What Do Professional Testers Bring To The Table?
At Crowdsourced Testing, we recognize the value of professional testers.
In fact, unlike many of our competitors, we only employ people who are currently working in the industry or people who have been employed as full-time professional testers in the past. There is something to be said for usability testing with average users, but when it comes to functional software testing, only professionals can guarantee a smooth process and deliver the results that developers need.
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There are five key skills that we expect every professional tester to have in their toolkit.
1. Curiosity and determination
It’s not enough to run through a batch of test cases and stick to the script. Professional testers will always investigate further. One of the problems with software developers running their own testing is that they’ll run through the software exactly the same way each time. They’ll use it the way they intend it to be used. Testers will dream up the odd scenarios that occur in the real-world. They’ll emulate end users who lack that product knowledge. They’ll keep pushing until it breaks. Professional testers combine attention-to-detail with a questioning mind.
2. Familiarity with the target platform
If you don’t understand how the target platform is supposed to work, then you can’t make good decisions about whether the product is fulfilling the brief or not. Testers are advocates for the end user, and it’s their responsibility to have the end user’s interests in mind. They need to understand the fundamental differences between platforms. They should know the difference between Android and iOS, for example, and understand what constitutes normal behavior on both. It’s vital that they can determine between real bugs and deliberate design choices.
3. Good writing skills
The more concise a bug report is, the easier it is for the developer to grasp. As a result, reports must be well-written. There should be no room for misinterpretation. Clarity is a vital skill. A developer should be able to open a bug report and find all of the information necessary to reproduce the problem so that they can understand what’s happening and find a way to fix it. Speed can be important, but never at the expense of clarity.
4. Ability to provide solutions
It’s easy to criticize, but it’s much more difficult to suggest solutions. Testers should always write from the perspective of the end user. Sometimes it’s not appropriate to offer suggestions, but many clients appreciate comments on usability and specific recommendations for improvement. There’s room in the “Expected Results” portion of a bug report for testers to suggest changes that would make the product more intuitive or provide useful functionality.
5. Go the extra mile
Professional testers understand the importance of detailed bug reports. They’ll include clear steps to reproduce bugs, they’ll investigate different scenarios to narrow down where a bug is occurring, and they’ll include crash logs and other additional files that can save developers time. Instead of a starting point, developers get an investigation, and that cuts down on the time and effort they have to put in in order to fix things.
Hiring professional testers is a financially prudent move for any company. Therefore, they can save countless hours for development teams. They help ship better products, they help ship products on time, and they can help to drastically reduce support costs once a product launches.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Simon is an experienced freelance technology journalist covering mobile technology, software, and videogames for a wide variety of clients in print and online. He regularly contributes to Digital Trends, Tech Radar, and Android Authority, and he ghostwrites for CEOs in the technology space. After completing a Masters in Scottish History at Edinburgh University, he began his career as a games tester, progressing to lead tester, game designer, and finally producer, before leaving the industry to write full time. He is passionate about the potential for good software and hardware to improve our lives, and strongly believes that thorough testing is a vital prerequisite for greatness.