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How to Become a Software Tester?

Three years of being a Software Tester and let me tell you; it feels awesome! It’s something I always wanted to be, and I am enjoying every bit of time that I spend here. When I completed my B.Tech in Computers, I always knew that it must be testing. There were apprehensions hitting my mind every day. I used to worry about how the future looks like will and that it should not end in a dead-end.

However, I was never so sure till one day I sat down to work out all the details of the career path to arrive at a decision that would have stayed with me for the rest of my life. Now, it feels good to be one of the most important people at work. Every day is new learning. So much done, but at times it still feels like there is still an ocean of knowledge that is waiting and needs to be addressed. I know, nothing going forward will come easy. I will have to showcase my ability and also gather new skills to meet the eligibility criteria. But the only thing remains certain now is that this will be it and there will be no looking back.

I had taken many right and wrong turns along the path as there was not much information that I could bank on. Little things made a huge difference — little questions that remained unanswered, and little worries that kept making rounds. So, I thought of writing all those here, so you do not have to go through the same pain.

If you are looking at a career as a Software Tester, the first thing you must be sure of is that what is software testing?

Software Testing Definition

Software Testing is a process of verification of a computer program or a system to ensure that it is working as per the specifications and gives the desired results. Basically, you have to identify bugs in the software project. It is essential to know about it to ensure the quality of the product.

This has become an increasingly important role due to the growing influx of technologies and the growth of the webspace. So many applications and websites are hitting the scene to ensure their viability and scope in terms of quality testing have become essential. The main point I feel after all the experience I have gathered is to be able to meet the customer expectations. The end-product must be in sync with the blueprint presented to you and should be giving you the same results.  Imagine the extent of growth that has been predicted by different research firms across the world, and you will be mesmerized by the scope of the role.

Of course, there is a certain level of skills that are required to be successful and adept at this profile.

Let me now walk you through the education and technical skills that you will need.

Required Education and Skills

I had decided early on what career path I have to walk on in the future, and I grew accordingly. I gathered the necessary skills and education. After my B.Tech, I took up the training and certification needed for being the Software Tester.

Required Education and Skills

Read: What Is Software Testing Methodologies?

For those of you for whom the realization did not come so early on in life, let me mention that you may get a degree in computers. B.Tech, B.Sc. in Computers, IT, etc. almost anything will do as there are no boundaries.

However, certain skills are essential, along with the certifications required for the job. The skills must be in the technical and non-technical fields both.

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Technical Skills

The software tester is a streamlined and technical profile that demands that you have proper technical knowledge about all the related processes and products as well. Here is a list of technical skills that will be required by you:

Technical Skills software tester

1). Elementary Knowledge of SQL: Softwares often store a great amount of data in the background that is often stored in different databases that function in the backend. There have to be situations when the data has to be ratified. In many such cases, it will become important that different SQL queries are used for checking if the data is stored in other backend databases.

2). Basic Linux Knowledge: Many software like Oracle, MySQL operate on Linux-based machines. Many application servers are based on Linux machines. It becomes essential for testers to know the Linux commands.

3). Test Management Tools: One of the vital aspects of software testing. Software testing cannot be successful in the absence of proper techniques for test management. It is said that test management is nothing more than managing the facts that are linked with testing. Many tools are needed for Test Management, and hence it becomes essential to have a proper knowledge of these tools as they are commonly employed in many companies.

4). Experience with Defect-Tracking Tool: Some of the most important aspects of all kinds of software testing are the defect-tracking and defect life cycle. It becomes essential to properly manage the defects and ensure their tracking in a sophisticated manner. It is critical to track the defects as they should be known to the whole team viz. the developers, the coders, the managers, and even the testers.

5). Experience with Automation Tool: Remember, you will not know which path you will choose after a few years into the line, and knowledge of the automation tool will open one more avenue of growth. It is not enough to have mere knowledge of automation tools, but you will also need to get proper hands-on experience on it. To crack any interview mere knowledge of the tool is not enough, but you will need to have in-depth information about the scripting languages like VBScript, JavaScript, C#, etc. as they prove highly helpful in fetching you a good automation job. Many companies also use Shell/Perl scripting. The testers who have this knowledge are highly paid and sought after. This is not a mandate but an added advantage.

Read: Sanity Testing Tutorial Guide for Beginner

Remember that it is not necessary that you have proper knowledge of all these tools as many of these are dependent on the requirements of the company you are applying to. Performance testing has a great scope as all the apps that are launched have to be tested for performance.

Before I take you through the career path of the software tester, it is also important that you also know the non-technical requirements of the same. Some of these are in fact, handy and useful in almost all software jobs. Let us see them in detail.

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Non-Technical Skills

Most of the skills are said to be natural to a person. In my case, however, I had to struggle with a few of them, especially the communications as I had been an introvert person all through, and learning a skill that did not come naturally to me was hard. I took it as a challenge, and now I am after this long, pulling along really well with my team. Things at a time do not seem to be easy but remember that is exactly when you have to muster up the courage and stay put on your task.

Technical Skills software tester

A). Analytical Ability: This one is essential for every software tester. We can also state that no software tester job is possible if you do not have this skill in you. I will not say that it only comes naturally, but yes it can be developed with practice. The analytical skills will help you to gain more clarity of the complex systems by breaking them down into smaller ones. This one, if you think you lack on is better gained in everyday life by trying to look into things more deeply and not arriving at conclusions without weighing all the options.

B). Effective Communications: Like mentioned above, as a software tester you really need to have great communication skills. If at all you are wondering how does communication play a role in a typical software job like testing, then read on. You, as a tester will be working on different apps to understand the customer requirements. Now, if you are not able to understand the requirements well in the first place, then it is simply not possible for you to give the right results. Also, you have to communicate the issues to your core team so that they can understand the problem and address it accordingly. Communication in this field is very important and cannot be ignored. So, if you have this flair naturally then it's fine, else try to brush up your skills slowly in daily life.

C). Time Management Skills: Time is money, and there is no job in this world where you can be successful without managing time. So, effective time management is important in this job. Software testing is highly demanding at times, as you need to have a lot of patience during the release of code. You cannot afford to take more time as your performance will depend a lot on your productivity. Time management usually follows organizational skills. How you can organize your work, plan ahead and then put it to practice will define your overall performance and value to the company. It comes with time and a lot of determination and practice.

D). Attitude: It is said your attitude is everything in life. Great men who succeeded had a great attitude towards their work. They were proactive. I have seen a lot of my seniors who do not take life and opportunity as it comes but foresee a lot of things and plan ahead. They work ahead of their schedules. It not only helps them to remain calm but increases focus and efficiency as they are able to work with a free mind. What works in this line is the attitude for a detailed orientation, test to the core, an inherent curiosity to know more, and also upskill. Also, you should be a decision-maker. It reflects you are independent in your approach and can carry on the load with ease. I have observed that the people who take accountability, are always at the forefront to address the issues that are the ones that scale up the success ladder mighty fast.

E). Passion: Lastly, nothing great was achieved without passion. It is the basis for innovation and ground-breaking discoveries. In software testing, your passion for your work and the desire to get the results to take you way ahead of your colleagues who merely enter the line for making money. Money cannot buy passion but vice-versa is possible. Your passion will be reflected in your work. If you are thinking about how to measure passion? Then the answer is fairly simple, read some texts about testing or if possible try your hands on something like testing in a dummy set up. If the problem is able to generate interest, you will definitely bring it back and keep thinking about it unless you reach a conclusion. That is passion. It is like a movie, suppose you have been intensely watching a movie, and suddenly the climax is cropped off due to some technical snag. Your brain will constantly keep going back to it unless you know everything. That shows interest.

Read: What Is The Learning Path Of A Penetration Tester?

This was a comprehensive overview of the required skills for the job. Now I purposely took you through them before spelling the career path so you know what to expect from the roles and how far you need to upskill yourself.

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Let me now tell you about the Career Path of the Software Tester

Career Path-Software Tester

The career path is simple and clear. I’m on the second step, and I feel there is a long way to go and a lot of things to be done. Years alone will not take me forward unless I show commitment and prove it to the world that I deserve it. Here is how your career as a tester will look:

Career Path-Software Tester

  • QA Analyst: The first or the entry step to the career where there is no requirement for any work experience. It doesn’t come easy, but yes once it does, there is no looking back.
  • QA Analyst: This is where I am today. A place where I can reflect on what I have done and also look up the ladder to see where I want to see myself in the future. Here is usually a work experience for approximately 2-3 years as a QA Analyst is required.
  • QA Team Coordinator: This comes next in the hierarchy and comes only after one gets an experience of 5-6 years. Now you will be heading a team and hence will have to exhibit great communication skills.
  • Test Manager: A highly important position and usually one needs an experience of 8-11 years to reach this peak. This is like scaling the second highest mountain peak in the world, and from there on you look at the highest one.
  • Test Manager: Needless to say, this tops the hierarchy and is the point that every dedicated software tester wants to attain. Being the highest position in the path, an experience of more than 14 years is required for this. Not many people prefer to go this long this way, but if they do, trust me you will thank yourself for making that decision.

Ultimately, now that you know how the career path will look like, I know what is making circles in your head. Yes! of course, the salary. It is nothing to be ashamed of as all of us are wired in this manner where we put the money in front.

Software Tester Salary Range

Every company has a different requirement and salary package. You will discover this after you have finished your certification and are rolling out your resumes to different firms. However, if seen otherwise, you can say that the salary will vary from $45,993-$74,955. This definitely does not involve the other incentives or perks but the basic amount. 

Summary

I have had my share of troubles, and the idea of writing this blog was to ensure you do have all the requisite information on one page. This helps in making effective decisions. It is a great career, and there is definitely a great scope going forward as we see that the internet is growing with every passing day. Also, make sure you have acquired the right skills while constantly improving yourself. I am sure you will work hard and will have a great future ahead. Please share your experience and also feel free to ask any questions.

Read: List of Top 12 Software Performance Testing Tools to Help You The Most!

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