Top 10 Qualities That Make An Effective Software Tester
What does it take to become a software tester?
Software testers possess a very refined skill set that allows them to do their job well and add value to a development project. Here’s a list of the top 10 qualities of an effective software tester:
1. Attention to detail
Identifying glaring issues is easy enough, but where your expertise as a software tester really comes into play is in identifying bugs that aren’t quite as obvious. Oftentimes, it’s the small stuff that can have a pretty serious trickle-down effect on an entire application. So, in addition to the big picture, an effective tester knows to pay attention to the details.
2. Ability to communicate
Communication – both verbal and written – is a vital skill to have, since you’ll find yourself in close contact with developers, business analysts, and other major stakeholders in a project. It’s your job to ensure you understand requirements, can describe test criteria and are able to explain how to recreate issues. As a software tester, you also can’t be afraid to ask questions or vocalize your concerns.
Whoever coined the phrase “patience is a virtue” probably would have made a good tester. Rushing through test cases inevitably leads to errors and inaccurate results. You’re much better off being patient and methodical with your work.
4. Willingness to learn
Software development and testing are an evolving industry. Therefore, as a software tester, you need to be prepared – and willing – to keep up with the latest technology trends.
5. Prioritization skills
Knowing what to test first allows you to work smarter, not harder. Prioritizing tests that assess fundamental requirements and basic functionality improves efficiency and saves time as well as effort.
6. Time Management
Working hand-in-hand with prioritization, managing your time wisely is integral in ensuring that you’re being effective as possible. Not all test cases warrant the same amount of time. Instead, balance importance with urgency to help better manage time.
7. Organization skills
Keeping on top of test suites, e-mail correspondences, timelines, and project plans requires a knack for organization. Good documentation skills are also key. It’s important to accurately record test conditions, steps, and outcomes for later reference.
Requirements get adjusted, the features shift focus, and deadlines are inevitably moved forward. That’s a day in the life of a software tester; so being highly adaptable to different situations is a good quality to have.
9. Ability to think outside the box
It’s easy to get caught up in functional tests and use cases, but a good software tester knows how to push the envelope and think outside the box. There can often be a huge chasm between a development environment and a production environment, and you also can’t make the assumption that users will handle software as intended. With that in mind, it’s important to think about non-ideal situations, environmental conditions, and use cases in order to really thoroughly test an application.
10. Technical background
The demand for software testers with a solid technical background has never been higher. The increasing popularity of automated and API testing means that testers with programming and scripting experience have an upper hand. As a result, it is now common to hold a degree in computer science (or similar) and certifications in software testing.