QA 101. Four sets of essential skills to start your career in software testing and QA

QA 101. Essential software testing skillsHere are four sets of essential skills to become effective right away once you are hired as a software tester / QA engineer.

You should know:

1. How to explore software
2. How to apply black box testing techniques
3. How to generate test cases
4. How to file bugs

1. HOW TO EXPLORE SOFTWARE

Don’t expect to have a babysitter once you are hired by a software company. Most likely you’ll be given a software, e.g., web site or a part of it and asked: “Go ahead and test it”.

Your first step is to get domain knowledge, i.e., get practical knowledge about some subject, e.g., your website functionalities.

The skill here is to

Take a piece of software -> Start using it -> Figure out how it works or how it should work.

Many of new QA testers feel overwhelmed during their first days/weeks at work. Here is what you should do: try to get as much domain knowledge as possible. In order to do it: explore software and ask questions.

How to grow your software exploring skills? Use different type of applications: social, financial, photo, e-commerce, etc./ desktop, web-based, mobile, game consoles, etc.

Related QATUTOR article: Knowledge Of The Internals Of The Software

2. HOW TO APPLY BLACK BOX TESTING TECHNIQUES

Black box testing techniques are easy to understand, but sometimes hard to apply. Like in case with other software testing skills, only practice helps.

Three most important black box testing techniques are:

A. Dirty list – White list. You should be able to go from idea about test case to test case that makes sense. Dirty list – White list software testing technique starts with brainstorming and ends up with concrete testing scenario.

B. Test tables. This is hardest to implement black box testing technique, but there is nothing better to reflect possible logical flows. You should practice this approach hard, but results will be amazing and once you get it, you’ll have one of the most effective QA approaches at your disposal.

C. Equivalent classes. This technique deals with grouping of entry data into categories depending on the expected result. You cannot test if you don’t know how to use equivalent classes.

Related QATUTOR article: Black Box Testing Techniques

3. HOW TO GENERATE TEST CASES

Sure, we can test without test cases, but no serious testing can be done without test documentation. Main part of test documentation is test cases.

Consider these skills and approaches for test case generation:

A. Use crystal clear simple language
B. Be smart about the level of abstraction
C. Take repeating steps to QA Knowledge Base
D. Make test cases independent from each other
E. Make sure that test case is executable to any tester at your organization

Related QATUTOR Lecture: Lecture 3 – Test Cases and Test Suites

4. HOW TO FILE BUGS

Bug tracking system is the main communication tool of a software tester.

Consider these skills and approaches for bug filing:

1. Be curt, precise and use simple language when you write Bug Summary.
2. Add steps to reproduce. Once you added them, execute them to make sure that they will take developer to the expected result.

Related QATUTOR article: The Bug Tracking System

QATUTOR course will help you get practical knowledge and practical skills about all aspects of software testing and QA that I’ve mentioned above, plus MUCH more!!

Is QA for everyone? Absolutely NOT!

QA Testing is not for everyoneQA Testing is a ticket to software industry. No so often you can get high-paying job after a quick training. Not so many professions provided so many people with a chance to change their lives for better. In a way, QA Testing is a ticket to American Dream.

But if it’s so simple, why cannot ANYONE do it?

Let me ask you this question? Is dancing simple? It’s not rocket science, right?

Dancing is simple, but it’s not easy. QA is also simple in some sense, because main principles, concepts and approaches are something that most of average people would understand.

But when it’s time to apply the knowledge, there comes a hard part.

QA is relatively simple to understand, but hard to do.

Employers don’t pay money for what’s in your head, for your theoretical understanding of something. They pay money for concrete results of your work.

You can be genius QA theoretician, but if your bug summaries and descriptions suck, your theoretical knowledge has zero value.

Anyone can dance, cook, write or invest like an amateur, but few can become professional dancers, chefs, writers or investors, because you have to have what it takes to become a professional in any of these areas.

The same is with QA. QA professional is not the one who simply understands stuff, QA professional is somebody who is ready to put hard work towards QA profession.

The most successful of my students who joined QATUTOR without software development or QA background are those who have achieved something already. That happens because people who achieve stuff on their own are hard workers. And if somebody was working hard at the financial firm or survived the perils of immigration process, he/she will likely work hard towards QA profession.

I also want to mention two other aspects:

Aspect 1: Some people just don’t get it (QA). When I was just starting to teach I had a new student – man in his 40s, very solid chess player, let’s call him John.

Having respect for the intellect that takes to be really good at chess, I expected that John will pick up QA with easy. To my surprise, he couldn’t get the simplest things that the whole class was going through with ease. It’s a mystery to me, but it’s a fact.

Aspect 2: Some people just don’t believe it, – “It’s impossible that you can take 2 month class and earn good money”. Thousands and thousands took 2 months QA class and are earning good money.

QA has changed lives of thousands to the better. It’s not a matter of faith, it’s a fact. And I’m proud that I can help so many people to achieve their dreams.

Software QA Testing – your ticket to software industry

QA Testing as ProfessionEverybody wants to work for a cool software company! You change the world, you are surrounded by smart people, you make a great living.

But how would you join a software company if you don’t know how to code or if you don’t have a degree in Computer Science?

Luckily there is a profession that gives people of different backgrounds a ticket to enter software industry.

This profession is called: Software QA Testing.

What is it? Basically, there are several stages of software development:

First we should come up with idea how software should look or work.
Second, we develop the code to implement that idea.
Third, we test software and fix bugs.
Fourth, we release the software to our customer(-s).

Not only QA Test Engineers test the code, they also work on improving software development process.

The great part is that solid QA Engineers come from different backgrounds: finance, law, science, economics – you name it. You don’t need to know coding or have Computer Science degree to test software.

But how is it possible? It’s because the core of manual QA Testing is about

1. Thinking and acting like a user
2. Attention to details
3. Desire to find problems in software or in software development process.

In order to get Junior QA job you’ll need to

1. Learn practical aspects of QA methodology
2. Write resume
3. Hunt for a job.

QATUTOR is practical interactive self-study course with teacher support that helps you to:

1. Learn all important aspects of manual QA testing (Black Box Testing)
2. Get practical skills in bug finding and reporting
3. Show you actual work experience from QA perspective
4. Effectively hunt for a job using QATUTOR job searching method

Since 2008, QATUTOR course was taken by thousands of students from every part of the world. So many of them are employed now – they changed their lives to the best and hence the world was changed to the best!

We believe so much in the power of QATUTOR course that we offer Immediate No Questions asked Refund within 7 days of sign up.

For 7 days, you’ll have full access to ALL QATUTOR materials and if you are not 100% satisfied, your money are refunded instantly after your request.

Junior QA makes 74000 in California. QATUTOR course with teacher support is only 98.95. What are you waiting for?

Your first QA job: valuable experience, first QA experience, internal transfer, job market.

First QA job. QA Testing career.Question: After QATUTOR course do I still need to try and get experience? Or I can just start looking for a job?

Answer: That really depends on your previous non-QA job experience and on a job market.

My student just got employed, because he had strong background in finance – his primary value to employer was his knowledge of finance. Another example of this kind is the professional photographer who is Photoshop and Lightroom expert – any company that develops image editing software would love to have QA with that kind of knowledge.

Some students are already employed, but want to learn QA to change their job function and get transferred to QA department.

For many students, I recommend joining uTest community and gaining QA experience with actual software projects. Participation in actual projects makes a great addition to the resume and employers percept uTest experience as a valuable one.

Participation in beta-testing projects also helps you gain testing experience and improve your resume.

A lot depends on a job market. For example, my home market – Silicon Valley has been offering A LOT of QA opportunities and entry requirements are relatively low. Some other markets do have QA jobs, but their entry requirements are high as well as competition between job candidates.

IMPORTANT: You should really understand your local or target market BEFORE you decide to invest your time/money into pursuing any kind of career.

And as always, I want to point out that your attitude and perseverance are the most important factors. Myself and many of my students changed our lives thanks to QA, but those changes were defined by hard work, positive attitude and strong desire to join software industry.

It’s all very individual and I provide my opinion to students about their particular situation.