Monday, 6 January 2014

Become a better tester!

Not just anyone can claim to be an exceptional software tester. Software testing requires a unique skill set, and the best software testers are the ones that continuously strive to expand their knowledge and hone their testing strategies. In short, good testers always want to get better.
So how can you become a better tester?
  1. Test for quality over quantity: “Here’s 10,000 bugs… good luck!” Testers, please don’t ever shoot for quantity. Identifying the most important bugs and glitches, and helping the company or developer make sense of the bugs is ten times more helpful then testing for mere volume.
  2. Learn to prioritize: In line with “quality over quantity”, prioritizing what you test is extremely important. Testing the mission critical parts of an application before the minute details of an app will help you to identify the most valuable bugs first. This will also allow the development team to fix the most imperative parts of their application as quickly as possible.
  3. Practice and improve your written communication skills: Everyone can right, write? (Ha!). Good testers must have excellent written communication skills in order to write good test cases, bug reports and so on. These testing artifacts are an essential part of QA and must be detailed and easy to consume.
  4. Learn from your own mistakes – and from others too:  Everyone makes mistakes, but learning from others and from your own will make you better tester. How can you improve your bug report next time? How can you prioritize better during the next test cycle? How can you communicate better with the development team? These are questions you should constantly be asking yourself, and your fellow testers.
  5. Be objective and professional: Every time you test, go at it with a fresh perspective. Look at the software you are testing without bias or past experience, and test with an open mind. Testers who think “Oh, I know this software” or “I’ve used this before” are at risk of overlooking important bugs. Objectivity is key.
  6. Don’t be humble with software… think out of the box: Explore the software, ‘test to break’ and be willing to suggest improvements; these are all attributes that make up the attitude of a good software tester.
  7. Question. Everything: Does this work as intended? Does it work on all devices? Does it work under every possible use-case, every time? Question. Everything.  
  8. Think like the user: Remember; your job is to find bugs before the software reaches the hands of users. Pair your technical skills with an end-user’s mindset and you will find the best, most valuable bugs possible.
  9. Increase the effectiveness of bug reports: Attaching screen shots and providing detailed bug reports will give the developer the information he or she needs to understand the bug and fix it. Where did it occur, when, how many times, on what devices, running what operating system and under what circumstances? Without the right details a bug is useless to a development team.
  10. Be Passionate! To excel in any field, you need to be passionate for what you do. Read, seek new training opportunities, engage with your fellow testers, attend testing conference, classes – immerse yourself in all things QA.

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