So what is testing / quality assurance like?
What kind of person are you when you are buying stuff? Do you take time on the object you are buying to see how long it last, if it is going to wear easily, if it matches other related objects or test it right there for simple strength?
How about when you are walking on the street? Are you a kind of person who follows the rules but at the same time do something else for the sake of ‘checking it out’?
One more thing? Are you a person when you install apps or visit a site, take a moment to verify the URL, what permissions you are giving it? If it looks professional or not, or go to some reviews to see if it has been around and people have said something about it?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions… then you have some traits what it takes to be a software tester – hold your horses.. these are just some signs they are not a definitive seals telling you you can be a quality assurance professional.
As we rely more and more on softwares and apps in the era, we are indirectly depending on testers/quality assurance. Imagine using a not well tested GPS – it will take you 50miles East while what you are looking for is 7 miles North. Or a broken bank app that adds 0 out of the thin-air and makes your donation on the first list when you wanted to donate only $50. Do you remember that software bug the airline has and people were buying flights for $12 – delta error lead to ultra low fare
There are also others which are way expensive kind of disasters because of the error that was hidden and no body catch it on time. Here is the list of expensive ones. To be fair, testers will do their best to catch as much error as possible in the given time, but only some of the errors can be handled in so much time and scenarios. When the website or app is out for usage, that is where the real fun happens!
Why are quality assurance professional in need?
So if you read the above expensive failures, you can understand why quality assurance is important. Failure is not only damaging in monetary aspect only, but also in branding and trust, it has major impact. Microsoft had one of those days in 2008 – Zune Microsoft leap year bug
Zune was one of the iPod competitor and b/c it can’t account for leap year error and probably some more stuff, it can’t proceed. Can you imagine what it means for the company to fail the product for the whole day? Felt sorry for the customer reps on that day they have to say “mom, I understand the issue.. just wait for tomorrow and it will be resolved by itself.. Now you see why Quality Assurance (QA) is in high demand. Those professionals will try their best to see the area that no one has seen and report it for fix!
When you are tester, all you think is how to break the software. That is it! that is your main job. Not how the software works, but how it not working or how it can broken. For that, you need to be critical thinker. A tester should be able to see things out of the box and find the vulnerabilities of it. Time and time again, the tester will loose his/her sleep over how to ruin the software.
Can you imagine being paid for breaking stuff? This time it is for good reason. It is better that the tester break it than someone else break it and use it against the company’s will. Remember the recent problem with facetime on iPhone? Facetime bug That is one nasty bug – Imagine if it was known ahead of time than a smart kid reported it.
What does it take to be tester?
The first thing is passion – of course that is the key for everything. If you are into something, it will pay side by side. But, that is not the only thing you would like to know here are some of the points that are a togo points to the QA route..
There are two types of testers
- Manual testes
- Automation testers
This involves a tester, that is you, going over each and every test case and execute it. So, you ask, what is a test case? Test case is a complete scenario that accomplishes a given task. If you are testing a website, then the possible test cases could be
- The website must load under 2 seconds
- Does the website look perfect on internet explorer, chrome, firefox?
- Mobile devices should show he website OK
- The website still works and looks fine when I rotate the website.
- Does the website prompt the user if there are no interactions for more than 3 minutes..
Now you got the point, as much as possible test cases, the better. As a manual tester, you will execute these tests manually and record their pass/fail scoreboard. If there is a problem, you will report your findings.
Manual testers tend to be more valuable on softwares they are more comfortable – something that they know from scratch. That way, they have the knowledge of the ins and outs of the software they are working on it.
Automation testing requires the tester to use some softwares and/or writing code to automate the process of testing the software. In this type of testing, the tester should still be able to produce as much test cases as possible and he/she has to be able to code or use special software to do the job. Some of the testing frameworks that are industry standard and must be in one’s arsenal:
A quality assurance professional who is proficient in one or more of these and other testing tools is in higher demand these days. Automation testers tend to be paid better than manual testers. The reason is clear, automation testers will take time to write the code to automate the process. But once it is done, it will be a matter of hooking it and going to the next task. But the manual tester has to run those tests again and again all the time.
There is another advantage on automation testing also. Testing is a very tedious task. In some scenarios it require to set a bunch of stage before the actual test happens. And creating these tests and destroying those right after the test is done is a bit crazy. Automation will do it 100 time every minutes without cutting a sweat.
But, there are circumstances where automation really tricky that manual tester will be required. So, this automation tool is not a hammer for every nail.
Getting back to the question, what does it take to be a tester?
You need to definitely know the above, at least one of them, and be expert at it. These are industry standard tools for testing the software. Every software shop is in need of testers day by day. You can start being a manual testers if you are already working in the company and you have a chance to join the developers/project managers. Otherwise the right path will be getting equipped with the testing tools and try them out.
In some cases you can visually or otherwise nicely test the outer part of the software and contact the project manger how you are interested in the software and how you can help them out using your skill of testing.
Do you have specific questions on testing? Are you already a tester and looking for work? Do you need a guide on testing? Give us a comment or contact us!