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.


127 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Testing Skills and Beat the Competition!”

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Hi bhumika maam,

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

  11. 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.

Leave a Comment