From non-tech background to Software testing, a quick guide!

Software testing

Technology is advancing rapidly with each passing day. As technology is becoming the new trend, many companies are switching to new technology day by day. Companies are doing this to shorten the development cycle and increase the time to market (TTM). this in turn has led the IT industry to boom. Since the industry offers a wide market, a lot of graduates are inclined at joining the sector as their career choice. The sector offers a large pool of jobs and tremendous growth. The QA (Quality Assurance) field is quite appealing to those who have basic coding knowledge as it does not require too much coding.

We are going to talk about everything you must know about Software testers in this article. We will also discuss the steps required to make a switch from non-technical background to the QA field.

Lets’s start with the most basic question!

What is software testing?

“Software testing is the process of evaluating a system with the intent of finding bugs. It is performed to check if the system satisfies its specified requirements.”

Source : ArtOfTesting

Software testers hold a crucial role in ensuring that a quality product meeting all required specifications is developed. Testers are responsible for executing tests at different stages in the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). Testers ensure that the product developed is of quality, meets all the specifications, and has minimal to zero bugs.

What do software testers do?

Although ideally, the role of a Software Tester is to run tests on the developed software to assure it meets all quality standards and specifications, and find bugs. But it is not like you will be testing a new piece of software every day. You will also be doing tasks like reading and analyzing the testing documents, executing test cases, attending meetings to plan the testing, and other team-building activities.

In order to easily transition to any industry, the most basic requirement is to have skills that are aligned with the sector you wish to enter. Having these skills is as important as having relevant technical knowledge.

Skills required to become a software tester are-

  • Technical Skills
  • Non-Technical Skills

Technical Skills

  • Gain knowledge in testing –  If you wish to enter into the Software testing career, then you must be familiar with the terms associated with Software testing. You must also have knowledge of the complete STLC (Software Testing Life Cycle).
  • Database and SQL basics – Any type of software system, whether small or large, generates and stores a large amount of data. To manage, analyze, verify, and test this large data, databases like SQL, Oracle, MySQL, etc. are used extensively.
  • Basic Linux commands – Most companies use Linux machines to perform various tasks. Hence it proves beneficial to have a strong foundational knowledge of all the basic Linux commands.
  • Learn Test automation tools and test management – Test management is the process of managing test execution. It includes tasks like planning, execution, tracking, management, etc. Tools like QC, Bugzilla, Testlink, etc. are some tools that help you with test management. It is an additional benefit to know about these tools for manual testing. 

If you wish to move from manual testing and step into automation testing, then learning tools like Selenium, Katalon, etc will prove very fruitful to you. A hands-on experience with these tools will provide additional benefits like in-depth basic knowledge of automation testing.

After strengthening your technical skills, you can prepare for the software testing interviews with some commonly asked manual testing interview questions.

Apart from technical skills, there are some non-tech skills as well that will help you enhance your career and future as QA.

Non-Tech Skills

  • Communication:- Communication is the most basic and yet most important soft skill to have. You will always need to clearly communicate with your development team as a tester. Hence having polished communication skills and good verbal skills is a must to make yourself more efficient.
  • Planning and Time Management:- As a QA professional you will have to plan and schedule tests and ensure the reports are delivered on time. This requires you to have strong planning and time management skills to avoid any delays and mistakes.
  • Logical and Analytical Thinking:- As a tester, it will be your job to identify bugs and hidden errors in the software product. You will need to test the software under many different scenarios using a variety of test cases to ensure its quality. This will require you to have exceptional analytical skills and logical thinking.
  • Passion to learn:- As technology keeps evolving, you will need to keep yourself up to date with the latest trends as well. This will only be possible when a strong passion to learn at all times. In businesses like these, the learning curve never becomes a straight line and should always keep rising. To be known as a good tester and to keep in pace with the market, you must always be willing to learn new technology and processes.
  • Positive Attitude:- A positive attitude always goes a long way. A willingness to learn and a polite positive attitude will have you be known as a good tester. An attitude that is detail oriented, open to take suggestions for improvement, and willing to take ownership of any allocated task and deliver it on time with proper management and planned execution are the skills often looked for in a good tester.

Other than having the listed technical and non-technical skills, there are a few more things you should consider. These points are listed below:-

  • Online Resources:- You must always look out to gain more knowledge. The availability of resources online makes this task of learning a lot easier. Be it interview preparation or learning any new skills, you can easily get notes and tools for practice online, so use them. 
  • Internship:- Hands-on practical experience is one of the best ways to learn new tools and resources. Indulging yourself into an internship in the related field will help you practically understand concepts and make your fundamentals strong. Such an experience of working with trained professionals, performing daily tasks, and working in a cultured environment will enhance both your technical and non-technical skills as an individual. If you’re really lucky, you might get to try working on a live project.
  • Certification:- Certifications help in showing recruiters that you worked hard and acquired the required knowledge and skills with determination. They add credibility to the skills you say you have. 

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) offers a variety of certifications of different levels. ISTQB is a globally renowned organization that has a comprehensive syllabus and quality content. This could be your first step towards getting some certifications.

Having all the above-mentioned skills will enhance your individuality and make it easy to start your career in the software testing field. Software testing is not a one-time job but is a continuous process that proceeds in pace with the software development cycle. If you believe you have the required amount of skills don’t be afraid and start learning. Happy learning!

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