The first and Second part of our Manual Testing Series covered the basics of Manual Testing and its process. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so before continuing with this article to connect better.
Can’t do? Of course, thoughts and suggestions shared in this article can be used independently as well. This last part is about the preparation and possible ways to get into a software testing job/career.
What You Will Learn:
- Ideal Preparation for Software Testing Career
- 7 Ways to Kick Start Your Manual Testing Career
- #1) Aptitude Test
- #2) Software Testing Theory
- #3) Software Testing Interview Questions on the Internet
- #4) Practicing Constructive Communication, Reading About It
- #5) Knowing the Qualities You Already Have
- #6) Testing Dummy Software and Getting Your Result/Approach Evaluated
- #7) Learning to Tell Yourself – What You Found Enough Is Not Enough
- The possible routes that can pave your path to a testing job
- Recommended Reading
Ideal Preparation for Software Testing Career
If you have read my very first article about my software testing journey, then you already know that I am a Software Tester by accident. I took the aptitude and technical tests (this had one question around writing test cases for some application/feature, don’t remember exactly though) under the impression that it was for a Java development opportunity. Somehow, I was shortlisted for Software Testing and was called for further interviewing.
I wasn’t prepared for it due to the short notice and unfamiliarity with practical testing. I went there with some theoretical knowledge only. The only reason I made it through was because my company evaluated us on logical thinking, clarity of thoughts and approach to problem/situation rather than theoretical knowledge of testing. I understand not all companies in the market do it.
Even though companies have different criteria, process and expectations there is a central pattern of the interview process for testing opportunities across companies. They all have different criteria, process, and expectations.
I am writing this series for those who are willing to choose software testing as a career and hence I will have to cover as much as I can, even the few evaluation types I don’t believe in personally.
7 Ways to Kick Start Your Manual Testing Career
Here is the list of things you should be focusing on before calling yourself ready for it:
#1) Aptitude Test
Very crucial; because this tests your natural ability to solve problems and reasoning. Questions can span across multiple categories like Quantitative, Logical, and Verbal abilities. If you are not naturally strong in this stuff, you will need to practice. Don’t take this casually. I am involved in the hiring process for years now and as many as 60-80% of candidates get filtered out after Aptitude test round. So, prepare well.
Book recommendation: Quantitative Aptitude by R. S. Aggarwal is a good choice as far as I know. Practice questions from all sections. Don’t expect the same questions but focus more on how you apply your knowledge and practice answering un-straightforward questions.
#2) Software Testing Theory
I think everyone who is from a Computer science background must have had subject on Software Testing and Quality Assurance. How seriously we take the subjects during college days is altogether a different story though. :)
The reason I mentioned about this academic subject is the fact that it does cover some theory, makes at least some impression of what software testing might be (Before my interview I actually referred to STQA book for few hours. I didn’t know what to read back then). And yes, having a clear understanding of the subject always helps.
I agree that most of the books which an entry level tester or fresh graduate finds easy to understand might have orthodox content on software testing, but still helps.
A better option if reading books is not your thing is the Internet. Read anything and everything you can about Software Testing basics. Focus on terminologies and definitions. Get comfortable and expertise on terms and concepts such as test scenario, test case, test plan, requirement specifications, test data, etc.
#3) Software Testing Interview Questions on the Internet
I agree that no list on the internet gives you the assurance that you don’t need to read anything else. However, something from many lists floating in the internet space might just help you answer most of what you will be asked in an interview.
The reason is many experienced persons have documented their experience in the forms of questions and answers and many companies still go traditional way to evaluate testers.
Further reading => Software Testing Interview questions
Note: Before you form the opinion that I am listing some hacks to crack a job interview and not helping you become a perfect tester, please read on. To get practical experience on complex applications and practice, you need to get into the workplace first. Hence, these efforts.
#4) Practicing Constructive Communication, Reading About It
Yes, this is important. I understand that in the college days or just after that we like to say it all loud, we love to dominate, to crack jokes, to win arguments. The same habit, if not changed, may cause huge trouble once you become a software tester.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should not be aggressive. You have to be aggressive as a tester but while respecting others around you and their work. Our job is to highlight what has not happened as expected, but you cannot say, ‘hey Developer, you have failed to do this right. You made a mistake.’ No one likes to see or hear their work criticized. Testers have to be very structured and constructive while sharing views and feedback.
If you get into a company where email is the dominating communication channel, then it is even more crucial to watch your words carefully. It is hard to communicate tone via email and the wrong choice of words could offend someone.
For example, let’s say, you wanted to say “Please look into this.” But you missed the word ‘please’ and suddenly it sounded like “Look into this, you poor developer. This is my order.” Makes sense?
#5) Knowing the Qualities You Already Have
Knowing which qualities you already have to be a great software tester and which ones you will have to earn or manage without
I am a firm believer that you can’t augment something that is non-existent. To be a great tester or not is an innate quality, something that is within you; the majority of it at least. Curiosity, Attention to Detail, Imagination, Logical thinking, Ability to Focus, Discipline and Constructive Communication are some of those qualities.
#6) Testing Dummy Software and Getting Your Result/Approach Evaluated
I know not all of you would have contacts that can help you with finding and helping you evaluate your proficiency as a tester. But if you do this, it will help you more than anything else. It is like learning the great practical stuff even before getting a company ID card.
Look around; find a tester/mentor with a good testing background. Approach them and seek help. If you don’t know of anyone personally, reach out to the virtual community. Give it a try; you will be amazed at how many of them won’t mind helping you.
All you have to do is test an application, apply your knowledge, prepare your test and bug report and send it across to the mentor of your choice. The testing community needs to help each other so that we all grow together.
I myself will be more than happy to help few of you with the assessment if you find me the right guy to learn from. Worst case, if you fail to receive any help from established testers (which is very rare, believe me), you can always share with your friends and ask them for their feedback.
Also read => Beta Testing to gain experience
#7) Learning to Tell Yourself – What You Found Enough Is Not Enough
This is a philosophy that is best adopted early on.
There is a reason people say, zero defect products are impossible. The possibilities are endless and the time is limited. So whenever you think – you have thought all scenarios, have done enough testing, tell yourself that it is not the end. There has to be more.
Develop ‘never give up’ attitude. Develop tenacity. Give more, push yourself.
The possible routes that can pave your path to a testing job
The above 7 points will help with the required preparation before launching yourselves. Now let’s see what are the possible routes that can pave your path to a testing job.
#1) Prepare the Right Resume
I honestly don’t know the industry-accepted version of the right resume. I think it should be minimal and accurate.
List all you know so far and list it with your expertise level. If you know something at very basic level, say basic understanding of so and so skill. Never lie with those unnecessary ‘hands on’ tags.
If you are a fresher, try focusing on detailing your project experience. Anyways, if you have done the right preparation we have talked about, then you know what all things to include and what all things to present as highlights.
Look into the internet space, you should find a huge variety of templates to use. Personalize it, don’t just copy. Make it your version.
Here is a good guide on preparing a professional resume.
#2) LinkedIn Profile
Create a profile which reflects your personality, experience (if any) and skill set. Build your connections wisely. Follow your dream companies, their HR persons. If you are good at something, then do share it with others. Help other job seekers. Most importantly, stay active to make the most of your LinkedIn presence.
#3) Personal Networking
No one helps job seekers more than friends and connections in the testing world. Offer to go for a coffee meet with a recruiter to help them understand the roles you are seeking and the roles they have. Ask friends if they can forward your resume to their HR departments. Reach out to the virtual community to seek online recommendations. Stay in touch.
#4) Job Portals
Have your profile on popular and right job portals, do your own research. Don’t put your profile on every portal out there. There is no point in spreading it so much that you can’t even check all notification emails. Keep it limited.
Applying to just every job doesn’t make sense. It will only discourage you to see that you are applying in hundreds and receiving a response in a single figure or worst zero. If you find your profile is not suitable to a particular requirement, don’t apply. And yes, do keep an eye on any and all communications.
Referral is another way to get in, but again it is very much connected to networking so won’t stress much on this. The key is staying in touch with your contacts that are in the same field and most importantly, being in touch with your college seniors. They can help.
#6) WhatsApp groups
Well, this is a new thing. I see so many people posting on LinkedIn asking for contacts of other fellow job seekers to form a group where they can discuss things and share job postings. This is quick and new age way to communicate with the community.
At times it will get annoying, as people post irrelevant stuff there but it might just help you land your first job.
Share the right content with others, help them get better.
#7) Software Testing Courses
I have not done it myself so don’t know its effectiveness, but I know the people who got the job after doing a Software Testing Course.
To be honest, in my opinion, more than the training, an association of these institutes with IT companies helps more. Obviously, they try to prepare their students for corporate world but I recommend you to not simply rely on any training. Start preparing yourselves as well.
#8) Internal Job Postings
Last, if you are already at some job and want to get into Software Testing now, apply for internal job postings. Discuss with testers in your company. Ask them how things work for them and visualize you in the role. If you feel confident, don’t hesitate.
About the author: This awesome manual testing series was written for our readers by STH team member Mahesh C.
That’s it from my side in this Manual Testing series.
Do share your views/feedback with me. Wish you all the very best and Happy Testing :)