Software testing simply comprises evaluating the workings of a software application to ensure that it meets the required standards. Because we are in an era where people’s lives constantly revolve around using websites and apps, developers need to ensure that those apps and websites have good functionality, a site interface with easy navigation and a good user experience. This is where software testing comes in. Software testers ensure this by running different test scripts to spot bugs and issues that need to be rectified.
Since basically everyone uses apps and websites these days, it’s no wonder a career in software testing has high prospects for success. Although it differs from organization to organization and experience level, there are different career paths you can pursue in software testing, such as; Test analyst/Junior level software tester, senior test analyst, Team Coordinator and Software test lead/Senior test manager.
So, how do you start a career in software testing?
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The first step is to get an academic background in a related field like computer science or information technology. Bear in mind that while a degree can help kick start your career in software testing, it is not entirely mandatory. In addition to academic background, there are some crucial technical and soft skills needed to become a software tester.
Knowledge of fundamental programming languages
Since part of your job as a software tester is to review codes/programs to find bugs and analyze technical documentation during project development, a fundamental knowledge of programming languages is important. Some of the languages you can learn include; Java, Python, C++ and Ruby. Good knowledge of programming is essential for the automation testing process, and most employers also require it when recruiting software testers.
Knowledge of STLC phases
If your goal is to build a successful career in software testing, in-depth knowledge of the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) phases is crucial. STLC consists of phases such as; Requirement analysis, Test case development, Test planning, Test environment set-up, Test execution and Test closure. During project development, these phases are performed multiple times to ensure the fulfillment of project requirements without any bugs or issues.
Knowledge of Linux and other OS fundamentals
An understanding of operating systems tools and commands makes it easier to set up test environments and execute test cases. Since the majority of applications and projects are hosted in a Linux environment, familiarity with Linux commands and operations is highly recommended. Also, testing processes like installation testing & performance testing require a fundamental knowledge of operating systems.
Knowledge of SQL Queries and databases
Sound knowledge of databases such as Oracle and MySQL is required for a proficient software tester since part of your job is to secure user data and also validate and authenticate a large amount of data for applications. An understanding of SQL queries is also needed to interact and examine data stored in databases.
Familiarity with software testing tools
It is important to have an understanding of Test management tools (Testlink, TestRail), Defect tracking tools (QC, BugHerd, Bugzilla) and Automation tools (selenium, Appium).
Soft Skills (non-technical skills)
Some soft skills that are desirable for a career in software testing include:
- Good logical and analytical skills
- Proper time management and planning
- Proper communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Being a team player
These are important for a career in software testing because not only do certifications validate your knowledge and skills, most software testing jobs demand that you have them. There are several software testing certifications out there. A good recommendation would be the CSTE (Certified Software Tester) and ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualification Board) certifications.
Keep yourself updated with new testing trends
As the tech industry changes, the software testing domain also changes. A good way to maintain a successful career in software testing is to keep yourself updated with all the current trends in testing. Some of these trends include; testing of security and mobile payment systems, Sensor testing, Cross-browser testing, Automation testing and testing in Artificial Intelligence.
So long as digitization and the use of software continue to grow, software testers will continue to be in high demand. It is safe to say software testing is a field that is here to stay. So, ensure to get yourself the proper training and certifications in order to continue thriving in your career as a software tester.