16 Characteristics of a Great Software Tester

What Makes a Good Software Tester to a Great Software Tester?

Testers are the backbone of any IT company. As they are the ones who can give the quality outcome and they are most responsible for releasing a project too. This article explains the most important characteristic features that a great Software Tester must possess.

Be Proud to be a tester. You are the person who reduces the work in many fields, you are the ones who often release the projects without any defects, and you are the person whom people and the company believe more. Finally, you are the person who ensures the peace of mind for the end users. Without you, it’s almost difficult to complete the project successfully.

As a tester, you should continuously strive hard to become better and better.

What You Will Learn:

16 Characteristics of a Great Software Tester

To be a great software tester, you need to develop the following 16 characteristics within you:

#1) Be Skeptical

Don’t believe that the build given by the developers is a bug-free or quality outcome. Question everything. Accept the build only if you test and find it defect free. Don’t believe anyone whatever is the designation they hold, just apply your knowledge and try to find the errors. You need to follow this till the last phase of the testing cycle.

#2) Don’t Compromise on Quality

Don’t compromise after certain testing stages. There is no limit for testing until you produce a quality product. Quality is the word made by software testers to achieve more effective testing. Compromising at any level leads to a defective product, so don’t do that at any point.

#3) Ensure End User Satisfaction

Always think what can make an end user happy. How they can use the product with ease. Don’t stop by testing the standard requirements alone. The end user can be happy only when you provide an error-free product.

#4) Think from the Users Perspective

Every product is developed for the customers. Customers may or may not be technical persons. If you don’t consider the scenarios from their perspective you will miss many important bugs. So put yourself in their shoes. Know your end users first. Their age, education even the location can matter most while using the product.

Make sure to prepare your test scenarios and test the data accordingly. After all, the project is said to be successful only if the end user is able to use the application successfully.

#5) Prioritize Tests

First, identify the important tests and then prioritize the execution based on test importance. Never ever execute test cases sequentially without deciding the priority. This will ensure that all your important test cases get executed early and you won’t cut down on these at the last stage of release cycle due to time pressure.

Also, consider the defect history while estimating test efforts. In most cases, defect count at the beginning is more and goes on reducing at the end of the test cycle.

#6) Never Promise 100% Coverage

Saying 100% coverage on paper is easy but practically it is impossible. So never promise to anyone including your clients about total test coverage. In business there is a philosophy – Under promise and over deliver.” So don’t goal for 100% coverage but focus on the quality of your tests.

#7) Be Open to Suggestions

Listen to everyone even though you are an authority on the project having in-depth project knowledge. There is always scope for improvements and getting suggestions from the fellow software testers is a good idea. Everyone’s feedback to improve the quality of the project would certainly help you to release a bug-free software.

#8) Start Early

Don’t wait until you get your first build for testing. Start analyzing the requirements, preparing test cases, test plan and test strategy documents in the early design phase. Starting early to test helps to visualize the complete project scope and hence planning can be done accordingly.

Most of the defects can be detected in early design and analysis phase saving huge time and money. Early requirement analysis will also help you to question the design decisions.

#9) Identify and Manage Risks

Risks are associated with every project. Risk management is a three-step process. Risk identification, analysis, and mitigation. Incorporate risk driven testing process. Priorities of software testing are based on risk evaluation.

#10) Do Market Research

Don’t think that your responsibility is just to validate software against the set of requirements. Be proactive, do your product market research and provide suggestions to improve it. This research will also help you to understand your product and its market.

#11) Develop Good Analyzing Skill

This is a must for requirement analysis but even further this could be helpful for understanding customer feedback while defining test strategy. Question everything around you. This will trigger the analysis process and it will help you to resolve many complex problems.

#12) Focus on Negative Side as Well

Testers should have the test to break attitude. Concentrating only on the positive side will almost certainly create many security issues in your application. You should be the hacker of your project to keep other hackers away from it. Negative testing is equally important. So cover a good chunk of your test cases based on the negative scenarios.

#13) Be a Good Judge of Your Product

A Judge usually thinks if something is right or wrong. A judge will listen to both the sides. Same is applicable for testing as well. As a software tester if you think something as right, try to prove it why it is not wrong and later accept it. You must have a valid reason for all your decisions.

#14) Learn to Negotiate

Testers must negotiate with everyone in all the stages of a project lifecycle. Especially negotiation with the developers is more important. Developers can do anything to prove that their code is correct and the defect logged by the testers is not valid. It requires great skills to convince the developers about the defect and get it resolved.

Though some software testers think that this is not our task, explaining the true impact of any issue is very helpful for the developers to quickly understand the overall scenario and its implications. This requires years of practice but once you learn to negotiate you will gain more respect.

#15) Stop the Blame Game

It’s common to blame others for any defects which are not caught in testing. This is even more common when the tester’s responsibilities are not defined concretely. But in any situation never blame anyone. If an error occurs, first try to resolve it rather than finding someone to blame.

As a human everybody makes mistake, so try to avoid blaming others. Work as a team to build team spirit.

#16) Finally, Be a Good Observer

Observe things happening around you. Keep a track of all the major and minor things on your project. Observe the way of developing the code, types of testing and its objective. Observe and understand the test progress and make necessary changes if it is off the track in terms of schedule or testing activities.

This skill will essentially help you to keep yourself updated and get ready for the course of action for any situation.


Try to implement the above 16 steps in your day-to-day testing activities. Practicing these steps will make you excel in the testing field. Remember testing is not only a challenging job but it is a creative job too.

Love your job and you will become the leader in your field!

About the Author: This is a guest post by Santhosh Kumar Ponnusamy. He has completed his post graduation in M.Sc (Software Engineering) and currently working as a Test Engineer with Coimbatore based CMMi Level 5 Nous Infosystems. If you want to post your article here check out our guest posting guidelines on this page.

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