The Job of Software Testing – Quality Assurance Career

software testers breaking code
software testers breaking code

I am receiving a number of questions on software testing or quality assurance careers.

Some of the frequently asked questions about these careers are: “should I become a software tester“, “is software testing better or worse than business analysis“, “should I transition to or from a software testing career“.

So, I would begin to answer these questions by first providing some context or background to my readers on the quality assurance / software testing career path.

Who Does A Software Tester / Quality Assurance Professional Do?

  1. Software Testers create and execute plans, policies or procedures that assures product managers, stakeholders or software development managers that their software is reasonably free of defect or bugs.

  2. Software Testers help with verifying that software / web features work as intended or specified for business users, power users and management teams.

  3. Software Testers help developers ensure that their software code integrates and functions well. They help ensure that each developers code in a team works properly after it’s integrated with the other developers code in the team.

Software Testers are Quality Assurance professionals.They ensure that software projects meet pre-defined or acceptable quality standards or business requirements.

What Is The Life Of A Software Tester / Quality Assurance Analyst Like?

  1. Writing Test Cases

    Software Testers have to write test plans, test cases, quality assurance policies, documents and procedures (if their role involves quality assurance) based on meetings with developers, business analysts and product managers or business users.

  2. Setting Up QA / Testing Enviroments / Tools

    Software Testers have to prepare or setup a separate testing environment also known as the Quality Assurance (QA) environment.

    Because QA environments are close copies of production environments, some QA specialists have to refresh their databases, application configurations, software or hardware with production settings.

    This is important because if the QA environment differs from the production environment, then the results or efforts of the QA Analyst may end up being worthless.

  3. Reporting Bugs / Defects

    Software Testers discover and document bugs with tools like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Web / Software Bug Tracking Software.

    Before this, testers first have to setup and execute their tests using automated tools / test scripts (when available) or manual testing and recording procedures.

Who Are The Customers Of Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Testers

Perhaps you noticed that the quality assurance / software tester works with different types of IT professionals.

They are often involved in all facets of the software development process … including the requirements, testing and change management phase.

Here are some of the internal customers that the software quality assurance professional works with to get their job done.

  • Business Analysts

    It is a common misconception that software testers are involved in the software development process, only after coding is completed.

    That is not true because software testers also work closely with business analysts at the requirements and analysis phase.

    Testers can actually prepare test plans and test cases before a single line of code is written, if they are given adequate support and access to the requirements gathering process.

  • Software Developers

    Another mistake made in development teams is to assume that quality assurance is the job of the software tester alone!

    Nothing can be further from the truth because quality is actually everyone’s job.

    That is the idea behind test-driven development where developers are required to place as much emphasis on writing testable and defect free code as they place on writing the actual code.

    With or without test-driven development process, software testers still work closely with developers to ensure a higher quality product in each iteration, build or software release.

  • Business Users

    Software Testers also help with verifying that a product is usable and acceptable to the end user or customer.

    Quality Assurance Analysts work with stakeholders, users or customers to ensure that software deliverables work or function as intended from the end user’s point of view.

What Are The Requirements For Becoming A Software Tester / Quality Assurance Analyst?

  1. Background In Programming Langauges

    A good understanding, familiarity or exposure to some scripting or programming language.

    You don’t have to be an experienced developer before you can become a software tester, but having a good understanding or even the ability to write simple lines of code in a programming language like C#, C/C++ or Java or a scripting language like JavaScript or Vbscript helps.

    In some jobs, the software tester has to read the code written by the development team, understand it and then find a way to break it … which will be impossible without any knowledge of the language!

  2. Good Understanding of Use Cases / User Stories

    A good understanding of how to create test cases from Use Cases, User Stories or any other Requirements Document helps.

    You don’t have to be a business analyst before you can become a software tester, but you need to be able to work within the context of a software development process and be able to derive test cases given the project’s requirements

  3. Good Understanding of Use Cases / User Stories

    A good understanding of how to create test cases from Use Cases, User Stories or any other Requirements Document helps.

    You don’t have to be a business analyst before you can become a software tester, but you need to be able to work within the context of a software development process and be able to derive test cases given the project’s requirements

  4. Quick Learning Skills

    A good software tester is comfortable working with new software programs and figuring out how they work without extensive documentation or even developer help.

    This is a job, where you would be asked to learn quickly, how a software operates without any user manuals.

Now, you have given you an introduction or insight into the world of software testing and quality assurance. I would like toadd that software testing is not always the same thing as quality assurance even though a software tester is a quality assurance professional … does this sound confusing enough?

17 Responses to "The Job of Software Testing – Quality Assurance Career"

  1. Casino   May 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Hi,

    I am currently studying to do an ISEB course software testing.

    I have previous UAT experiance and currently work in MI. Is the transition position within hardcore testing experiance or programming skills.

    Thanks

    ReplyTweet
  2. rifad   April 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    hi
    i am a fresh graduate an i want to know that is it good to start the career as a QA or Software Engineer.i got a offer in the field of QA.confused need some assistance.what will be the future of QA

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   May 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      The Future of Quality Assurance is part and parcel of the future of Software Development.

      Quality Assurance Software Jobs are like Software Developer jobs in the sense that some knowledge of programming is required and they are like Business Analyst Jobs because some knowledge of Requirements is involved.

      It is a good career and you should be glad that you have a job offer. I will recommend that you give a try except if you think that you have a better, competing offer!

      Best Wishes

      ReplyTweet
  3. Vikas Arora   April 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Hi, I am graduate in Arts and after graduation i completed a Post Graduate in Computer Application.

    I have very little knowledge of programming. Now after 7 years of doing nothing, can i enter into software testing career?

    If yes, can someone guide me in the right direction in terms of what training courses i should go for to start my career in this field?

    Please provide more specific detail as what courses will help me here.

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   May 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      You don’t need a strong knowledge of programming to become a start a Software Testing career.

      You do need an overall knowledge of the Software Development Process, some knowledge of how to write test cases and test scripts and knowledge of how to test the different layers of an application (Database Layer, User Interface Layer, Web Services Layer and Classes).

      Different organizations use different software tools for automated and manual testing and some do not use any Software Tool at all.

      If the organization that you are working for uses a tool, you may have to write test scripts in a specific programming language for that tool. Some of these test scripts may be in JavaScript, VBScript or even C#.

      Regardless of this, you still do not need the heavy extensive knowledge of programming require from Software Developers!

      ReplyTweet
  4. molly   February 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Hello,

    I am on the job of a Software Tester,I would like to get a coaching in Shell scripting and pearl scripting (Unix and Linux).
    Please reply,
    Molly

    ReplyTweet
  5. Dev   October 18, 2010 at 3:10 am

    I am a computer eng. Right now i am working in internet marketing as an SMO executive.

    I want to change my career line.

    Can you tell which one is better as growth wise(In terms of salary package) DBA or Testing?

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   May 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      The salary of a DBA vs. a Softare Tester should not matter to you at this time.

      A DBA generally earns more than a Software Tester but then getting a DBA JOb requires more training and experience and time than getting a Software Tester job.

      DBA Jobs are for experienced Database Developers or Server Administrators, some of them have 5 or more years of experience.

      This is quite unlike a Software Testing Job which you can get with a light software development background.

      So, unless you have like 2 to 5 years of strong database experience, a software testing job may be available as a career to you!

      ReplyTweet
  6. Zandile   September 2, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Can you please post me an article for Test Analysis, Test Case characteristics.

    Regards,
    Zandile

    ReplyTweet
  7. Steve   September 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    See my ebook “Make Big Money Testing Software” for more exciting information about a software QA testing career.

    -Steve

    ReplyTweet
  8. Rameshwari   August 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Dear Friends,

    I am keen to learn software testing but i am bcom graduate with a non technical background.

    Is it a good option to do software testing or qualification while searching for a job?

    Please reply, thanks in advance.

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   September 1, 2010 at 6:54 am

      Is software testing a good career for new college graduates … yes if you have technical skills and you don’t want to become a computer programmer.

      Software Testing would give you allow you to get a more holistic view of how systems and enterprise software work from a higher level as opposed to computer programming.

      ReplyTweet
  9. Mohanaraman   July 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Hi,

    I started my IT career- QA 7 months back, I’m into manual testing.

    I’m Interested in automation please advice me how to grow in my career graph what and all should i learn.

    And abt the growth of QA?

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   May 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm
      1. Pick a good automated testing software tool. Keep in mind that each automated software testing tool may be good for one tier of the database or a service layer but not for another tier of the database or service layer.

        For example, an automated testing tool that is good for testing Ajax / JQuery, Web 2.0 User Interfaces (think Facebook) may not be good for testing C# Assemblies or Components!

      2. Learn or master the scripting language that comes with your automated software testing tool, keeping in mind that all the tools do not use the same scripting language (VBScript, JavaScript, C#).

      3. Learn or master testing the different layers of an enterprise software. The testing tools, skills and knowledge required to test the User Interface (UI) Layer, Database Layer Stored procedures, Web Services, etc. Keep in mind that each layer may need a different suite of automated software testing tools

      ReplyTweet
  10. Gita   July 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I HAVE PREVIOUS EXP IN SOFTWARE TESTING AND NOW IN HEALTHCARE BILLING,

    CAN I BE A SOFTWARE TESTER IN HEALTHCARE.

    THANK YOU

    ReplyTweet
    • Kingsley Tagbo   July 5, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      #testing #softwaretesting #healthcare Software Testers in the Healthcare Industry need a solid knowledge of the application or requirements of the project.

      Nothing stops you from testing healthcare domains … apart from lack of self-confidence or a poorly defined test plan which assures that you are creating good tests.

      Start with the requirements or Use Cases or User Stories for your project then derive the appropriate test plan for your situation

      ReplyTweet

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