Top 8 Skills To Become The Best QA Analyst

Are you wondering what are the Top Skills for QA Analyst? This Tutorial Discusses the Top Skills and Mindset Required to Become the Best QA Analyst:

In my journey of being a QA Analyst, I have met so many students who ask the question like how to get into testing and how can I become the best at it. My answer is always “personality is everything- testing chooses its people”. You may be an Einstein, but this is not the Game of Thrones (brains) but of Avengers (personalities).

In all the wars that the Avengers have won what stood out for me was their personalities over smartness or their individual powers. So, in this article, I would like to take you through my formula for being the best QA Analyst using Avenger's personality description.

I believe most people around the world can relate to avengers, considering their popularity. So hence my choice, but I will not limit my comparison to their personalities only. I will also use some of their powers.

QA Analyst Career Guide

Top Skills For QA Analyst

#1) The Leadership Of The Captain

Leadership of the Captain

Skills set:

  • Leadership
  • Decision making
  • Ownership/Responsibility
  • Authority

Let kick things off with a man of honor, great strength, protective nature, and great leadership, Captain America. He breathes, speaks, and walks leadership. In one of the scenes of Avengers End Game when they were about to travel to the past, he made a speech that got us floating off our seats with butterflies in the stomach.

Anyone could have spoken those words, but because it was Cap, you could feel it in your toes. That's what I call great leadership, it calls for one to have a great technique to wilder his words with firm authority. A QA Analyst with such a character is destined to grow very fast in his career. Gone are the days where Project Managers were running projects, these days QA is responsible for most decisions such as a go-live, or no go live.

This is where great leadership comes into play. One needs to be very firm with his decisions as well. Captain America also shows great ownership/responsibility on his work and in most cases “plays by the rules”. One of the skills that make a QA personnel excel, is the discipline in the documentation of their work, which speaks to ownership of one's work.

There are rules and standards to be maintained when doing documentation like test plans, test cases, test reports & logging bugs. Testing is a very structured discipline. I have seen smart people falling off the QA wagon due to its nature of choosing its own people based on personality over brains. So, if structured work evokes your inner superpowers, then welcome home Cap.


#2) Outside The Box Of Iron-Man vs Hulk Smash

Outside the box of the Iron-Man vs Hulk Smash

Skills set:

  • Creativity
  • Exploration
  • Working smart

Even though testing is structured it doesn't limit creativity. We have all seen how Tony Stark (Iron-Man) has been innovative with his iron suits from the first movie to the last avenger's movie. He always thinks outside the box. He is the solutions man. For this episode, I need you to imagine yourself as Iron Man (maybe not the filthy rich part of him), just the creative side.

Iron man can program almost anything, build the most complex robot & make it as fancy as he pleases. One thing he can't program into a robot is unlimited creativity. Thus, creativity should be hemoglobins in a tester's body. Testing techniques can be applied but without creativity their effectiveness is limited. For excellence in your test coverage your thinking should be “what if I try this”.

That's how you bring your inner Hulk Smash as much as you can. A developer's mindset says “code, pack and get it to work” whilst yours as a tester should say, “smash! Let me break it as much as I can”. The point is to ensure that you try out all scenarios you can think of, shoe yourself as an end-user of the product being tested (you might as well wear the suit, go all out, live no stone unturned).

The best way to apply the “smash” mindset is by using effective ways to enlarge test coverage. I personally recommend that when writing test cases; break each requirement down to as many test cases as possible. Do not just do positive testing all the time, try out more negative testing, incorporate some exploratory testing in the mix (but this is more effective if you are experienced with the software in question).

The new hulk that we see in the latest Avengers movie (Endgame) is a combo, with a balance between the Smart (creative) and the Savage (Smash) Hulk. We can adopt this character in the testing world, where the savage mindset says we have to smash but the smart mindset speaks to “the point is not to sweat” meaning we don't have to go smashing everywhere.

Extra testing (especially exploratory) should focus on areas known to be flooded with bugs. Now, that's how you leave no stone unturned.


#3) Hawkeye's Precision

Hawkeye’s precision

Skills set:

  • Attention to details
  • Agility
  • Technical-Automation

Hawkeye redefines precision, he is all about quick, aim, and shoot to kill no miss. As a tester, precision is very important. If there was a superpower that all superheroes must-have, then that superpower would be being detail orientated for testers. I mean without great attention to details how can a tester pick up faults?

Hawkeyes also has great agility which affords him compatibility in a fast battlefield where he has to fight opponents that are using bullets. So, a combination of agility and great focus proves to provide one with an opportunity to nail (without Thor's hammer) more in limited time.

This combination works great at your advantage in a fast pace environment, driven by deadlines. Your detail orientation skills ensure that you pick up as many bugs as possible, agility helps you in meeting deadlines. But remember I did mention QA is not only about testing but documentation as well which needs a lot of precision.

Hawkeye is also known to be a very technical guy who spends his time perfecting his art during his free time. In some cases, as a QA analyst, you may be required to write or execute automation scripts. That's when you wear your technical boots and technical skills need to be constantly approved. As a QA Analyst, you should also keep yourself in the loop of the latest testing tools.

Some instances may also require you to perform back end testing. So, prepare your mind to dive into the dungeon technical testing.


#4) Dr. Strange And Future Shortcomings

DR Strange & Future Shortcomings

Skills set:

  • Risk identification
  • Decision making

Being a Dr. Strange in the QA world is a tricky endeavor. Dr. Strange is known to be a spectacular Supreme Sorcerer with the ability to see multiple futures in an instance. I am not saying you should now go learn to be a sorcerer to pull this off. This is possible through experience in testing.

A good tester applies his experience in determining shortcomings in the live environment. In simple terms, this means through experience a tester should anticipate areas that are likely to have bugs hence focus his testing in such areas. But what about cases where you are testing software for the first time? Remember you are now in the shoes of a magician.

Every good magician should always have a few more tricks up his sleeve. Your trick is to apply a mindset of an end-user in your testing to determine future shortcomings when the application goes live. The ability to test for possible shortcomings on the live system also includes the prediction of risks.

Imagine, Dr. Strange had such valuable powers to predict the future but did nothing about it. That's like ordering a juicy steak at a fancy restaurant but you have no teeth. So, to reward your hard work in making these risk predictions, the application of mitigation strategies is a must. One way of doing this is automating test cases for high risks areas.

Prioritizing and selecting the right test cases to be automated is a skill on its own and requires a strong personality as it involves a lot of decisions making.


#5) Black Panther In The Shoes Of His People

Black Panther in The shoes of his people

Skills set:

  • Comprehension
  • Requirements collection
  • Think like an end-user
  • Inquisitiveness

Now let's dive into thinking like Black Panther when approaching needs (requirements) of his people (end users). Black Panther displays a character of being a noble great leader who puts the needs of his people first. Part of being a high achieving tester, one needs to have skills to understand requirements and be able to translate them into test cases.

Testing does not only start when one has to test the actual software. According to ISTQB Foundation fundamentals, testing early is the cheapest approach. What that means is that testing should start at the requirements collection stage of the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) in order to reduce the costs of system development.

Even though the requirements collection is not on our job description. I've had so many cases where I will walk with a developer to speak to a business user to discuss requirements. On our return, the developer will be partially clued on what the product owner requires. It then became my responsibility to help them understand the requirements.

Please note this was due to the absence of a Business Analyst in our organization at the time. But generally, as a QA Analyst, you should be equipped with comprehension skills of requirements so as the ability to effectively translate them.

Black Panther is also protective of their Vibranium, we have seen him go out of his way to ensure that he brings what belongs to Wakanda back home in one peace. So testing is not about doing positive and negative testing to meet requirements. But one needs to be capable of going out of his way to ensure quality is kept at the highest standard.

A good QA Analyst also challenges requirements for better quality. Going out of your way to ensure good quality also means testing areas out of scope applying an inquisitive approach with logic.


#6) Give It Your All As Thor

Give it all as THOR

Skills set:

  • Decisive
  • Confidence
  • Professionalism

A logical mindset is a big win in QA but with a combo of a strong personality, that's a home run, like Thor and his hammer. Thor has a strong personality, although his ergo overshadows his judgment sometimes, he has a strong sense of not giving up. After his home planet was destroyed & he lost his hammer, he exhausted all possible options to find a way to kill Thanos.

That's the mentality you need as a tester (definitely not to find a bigger hammer as Thor did ?), but an approach of finding as many as possible angles to test a particular item. This also extends to being strong in cases where developers will reject bugs you logged without solid reasons. You should question with proof, but this doesn't mean you have to be stubborn.

But if you are not satisfied with the reasons provided for a bug rejection. You should question the rejection until you are satisfied. Remember decisions on whether an item can be pushed to a live system or not lies with QA's confidence in that feature.

So, if you as a QA personnel are not confident with a feature due to bugs logged being rejected, but yet you let that feature go on the live system, that questions your professionalism and your certification as a QA Analyst. Even though Thor went all out to find an alternative solution to Thanos massacre, he got to a point of defeat & he was compelled to accept.

Just like in testing, one can try all possible scenarios they can think of to ensure great test coverage. But no matter how hungry a tester can be for 100% bug-free software; one needs to be prepared to be dished out with limitations of testing.

According to the ISTQB 2nd Principle, Exhaustive Testing Is Not Practically Possible. So, this means you need to have a mindset that also accepts testing limitations.


#7) Being A Spider-Man

Being a Spider Man

Skills set:

  • Intuition
  • Integration

Being Spiderman in testing merely refers to the ability of webbing thoughts that connects the dots, that comes in handy in approaching integration testing. There are different levels of testing and integration testing is one level that can be very tricky, depending on the complexity of the systems being integrated and how they interface. To win the battle of effective Integration testing, you need the “webby” superpower.

We also know that Spiderman has a very strong intuitive personality. A combination of experience and strong intuition can help a tester pick up the least expected bugs during exploratory testing. Recently I was testing a report feature & a random “voice” in my head said, I should start by looking at another unrelated feature, and guess what? on my first interaction with that screen, I picked up a bug on a not so frequently used function of the system.


#8) Black Widow's Focus

Black Widow’s focus

Skills set:

  • Focus
  • Tactical

Black Widow's wining ability is her focus approach in matters. She achieves this using a divide and conquer technique. She is fully aware she is not a god of thunder that can strike a flood of man in one blow, nor does she have a fancy armor that can shoot 100 missiles to achieve the same. But her divide and conquer always puts her above her rivals on the battlefield.

In testing, the focus is very important in approaching complex features. It's generally advisable not to bite what you can't chew. Focused testing wears this advice perfectly.

Conclusion

I have always believed that your career should be an extension of your personality. So, if you align your personality with the matching career you have won a huge battle. As I have explained. test analysis is one career that requires the “right” personality & mindset.

I have seen intellects leave QA not because it's hard, but because their personality was on a different path from QA's. So my word of advice to you is if you are thinking of going into QA, first assess your personality for fitness, or if you already are in QA and you need to accelerate in your career, your personality check will steer you on the right path.

I Hope, this tutorial guides to identify your personality as a QA Analyst!!

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