busy testing something specific. But at the same time, you cannot take a risk of pulling your career chords downwards. Open your eyes and see what is happening around you. You cannot learn everything, but you can definitely have some ideas about important products/domains different than the one you have been working on.

  • If you have been working on a Windows operating system, see how Linux works, read about it, and explore it.
  •  If you have been a manual tester for most of your career, see what kind of automation tools are available and explore it.
  •  If you have been doing web application testing thus far, look into how mobile application testing is different.
  • If you have been working in a banking domain, understand how the healthcare domain works.

Keeping diversified interests will give you an opportunity to look at the bigger picture and understand the similarities and differences easily.

#4. Play games

There are numerous strategy games, pattern finding games, and missing letter games available for free. Use the opportunity, and learn from them. Games make your mind sharp and alert. The sharp mind is able to find something hidden easily.

#5. Read

Read whatever you can. It’s not necessary to read only software testing books to become a good tester. If you are able to co-relate things correctly, books on any subject will be a treasure to you.

#6. Take breaks

Humans have a tendency of getting used to things. If you look at a broken piece of furniture for a long time, your mind, at one point, will start thinking about how perfect that piece was rather than the broken part. Don’t focus your eyes on the same thing constantly. Take breaks, observe your surroundings, discuss knowledge, and then resume your work. Does it make a difference? A lot.

#7.  Keep a note

Every day, jot down at least five points about what you learned, what you did to make things happen, what you found, or what ideas you implemented on a notepad. It will be a treasure when you take the time to re-visit it.

#8. Learn management

You can achieve success only if you can manage things better. Learn and observe from your managers – how they manage resources, clients, projects, timeline and other hurdles.

To manage something, you need not be a manager. Start from your work and time. Try to help others and accept help when required.  The management skill will grow with constant practice and will surely make the best out of you.

Conclusion:

I am stopping here as I think I have covered the points for daily practice. I am not interested in mentioning points on sharing/upgrading knowledge or discussing different topics because I think every one of us is doing it as a part of our work.

Finally, try to be an exploratory tester and you will be able to fit in all the other categories.

About the Author: Bhumika Mehta is a project lead, carrying 7 years of software testing experience. She is totally into testing and loves to test everything that exists. She appreciates good ideas, innovations, and risk.  Of course, she hates monotonic work, people and the environment.

Happy Testing, and as usual, suggestions and views are welcome.

126 Comments on “How to Improve Your Testing Skills and Beat the Competition!

  1. Brilliant Blog. Very interesting….Thanks for sharing

  2. That was an interesting read…
    I’m a game tester.. Do you’ve any tips for me?

  3. Very Helpful……!

  4. Super Blog..Thanks..

  5. You said it correct. when you are busy with your work you don’t get time to work on upgrading our self. But upgrading should not be a one day or one month process it should be continuous efforts to learn and explore new things, implement new techniques, ideas for better testing. Gone are the days when you used to follow some fixed standards for years without any process improvements. Now its time to innovate and do the things differently which works for your needs.

  6. Superb writing….This shows brilliance in you….good man(May be I am not a appropriate person to say this but still)…keep writing…n Thanks for sharing…

  7. I was looking for these suggestions. Good points. Specially, the 7th one. Really helpful. Thanks

  8. Really helpful…. Thank u so much.

  9. Awesome post…. everyone (tester) must follow…

  10. very good suggestions..thank you so much

  11. I have been into testing since last two years, working on same domain, doing same testing and was finally getting bored of testing..
    But your post actually changed my views for it…
    Very inspiring post..
    Will practice these :) Thanks

  12. This is one of the best article i ever read about How to build carrier… Thanks and keep it up… Good Job..

  13. awesome blog,especially 2,7 th points are too good , keep it up do post like these good things ,
    same way you can give one set of Testcases for perfomance and automation how you will segrigate those testcases from manual testcases and proceed for automation or performance testing

  14. hi its really good & helpfull..

    Thanks :)

  15. Good article!! .Good Job..Keep it up.. Thanks..

  16. Excellent article… I will try to follow the things mentioned in this article……

  17. Great points

  18. @Revathy, @Sreenivasulu
    Thanks a lot for considering efforts and appreciation. This encourages me to share more ideas.

    Thanks again.

  19. great artical

    Thanks :)

  20. @Justin, @Ram, @Ankur, @Srinu,

    Thanks a lot for appreciating the ideas and commenting.

  21. Great idea i was going to implement it in my career…

    thank u
    Bhumika

  22. @Latha, @Tester, @Prema,

    Thanks a lot for commenting. Those little words are source of encouragement.

  23. very good and very use full info…

  24. Thanks for such informative article. Boosts up confidence:)

  25. Very good article! I appreciate you and thanks for sharing such good article. You are doing great job, keep it up. I will try to follow the same.

  26. @Vely, @Shailaja, @Rajaselvan,

    Thanks for sharing your views and glad to know that its helpful and you liked it.

  27. Good Read !!! Thanks for posting. !!! Keep Posting like this !!!

    Sanjay Bansal
    QA

  28. Very good blog. Keep posting. Cheers !!

  29. hi, its helpful one. thanks a lot.

  30. Very Interesting Article….Thanks

  31. Very nice.. Thanks for sharing.. Keep posting..

  32. hi,
    i have been working in testing field since last 5 years, But Only one Question..?
    WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF TESTING ….?

  33. hey prashant,
    don’t go for testing profile its wastage of time ,low skill,low profile . even bcom or 12th stnd pass student can do . even ur mother can do testing as she is usally doing to seperate out stones from rice.

  34. Good post indeed.
    @ Prashant – i think if you read the above bullets , you will surely understand what testing means … Be a tester by choice ..

    @ Jack – you say testing can be done by anyone !! you think developers are doing some rocket science out there??? if you feel even a 12th standard passout can test and find bugs , just imagine what a crap code someone has written !. A tester is more exposed to technologies end to end than a developer. so think before passing out such statements.

  35. hey pratap sorry for hurting ur sentiments . but can you tell me is there any techinacal skills is really applied my tester while testing.
    Thing is that Testing a Art not science , you should have good artist to do testing .not good tech guys

  36. This is very nice article!

  37. Thanks Mahesh for appreciate me.

  38. Bhumika do you want to comment on my views on testing?

  39. Interesting read it was. Very helpful suggestions.

  40. hi…….

    this article was very helpful. who are working as testers this tips are very useful. boasting our mind a lot .thnx a lot

  41. nice tips

  42. These are best guidelines for me , as I am fresher in Software Testing.This type of articles will help me lot to improve my knowledge.
    Thank you so much ……

  43. Thanks a lot for sharing valuable ideas…:)

  44. Very good tips…

    Thanks!!!

  45. @Bhumika mem
    hiii mem..
    today i read your article…i totally surprised becoz i m understand other meaning of software testing just like test cases,test plan,unit,integration etc.
    but aftr i read ur article i start the thinking “testing is everyone”….thnx bumika mem i will definitively to improve this idea…nd good article mem….

  46. @JF, @Monisha, @Chetan, @Kiran, @Vidya
    Thanks a lot for reading and commenting.

  47. Thanks Bhumika, it’s really a very good article and post more and more like this.

  48. It’s a very good blog,and I get a lot of knowldge and how to keep a good tester.Now I want to know how to improve my skills of designing test cases,more importance is how to improe my thought about test case.I’m a black box tester,and I have study several commom testing techniques like equivalence partinion class?Boundary value analysis?state transition technique?and cause and graph , I know how to use these methods to design,but when I interview,I don’t know how to describe.Could you give me some suggestion for me?
    thank you

  49. Brother, I never seen like this type of website for testing.
    it is very usefull for testers

  50. ya this article is great lesson to survive in Industry.

  51. Thanks Bhumika,this is really good article .

  52. Thanks Bhumika,
    Its a very usefull article for all testers and i will improve my testing skill after reading your article and please post more and more testing helpfull article.

  53. good article for s/w testers in day today life. make more and more new test cases.

  54. @Ipsita, @Yan, @mohana, @Sarvesh, @Pradnya, @VJ
    Thanks for kind words.

  55. Thanks for this valuable post. Not a tester, everyone should follow this above article to improve their own skills.
    As a Manual Tester, i was doing the same kind of work last 3+ years and i got bored. Just few months back i started to learn automated testing tools. I’m was take any guidelines to learn the automated testing. But now, i got clear picture. Once again thanks for this article. :-)

  56. Hi this is very attractive and impressive article.. heart full thanks for u to publish this articles..

  57. Realy fantastic article …..thanks for sharing your views,knowledge and many more.

  58. Impressive article. Gave an Idea for the Beginners.

  59. Excellent blog..waiting for more .. keep posting..its like a eye opener..

  60. @Nitin, @Vasanth, @praks, @maneendra,

    Thanks and glad to know that it was helpful.

  61. I must say, this post is really worth reading it. Every idea that you considered is quite simple but is really effective if implemented.
    Thanks Bhumika, for sharing such an inspiring article.

  62. @Sandeep Kumar – Thanks for your kind words and readership. Tune in for more readings like this :-).

  63. Hi Bhumika,

    The article was really very informative. Helped me to think scenarios out of box. Thanks again.

  64. @Sawan – Thanks a lot for those kind words and I am glad that it was helpful. Tune in for more posts like this.
    Happy Testing :-).

  65. really very good

  66. Superb…..Really good one…..Thanks a lot

  67. Simple, yet inspiring!
    A good read for any professional.. or any human being for that matter. Keep learning. Being stagnant, well, smells :)

  68. Thank You very much for this valuable information…

  69. Excellent article!!! Thank you for such great work!!!

  70. Really these are awesome tips!!!!!
    I am very thankful

  71. @Sachin, @Akhil, @LiveKindLiveFair, @Ruchi,

    We are thankful for the readers like you. Thanks you for those encouraging words.

  72. A very beautiful blog, It’s too much interesting and i really appreciate this blog.

    Thank you very much for sharing a beautiful knowledge.

  73. Hi Bhumika,
    I have read few of your article,its superb,how do u think like this?i will become fan of u!! ,waiting for new one!!

    Excellent! Awesome!
    Thanks for sharing

  74. Thank you ..so much Bhumika for valuable information…thanks a lot.

  75. Gratitude !!! Nice one !!!

  76. Hi,
    you have written a nice blog, it help me to under the better view of Software Testing !!!
    it really clear my mindset of Skill Development !!!

  77. Hi Bumika,

    I am a Manual tester for more than 4 years, can i know some of the tips to grow into it

  78. Apart from the tips which was mentioned in this article

  79. Thank you so much for the tips,i am a developer and shifting to testing,its really helpful..

  80. Thank you so much for charging the new energy. It will help all of us.

  81. Really,This is very helpful for us.Thank u so much for this blog

  82. This was great…thanks

  83. Very good article. Very Energetic and inspiring.

  84. Simply amazing. The essence of a true tester is beautifully explained in simplest of the terms. Very effective and definitely easiliy applicable tips. A comprehensive article on what a tester’s mindset should be.

  85. Yes, most of the points are very helpful.
    Thank you and be exploring as alwayz

  86. Very Useful, inspiring and a motivating article. Thanks a lot !

  87. What a way of approach !!!
    This really changed my thoughts towards testing.
    keep posting.

  88. Thank you for the crispy yet effective content

  89. Thanks Bhumika Mehta, Really iam in a mood at low levels and fighting to reboost on how to improve my testing skill sets.since iam working on long term project for a long time.

  90. Interesting blog…Thanks Bhumika….I was actually in the search of such kind of blogs…..really inspiring…..Thanks a lot

  91. It was very useful & got an idea to improve further….

  92. Thanks for the wonderful blog, by reading this article i am getting more confident on learning new things and how to become a effective tester. it is a great thing to share the knowledge and guidance thanks once again for sharing your thoughts hopefully you may continue the same path to inspire more people.

  93. thanks a ton . Really helpful

  94. Just going through your post and is quite instructive, though I am just about to go into testing cos I got an opportunity for a training, pls what advice do you have for me. Thanks

  95. A good round-up of some great tips, Bhumika.

    In the world of ever-changing technology and frequently updated version of devices and Internet of Things, “Test Everything Everyday” should be the focus.

    And the good thing is – there are great number of resources available today online to learn things and always keeping yourself updated with the latest happenings and emerging trends in testing.

    One point which I would like to add here is, never to be afraid of experimenting with new tools, strategies or processes – for example, found a new tool or utility that could potentially be used to make your life easy, use it, fail and retry! You will find a great strategy or a new tool by experimenting. And even if you don’t, you would know about the tool that doesn’t work for you ;)

    Cheers
    Sanjay Zalavadia

  96. Great write up I must say, Bhumika…

    To survive in this market of emerging trends and technologies you should keep learning something new…

    @Poovarasan, I couldn’t agree more with you mate. Even I have started deep diving into automation concepts and it’s great fun when you start learning something new to step up your skills.

  97. Great write up Bhoomikaji.. very inspiring

  98. hi I am starting my career as software testing professional.please suggest me how I can plan my studies and work practise so that I can be benefitted early and smoothly.please mail me…

    Thanks and regards
    Alok Kumar

  99. Thank u for the article.
    Very inspiring post..

  100. Nice article. Thank you

  101. nice article helpful for both beginners and experienced as well

  102. very interesting article. very.

  103. Good Article.
    Explored the learning things in a way of facts
    Looking Forward an another article

  104. Nicely written..! Thank you!

  105. Friends,
    I am 32 and a non programmer, working in a small software company in testing (Manual Testing) for 2 years. We just check whether the site works correctly as per instruction given to us. We do not use any testing tool and i also do not familiar with those tools. However, I have to enrich my experience and want to study testing tools. But Many of us insist us atleast of programming knowledge is required. I also want to learn any programming language for testing purpose. However, C++ only i desire to learn. Is it correct ? Please guide me. We do not have other guidence. At the same time, i have to learn C++ by self learning only. In future will it be a beneficial one for testing job ? As i am a non programmer and know only HTML at basic level. Our company is not using C++ still i want to learn it from very begining.

  106. After reading this article , eyes are wide , Willing to explore the things more than before..Thanks for the motivational article!

  107. Superb article ma’am. So much Informative.

    Really glad to know such a fabulous meaning of testing.

    Thanks a lot..:)

  108. Very useful post for testing… i ll try to implement in my testing part

  109. Thanks Bhumika. This was a wonderful article. I was looking forward for these kind of articles. It was totally inspiring, and the way in which you convey the message is fabulous.

  110. first to very very thanks to you mam..! your article is no nice encourages me and quite impressive…actually m a begginer in testing industry…m inspired very much.
    mam can i have you email id actually i want to contact you atleast once for proper guidance..so mam pls contact me if possible..if not than its ok…
    really thanks to you for this article

  111. Thanks Bhumika, your detailed explanation very well. I’m impressed, keep on posting and sharing knowledge and we’re here to acquire. Don’t stop it

  112. Good work from the team as this will help us to explore our ideas and Testing Skills..thanks a lot…

  113. The article is helpful.Thank You.

  114. Hi bhumika maam,

    I want to hear from you please tell me.
    Which one more effective
    1) Testing with testcases
    2) Testing without testcases

  115. I bookmarked this page…this article keep inspires me

  116. that was good one and it was helpful for me at the right time ere i was in need of that information ..i had this and thanks for it..

  117. Testing needs innovation and presence of mind. Testing very interesting to do and you will experience lots of things if you doing it with passion.

  118. Compititions ARE not so hard, you should to break it.
    this helps mea lot.

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