Software testers are QA experts who play a critical role in application development and put the application through the wringer to root out funky interface issues, poor performance, and bugs. To do this, they run tests of all kinds, user acceptance, scalability, functional, performance, stress – at different stages of the SDLC. Due to the significance of testing to the usability and quality of the final product, testers’ role begins typically from the planning and design phase and they remain involved throughout the post-release support.
Testers usually work on teams that develop vendor tools. Today, a lot of software is pushed through DevOps teams, where testing, development, and delivery are on a continuous loop using Scrum, Lean, or Agile frameworks.
Essential Skills, Background, and Education for Testers
It’s preferable to have a bachelor’s degree in CS, mathematics, or engineering but if you have a stable work history, a lot of experience, and a solid letter of recommendation or references, it’s possible to land a job without a degree. The requirement of an intermediate-level position is typically 3 to 6 years of direct experience in software testing, or some combination of experience and education.
Here are some skills you need to be equipped:
• Creating and documenting manual and automated test procedures and plans, executing tests, analyze results, and report on test anomalies and problems
• Performing software testing in all phases of SDLC
• Understanding of various development methodologies, such as Scrum and Agile, and software testing environments or platforms
• The process through knowledge of several software testing tools
• Being fluent in UNIX, Windows and/or Linux as well as command-line and scripting tools
• Multi-tasking ability
• Excellent communication (verbal and written) with customers, product management, operations, and development
Some positions require an understanding of databases and programming skills. Years of programming experience isn’t a must to be a tester though.
Software testers should have one or more certifications to prove their mettle and to get the attention of the recruiters. Most certifications are vendor-neutral and recognize skills and knowledge applicable across all facets of software testing. The two most popular software tester certifications are ISTQB Certified Tester and Certified Software Tester (CSTE).
Surveying Software-Tester Opportunities
Research suggests that the average salary of a software tester in the U.S. is almost $56,000, but it can climb much higher depending on your qualifications, city, and company.
Just like other careers, getting started usually means spending time on job boards such as LinkedIn Jobs, Dice, Indeed, and Monster. Post your resume on each site and set up alerts to be notified of new job listings so you can apply timely. If you wish to work for a specific company reach out to their HR to make contact. Leverage free resources such as Reddit, LinkedIn software tester groups, and other forums and online communities. They can be a great source of information about employers, software testing tools and leads to jobs.