How to Become a Software Tester: step-by-Step Instructions

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A software tester (or QA-engineer) is a common starting point for those who want to start a career in the IT industry, and simply an in-demand profession. We will tell you where newbies can gain useful skills and knowledge, as well as earn coveted lines for your resume and projects for your portfolio.

How to become a software tester: step-by-step instructions A software tester (or QA-engineer) is a common starting point for those who want to start a career in the IT industry, and simply an in-demand profession. We will tell you where newbies can gain useful skills and knowledge, as well as earn coveted lines for your resume and projects for your portfolio. What QA engineers do Software testers help make products - apps, websites, programs, cars - so they can be used. They determine which elements of the system do not work correctly or are not as convenient as desired, find the reasons for this - bugs in the code, design, or logic - and submit them for correction. All this is done to provide end-users with a stable, reliable, and convenient product. What skills does a novice tester need Since testing applies to a wide variety of areas, a tester may need different knowledge to work. But there is something common in all cases: you need to know the theory of software testing software, and then - have some knowledge of the system being tested and the technology used in it. Everything is quite clear with theory: a potential employer will want you to know what testing is, why it is needed in the development cycle and what place it has in it. It's also good to know the basic development methodologies (AGILE, SCRUM, and other scary words) - just so you can work in a team that functions according to certain rules. It is also a good idea to know how to write a defect properly, what test cases are and how they should be written, what are checklists, when it is better to use cases, and when it is easier to use a checklist. If the theory of testing applies to all areas, the technical skills you will need, depending on the area in which you decide to work. Say, if you want to do testing in the area of web applications, it's very helpful to know how a browser works and what a web page consists of. And it's unlikely to come in handy if you're testing airplane flight systems. However, the most popular areas of development right now are the web and mobile platforms. You already know everything about the web, and to test mobile devices you need to know the peculiarities of mobile application development, their lifecycles and differences from desktop applications, peculiarities of Android and iOS, and it would be good to read design manuals for mobile applications written by developers of both systems. Finally, almost any modern program will use databases, so you'll need to learn what they are and learn to write simple SQL queries. Does a tester need to know how to program The question that has broken a lot of copy: is whether the tester should know how to program. Here there are different opinions, but all agree that the ability to program does not hurt. At the start, it may not be necessary, but it will be a definite plus. Programming skills can be useful both for understanding what is going on in the application being tested and for automating some routine tasks, even if you are not going exactly into automated testing. If you are interested in the area of automated testing then the answer is obvious: you need to learn some programming language. If you are already working, then a good option is to learn the language your company is developing in. If you're not there yet, learn any of the languages that are popular today. If we are talking about languages, it is very useful for a tester to know another language - English. At least at the level of reading documentation. Without it, you can work, but a lot of materials are in English, and knowledge of it can help you a lot. How to start a career as a tester When you're ready to move on to real projects, choose a site or an application and try to test it. Prepare test cases, make checklists to verify whether the product works, and think about how you would trace the interaction between the product and it's server-side - the backend. Search for the first real projects on crowdsourcing platforms. There, companies offer everyone who wants to test their product on a certain device and operating system. Most likely, you will have to work for the idea, that is, for free, but you will gain experience and see how experienced QA engineers conduct defects. A project with open source and a bug tracker is not a bad start for a novice tester. It's not just practiced anymore, but it's a nice addition to your resume. Finally, do not forget about internships in IT companies. Do not count on a lot of money at first, but if you prove yourself, there is a chance to get an invitation to work or a recommendation for future interviews. Conclusion If you want to try yourself as a tester - try it, it's a useful and in-demand profession, and the entry threshold is not so high. In general, go for it!

What QA engineers do

Software testers help make products – apps, websites, programs, cars – so they can be used. They determine which elements of the system do not work correctly or are not as convenient as desired, find the reasons for this – bugs in the code, design, or logic – and submit them for correction. All this is done to provide end-users with a stable, reliable, and convenient product.

What skills does a novice tester need

Since testing applies to a wide variety of areas, a tester may need different knowledge to work. But there is something common in all cases: you need to know the theory of software testing software, and then – have some knowledge of the system being tested and the technology used in it.

Everything is quite clear with theory: a potential employer will want you to know what testing is, why it is needed in the development cycle and what place it has in it. It’s also good to know the basic development methodologies (AGILE, SCRUM, and other scary words) – just so you can work in a team that functions according to certain rules. It is also a good idea to know how to write a defect properly, what test cases are and how they should be written, what are checklists, when it is better to use cases, and when it is easier to use a checklist.

If the theory of testing applies to all areas, the technical skills you will need, depending on the area in which you decide to work. Say, if you want to do testing in the area of web applications, it’s very helpful to know how a browser works and what a web page consists of. And it’s unlikely to come in handy if you’re testing airplane flight systems.

However, the most popular areas of development right now are the web and mobile platforms. You already know everything about the web, and to test mobile devices you need to know the peculiarities of mobile application development, their lifecycles and differences from desktop applications, peculiarities of Android and iOS, and it would be good to read design manuals for mobile applications written by developers of both systems.

Finally, almost any modern program will use databases, so you’ll need to learn what they are and learn to write simple SQL queries.

Does a tester need to know how to program

The question that has broken a lot of copy: is whether the tester should know how to program. Here there are different opinions, but all agree that the ability to program does not hurt. At the start, it may not be necessary, but it will be a definite plus. Programming skills can be useful both for understanding what is going on in the application being tested and for automating some routine tasks, even if you are not going exactly into automated testing. If you are interested in the area of automated testing then the answer is obvious: you need to learn some programming language. If you are already working, then a good option is to learn the language your company is developing in. If you’re not there yet, learn any of the languages that are popular today.

If we are talking about languages, it is very useful for a tester to know another language – English. At least at the level of reading documentation. Without it, you can work, but a lot of materials are in English, and knowledge of it can help you a lot.

How to start a career as a tester

When you’re ready to move on to real projects, choose a site or an application and try to test it. Prepare test cases, make checklists to verify whether the product works, and think about how you would trace the interaction between the product and it’s server-side – the backend.

Search for the first real projects on crowdsourcing platforms. There, companies offer everyone who wants to test their product on a certain device and operating system. Most likely, you will have to work for the idea, that is, for free, but you will gain experience and see how experienced QA engineers conduct defects.

A project with open source and a bug tracker is not a bad start for a novice tester. It’s not just practiced anymore, but it’s a nice addition to your resume.

Finally, do not forget about internships in IT companies. Do not count on a lot of money at first, but if you prove yourself, there is a chance to get an invitation to work or a recommendation for future interviews.

Conclusion

If you want to try yourself as a tester – try it, it’s a useful and in-demand profession, and the entry threshold is not so high. In general, go for it!

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Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.