Are you new to software testing field or looking to switch careers and move to testing? Or you are a pro at software testing but still want to see what all qualities of a good software tester you already possess. If you belong to any of the above three categories then you landed at the right place.
Hey guys! I am Kuldeep Rana, currently working as Test Automation Lead in an MNC, handling complex projects on Big-data, machine learning, e-commerce, and education domain. With over 8 years of experience in different forms of testing, today I have compiled a list of 10 must-have qualities that a Software Tester must possess. So, let’s get started.
1. Empathy With Customer Or End-User
According to me, the first and foremost quality that a tester must possess is empathy with the client, customer or the end-user. By empathy I mean, the tester should put himself in the shoes of the end-user of the application.
Instead of focusing on the “what is going to be developed” part, a tester should focus on “how it is going to be used” part. You should always have the bigger picture in mind about the usage of the application – who will use it, how will they use, what is the technical expertise of the end-user, is the application really user-friendly? As a QA you should always have these questions in mind.
2. Be A Hardcore Pessimist
Well, this may come as a surprise to you but believe me it is one of the most important traits that a tester should have.
In order to create robust and good quality software, as a tester, you should scrutinize every design, every flow and every possible handling of input data. Always believe in Murphy’s law – “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.
3. Domain Knowledge
Projects belonging to many industries like – Banking, Life Insurance, E-commerce etc only consider testers with domain knowledge or give them preference over others.
Having a domain knowledge of application greatly helps in testing. If you know the domain well, you know the application and customer well, this, in turn, helps in #1 quality that we just discussed – empathizing with the customer.
4. Technical Skills
A good tester should have good technical expertise and it is not limited to just Test Automation, Performance Testing, and Security testing professionals. Those who are working on a black box or functional testing also must possess good technical skills.
To see why this quality is important, just try to find the answer to this question – “Which Tester has a better chance of delivering a better quality application or finding more bugs? One who has expertise in Database and can check the data type of the different fields along with their length limit and different relationships between the tables or the one with no knowledge of DB? Of course the one with the DB expertise.
Database knowledge is just one of the skills, if you have knowledge of automation tools like Selenium, understanding of APIs, Client-Server architecture, Networking, etc or any other technical skill, you will have an edge over others.
5. Attention To Details
Attention to detail helps us in identifying the issues that often get missed due to oversight. Since everyone can find an obvious issue but it requires an eagle’s eye to find the one that might not be present in plain-sight.
6. Push Every Aspect Of The Application To Its Limits
Have you heard of Stress testing, Spike testing, Volume testing, Monkey testing? The common thing between these types of testing is – these types of testing push the application to its limits. Be it in terms of load, suddenly increasing the number of users, using large files for processing or handling it roughly like a monkey or a person with no knowledge of the application’s work-flow.
A tester with this quality can find different bottlenecks in the application that are otherwise hard to find while following the normal application flow.
7. Never Assume Or Take Anything For Granted
This is one of the qualities that we tend to lose as we gain more experience. Remember, when we were just starting our careers how meticulously we would read everything, follow everything – be it test case steps, test data or any other instruction.
But as we grow, we tend to develop the habit of taking things for granted or subconsciously assuming things. As a good software tester, we should never assume anything or take any test case flow or data for granted. So, even if a test case is as obvious as testing a calculator with input data 1+1, we should still test it with the utmost attention.
8. Continuously Strive To Learn New Things
Every new project requires the tester to gain some domain knowledge or technical expertise. Apart from these, there are some projects that belong to different cultures, language or geographical locations.
A tester having the zeal to learn new things can adapt to such requirements fairly quickly.
9. Good Interpersonal Skills
As a tester, we have to deal with different stakeholders of the project – developers, project managers, client representatives, and business analysts.
Having good interpersonal skills make you a good team player and a dependable resource on which others can bank upon for software quality.
10. Good Communication Skills
Last but not least, having the trait of good communication skills greatly helps in the requirements elicitation phase. Clear and concise questions, when asked to clients, helps in avoiding any gaps in requirements.
Also, a tester with good communication skills can articulate the bugs and scenarios to the developers in a comprehensible way. Thus leading to better and efficient collaboration with the developer team.
Based on my experience, these were some of the qualities that according to me, every tester should have. Depending on the level or designation of the tester and the type of project, there can be several other qualities as well – like leadership traits for senior-level testers; ability to adapt quickly to changing requirements in case of Agile projects, etc.
This was my list, let me know in the comments, what according to you are the top qualities of a tester.
Kuldeep is the founder and lead author of ArtOfTesting. He is skilled in test automation, performance testing, big data, and CI-CD. He brings his decade of experience to his current role where he is dedicated to educating the QA professionals. You can find him on LinkedIn.