Software Testers or QA engineers are like a master chef in the world of digital development. Like whenever you go to any restaurant or hotel to have a meal, you would be highly impressed with the meal they serve. And what's the reason for that? It's not just a cook who has made the meal. But it's the master chef, who has tasted the food and served you with appropriate testing. The same role and responsibility have been played by the software tester or QA engineers during the software development life cycle.
Nobody can become a tester like that. To gain that profession, there are some technical skills that every tester has to go through. As per the renowned computer scientist and testing expert, Jerry (Gerald) Weinberg once said, "If you are not learning something new each day, you are not testing". Well, however, when the technology, agile, and DevOps methodologies are advancing rapidly while accelerated development and continuous deployments are getting more complex, making testing a quite critical phase. This allows testers to work harder and demands more deliberation.
Hence, learning about the latest trends and advancing in technical skills becomes inevitable to keep up with the trends and avoid becoming obsolete. In this scenario, every tester needs to be well-versed with the technical skills – to get greater insight, a great degree of effectiveness and effectively communicate the failures and defects in the system to developers.
A tester with a good understanding of requirements analysis, design and coding has great insight into the defect life cycle. They can easily understand which area of code has maximum defects and how it could be resolved by helping developers. So, I must say, there are some good technical skills of a tester that help in preventing the defects getting introduced in the delivered code.
So, here, as a renowned and experienced software testing company, we have curated the top 12 technical skills that every software tester must have.
1. Agile Testing
The software testing process - Agile testing follows the principles of agile software development. Agile testing aligns with iterative development methodology in which requirements develop gradually from customers and testing teams. The development is aligned with customer requirements.
Agile testing is a continuous process but not sequential. The testing starts from the beginning of the project and there is ongoing integration between testing and development. The main and common goal of agile development and testing is to achieve high product quality.
2. Automation Testing
By leveraging the latest technologies, increasing complexities in software and integrations in the application, using manual testing alone cannot take you to the right path. For testing browser compatibility, performance, headless, as well as database and integration layers, software testers or QA engineers, should learn automation skills since it imparts higher accuracy because of the business logic and technicalities it can serve. Plus, there are several test automation tools that completely support the testing type and have the features to get the tasks done quickly and effectively.
3. Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
It's one of the important and preferable things – if a tester is willing to learn software development life cycle management skills. The whole structure of SDLC will help them understand the application development tasks and plan the testing cycle accordingly. Having a strong and deep knowledge of the SDLC cycle will also help testers anticipate complexities in the application which can guide in taking the right measures beforehand. Along with this, testers must also learn other development mythologies like Kanban, Waterfall, Scrum, Lean, etc.
4. Technologies in Web and Mobile
Every tester must be aware of the latest technologies which are trending in web and mobile. Hence, they can understand the type of application, it's built and scalability and apply a suitable course of action for its testing. Testers must keep an eye on the latest technologies of web and mobile and what's trending since it guides them in comprehending the coding architecture and technical challenges to deliver effective QA solutions.
5. Testing Tools & Techniques
It's important for every tester to be armed with the latest and different testing techniques and usage of tools. The other testing types like black-box testing, penetration testing, security testing, system testing, unit testing, etc helps testers work on any sort of project irrespective of the domain and application type. Apart from this, the other testing tools available in the market like bug tracking tools, management tools, GUI testing tools, automation tools, etc, will help testers to serve different requirements and complexities of the project.
6. Defect Tracking & Test Case Management Tools
Defect Tracking and Defect life cycle are the key roles of any software testing phase. It's very difficult to manage defects properly and track them in a systematic manner. Hence, the tester with the wide knowledge of Defect Tracking & Test Case Management Tools like QC, Bugzilla, Jira, etc will help them lock the defect including managers, developers and testers.
7. Database or SQL
Since the last 4 decades, SQL has been the standard programming language for database management. Since then, the software systems have a massive amount of data in the background. Since the data is stored in different types of databases like Oracle, MySQL, etc in the backend, it's necessary for testers to understand the query and manipulate the data. So, if testers are very versed with databases or SQL that becomes easier for them to give proper solutions when this data needs to be validated. A single database or SQL queries can be encountered to check whether proper data is stored in the backend database.
8. Cross-Browser Testing Skills
Due to the demand for various browsers along with multiple devices and variations in different screen sizes for smartphones, the need for browser compatibility testing is more than ever.
This cross-browser testing skill allows testers to test their developed application across different browsers. This test ensures to deliver the product without having any bugs or errors which could work on every single platform smoothly.
9. Project Management
Software testing skills are a mixture of technical and professional aspects. And to manage both it's extremely important for any testers to be able to take ownership of the project. This means a tester delivers the project after the completion of testing. Learning project management skills will instill problem-solving ability in testers. In this way, the testers will be accountable and answerable for their work to the concerned person and also carry the responsibility and management of the end-to-end testing project. Project Management skill also plays an important role to promote a sense of responsibility.
This way, the tester can improve the entire testing process and deliver quality results to the client.
10. Basic Programming Knowledge
When we talk about programming that doesn't mean that every tester should work as a developer. But it's really very important to understand the insights of the application so that it becomes very easy for a tester to understand its functionality and create tests accordingly. The basic knowledge of programming will help testers to identify possible errors in the application code which further reduces the chances of bugs and application inefficiencies. Somewhat, it's advisable for every tester to learn at least a few programming languages since there are good chances for them to know the workarounds of the application.
11. General Operating Systems Knowledge
This also includes core IT skills. And if you are keen to learn and explore more in your field, you will find it easy to learn and use new operating systems. Of course, it’s mandatory to learn OS - Windows, Linux and Mac, know what are the basic differences across desktop OSs and just spot the difference.
On the mobile platform, it’s also good to be familiar with iOS and Android. Since wearable devices are booming, you should sneak into the scene - Tizen and Android Wear OS.
12. Domain knowledge
Having knowledge of different domains is very essential for every QA or software tester. Testers can become more creative with the knowledge of software testing domains. So, it helps in increasing the value of the software product. Having good domain knowledge, it assists every tester in an improved manner to have a clear understanding of the testing techniques which are required by the client or which meet the client requirement. Being the knowledge of multiple domains for every QA also opens the door of multiple jobs as sometimes some clients require people who have domain expertise in a specific domain like Legal, Health, Finance and Banking, etc.
So, it is important for every tester to balance all the skill activities so that all product aspects will get addressed.
Regardless of the educational background and years of experience, testers should always strive to learn and improve their technical software testing skills and knowledge. Be it self-learning or engaging in a training program, testers should always be eager to learn more methods and processes to improve their performance in testing and keep implementing the new skills and learning to keep themselves ahead of the completion.