Testers are the gatekeepers of any software and application that goes out into the market. They have the highest and the most important responsibility – ensuring the quality of the product.
A tester needs to ensure that the product that is certified pass by them is of the utmost quality and gives a very good user experience to the end-users too.
In today’s fast-paced world where technology and applications are changing at drastic speeds, there is no second chance for any software however good it may be. So we need to make sure to it get it right in the first place itself. That is where you need your unicorn tester.
Most people tend to believe that testing is the simplest part of any SDLC, but this is not true. It actually takes a lot of hard work and understanding of the complete requirement along with being able to see the bigger picture of the product. There are a number of qualities that one must have to become a good tester. Here we take a look at some of the main traits of an exceptional tester:
1. Organize, Co-relate and Understand
A good software testing expert would get involved in the project right from its inception until its production rollout and beyond. He needs to clearly understand the requirements as put forth by the client and he should be the first person to asking clarification when needed. He should be thorough and clear with the requirements because that is what the foundation of a software product is.
He should be an expert in data organization, result from analysis and should be quick to make out inferences based on the data. For e.g. during the development phase, if there is the change in requirement or a bug fix leading to a code change, he should be able to at least theoretically predict the impact of the changes.
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Also when it comes to testing result analysis, he should be able to make the go/no go decision with the help of data available to him. Hence being able to understand organize all the data and also co-related is one of the primary qualities of any good tester.
2. Know the Product and its users
Irrespective of the LOC (line of code) or the complexity of the code the final verdict is given by the user based on how well it serves their purpose and how easy the product is to use. So a good tester would always think and use the product like an end user.
A software testing expert should also have a very good knowledge about the complete product along with an exceptional understanding of how the different modules interact with each, how the data flows from one module to another and also where and how the data is stored.
After a BA(business analyst), a tester is the second best person who knows the product inside out.
Different application whether they commercial software or personal use software would be used by a wide category of users some may be very techno-savvy, while some others may still be trying to get a grip on the technology, some might be kids while some might be the not so educated types.
A good software testing expert will ensure the test AUT (Application under test) is tested in a way which replicates these users of different categories. Understanding the customer and the product is thus a very important characteristic a tester should try to develop if he wants to become a successful tester.
3. Always remember the basic principles of testing
However much you know the product. A good software testing expert would always start with the basics. This would include a sanity test to check for the stability of the application and ensure nothing is broken. He would then follow the basic principles of boundary value analysis, 60-20 rule etc. to check that all data validations are in place.
He would also be ready with detailed test cases before the build is ready for testing which would make it easy for anyone to come and execute those test cases. Elaborate and detailed test cases are very important for replication of any issue found during the testing phase.
4. Excellent communication – verbal, written and tactical too
Communication among teams is very important. A good software testing expert needs to be a tactical communicator too. Many times a tester may find himself in a situation where he is torn between sternly sticking to his point of view of application functionality or going with what the developers say.
It is in this situation that he needs to use his words judiciously in a way that benefits both sides and ultimately work towards delivering a better product.
Verbal and written communication is also very important when discussing and reporting issues in the product. Clear and crisp bug reports help the developers to better understand the issue resulting in faster defect fixes.
Also reporting testing issues can be quite a challenge since we all work together as a team and have good personal relationships as well. Here again, a good tester would be able to report the issues with causing any issues within the team or on a personal front.
5. Recognize the importance of Details
A good software testing expert would be exceptionally good in understanding the details. He should be careful as well as mindful of even the smallest details especially in the requirement document, during the testing as well as during the reporting of issues.
Being careful of even the smallest details gives them the upper hand over developers and this way they are also able to steer the product development in the right track.
6. Unrelenting under pressure
The testing team, in general, is put under a lot of pressure be it to complete the testing within a specific time, to give sign off or during discussions with during bug triage.
A good tester will make sure he does not give in to any kind of pressure and should make sure that he is following all processes as per the process.
It is also important while he is stern on the process and guidelines he should also be flexible with the team and try to be available in critical situations on the need basis. He needs to strike a balance between the two situations.
7. Continuous Learner
Testing is one area where you have to keep on learning new things every day. Each day you need to make a fresh start forgetting how you have been doing things in the past.
This is one reason why the job of a tester is so challenging. While in other areas like development having a work in the same product for longer duration would be an advantage, from a testing perspective it could be a disadvantage, as you may not be able to look at it in a new perspective.
So a good tester needs to learn and unlearn quickly and should be able to make a fresh start with a fresh new perspective each day.
It is not that easy a job to be a tester. It takes a lot of time effort and conscious learnings on the part of an individual to become a tester who truly adds value to the product.
But don’t lose heart, even the smallest journeys begin with a single step, so if you want to be a unicorn tester for your organization start today and work towards that one goal.
Keep the above points in mind and relentlessly work on improving your skills and knowledge. You can do it if you think you can.