A life they say is what happens when you are planning something else. Do you think I had the slightest clue to become a software tester when I took up my MBA in Finance and landed in a banking job? It works like that always. You begin with something with your heart and soul in it and then suddenly you realize that it was not what you actually wanted to do in life. Luckily for me, this realization came early as it was not even six months in the job when dealing with people for someone like me for just not clicking well. I always had a knack for software development but felt it was only an interest which cannot be pursued to be a profession.
In the bank, as destiny had designed it, I was a part of the web team of the collection department — a typical banking role with not a pinch of IT in it. With time, I was often mired in technical issues related to the software and was often disappointed by the software and state of affairs of the banking systems. Soon enough I was over with the job mentally. I realized that what touched me in all this mess was not the work pressure but the fact that had there been no technical issues, the world around me would be a happier place.
I started to explore more profiles related to software and found my interests and curiosity shoot like mercury on a hot day. As my interests grew, so did the realization of the fact that all my education will go waste and would often lead me to a disappointment that I had not taken up any formal degree in computers. Of course it seemed too late to make a move. But, things started brightening when I reflected on it more deeply. I soon was able to chart my career course, and there was no looking back. I started taking up odd weekend assisting jobs in IT alongside professionals, started browsing through online forums and got myself grounded in the area. In this span, I found testing was the thing which interested me the most.
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Yes, it was big and well repelled by many around me. Not many takers of my dreams and wishes and even fewer who would understand my potential. It was me with myself. It was in that hustle that I set up to explore the world of software testing and the options which were available to me. The first thing that attracted me was the career path of a software tester. Here is what I found.
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A software tester is the one who ensures the quality of any given software by performing various tests and checks. Also, many bugs and errors are addressed as and when they show up. More often, these are employed as independent contractors in firms and businesses. Many times they are also placed independently on a permanent basis where they work in teams. They are also responsible for recording the location and characteristics of all kinds of errors and giving a suitable presentation to their teams.
Looking at it broadly, the basic roles of the software tester involves:
The role of a tester has also evolved with the level of technologies and the growth in a number of businesses on the internet. Every software whether an app, a website or other development software, etc. has to be thoroughly tested before they hit the market. It was the basic underlying fact which kept fuelling my zeal. After all the research and talk apart from the rhetoric, I knew that software testers have a way to go and they are the ones that will determine the quality of the future for many.
As I found out about the role of the tester in an organization, I also wanted to explore the career path to growth. Well, it all depends on the skill-set you have.
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As a software tester, the first skills required for a person with no technical background were the technical ones. Definitely, it was an uphill task, but as they say, difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations, mine also was a similar case. Let me brief you about the skills which were required:
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Having this set of technical skills will boost your confidence and make you more grounded in the field. Now you will be in a position to move ahead in the galleries where testing is done. I too did it but soon realized that this was not it. Software testing is no longer a closed-door profile, and you have to be in constant touch with other teams and even the clients to understand and acknowledge their pain points. Hence I realized the need and urgency for non-technical skills that were a must.
Here are a few of them that you need to have to make your way forward much easier:
Analytical Skills: There is nothing a software tester can do if he or she isn’t able to analyze and troubleshoot the issue at hand. Sharp analytical skills are usually gifted but definitely can be acquired through practice. For someone like me from a finance background, it came easy, but else practice is the answer.
Communication Skills: Now again, once you know where the problem lies and what the solution is, you cannot keep the information to yourself as there are people who have expertise in different fields who will be better equipped to handle such tasks. To become a good tester, you will be required to have excellent communication skills both written and verbal. This is because there are many times when you have to write conditions, test cases and also strategies and all kinds of reports in easily readable language for everyone to find meaning. This is not possible if you think you can only write some jargon without supporting language. Hence, this skill carries a lot of weight.
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Organizational Ability: Organization and systematic flow of thought and a coherent approach to the problem make things easier and faster. Your productivity often goes up when you know what you have to deliver and when. This also makes teamwork more effective.
Passion: There has to be a passion in the way things are handled in all the jobs. I was in a bank after a proper and full-fledged degree yet could not contribute to the role as the passion was missing. I was not doing justice to myself and the organization I was serving. Remember, your passion and interest cannot be hidden. They show up in your performance in many different ways. So unless you have passion towards this role of testing, do not pick it.
Attitude: Yes, again like passion, your attitude towards your work, your goals and everyday tasks will determine a lot about your output. Think, you will be constantly made to test various systems in several ways to ensure they are working well. Your attitude will also be reflected in how far are you interested in upskilling yourself and making yourself available. As a software tester, I have personally taken ownership for many of my assigned tasks without any sort of external push. This go-ahead attitude and the proactive approach is always appreciated and you do get the much-needed attention to make it to the next big role.
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Once you have mastered these skills, now you can have a quick glance at what your career path will look like.
The Career Path unfolds as you go up the hierarchy in terms of time. You begin as a QA Analyst and then move on to adorn the role of a Senior QA Analyst. While the former is a fresher profile, the latter requires you to have an experience of around 2-3 years. Further, once you serve as a Senior QA Analyst, you can take up the role of a QA Team Coordinator. As the name suggests you will be required to have great communication and organizational skills which are unmatched.
The next level-up comes after 8-10 years. This then definitely takes a huge leap forward and you adorn the title of a Test Manager. A great mind to work with who has great experience and expertise to handle almost any kind of situation with ease. Finally, you reach the top where the view becomes most beautiful as the journey has been tough, and you have learned so much. After a tenure of 14 years, you become eligible for this role. This is the dream role that every software tester aims to achieve. So many other factors also go into it, which will determine your progress and eligibility.
We all sail in the same boat and yes no matter how modest we play, we all are concerned about the numbers by which our banks will grow every month. Yes, salary is often seen as the most important consideration of why people make bold career moves and switches. I did for passion, yes because there was no substance for me in finance, and I would have never grown. But I will not deny the fact that IT was alluring because of the salaries that are associated with these profiles. Every profession demands hard work but if the same number of hours in a day, fetch you more greens, who will mind. As a Software Tester in the basic role, you begin at a figure of $45,993, and as you move up you will bring home a sum of around $98, 567. Yes, it is a highly attractive bet but comes after a great effort and input.
Now, is that it? Is it all you have in store for you? Fortunately, you will be eligible for many roles as you progress in life. As a software tester, there are many other career paths that open for you if in case you do not feel interested in the above line.
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These definitely will interest you if the first ones failed to create magic as they are high in and futuristic.
Automation Testing: The main role revolves around making the manual execution of test care completely automated. This is definitely a highly lengthy process. Tools like Silk Performer, Rational Robot by IBM are available.
Business Analyst: Yes, you can definitely aspire to be a business analyst. Apart from the skills which you learn for your testing job that are an obvious advantage you also get the right mental acumen which is the most important requirement for becoming a business analyst. As a Business Analyst, you will be majorly involved in continuous analysis and assessment of the workflow in addition to working out the general business strategy. You already have the much needed technical knowledge, which helps in assessing the causes which lead to drags on resources and procedural delays. So, you become a great fit for the profile.
Performance Testing: Testing of performance of various business processes and applications comprises the main workload of this profile. You often use tools like WEBLoad, Loadrunner, etc. for the testing.
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All this information has come from my own bag of experiences, and I can state that I have lived most of these, now being at a senior level as a tester. There is a long way to go, and definitely, I want to stick to my guns till the end. I always wanted to be where I am today, and I had to go through a lot of mental and also social struggles to reach here.
Yes, you might meet failures all along, not to forget acquaintances who are just placed in your life to pull you down, but it is your grit and hunger which will push you through. Also, I want to mention the need for a blueprint or a game plan. If you are starting fresh, then you should be getting all the right degrees, and if you are making a mid-career transition, then certifications are a must. If you’re planning to become one of the best software testing talents then join JanBask Training Online Courses & Certification where you will learn the in-demand QA Software Testing Certification Program to advance your career in software testing and quality assurance.
This has been my bucket of experiences that I thought will be helpful for anyone walking my path. I’m sure yours will be different but interesting in its own way. Do share how you plan to work around your career and how far was this information helpful in making your choice.
With fact-finding market research & solicitous words, Nandita helps our digital learners globally navigate their way to profound career possibilities in IT and Management.
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