Software testers are often misunderstood and forgotten by those who don’t understand the process a software product needs to go through. After all, we tend to praise the developers, the graphic designers, web programmers, and visionaries who manage to come up with new features and tools.
But without highly-trained software testers, none of these would be possible. This role is well-defined in the production and sales process, and it cannot be removed, replaced, or covered by other specialists.
What Does a Software Tester Do?
In short, a tester makes sure that a new software product or an upgrade to an existent product doesn’t have bugs. It looks and sounds simple enough, but this is exactly where things start to become challenging.
Types of Testing
First, you need to know that there are two types of testing: manual and automated. Manual testing has the tester play the role of the end user, and manually check for defects, errors, and any other substandard situations.
In this case, the tester doesn’t need advanced knowledge of programming or software architecture. They just need to know the specifications of the software being tested and must stay curious and think outside the box.
Automated testing is a bit more complicated as the tester needs to devise a testing plan, implement it using a programming language, and interpret the results. Basically, you need to create tools that work specifically for the software being tested, in order to test every possible outcome in a short amount of time.
Now, besides the skills needed for manual testing, you also need to have programming knowledge, logical thinking, and deep understanding of software architecture.
The good news is that both manual and automated testing are effective, and companies need them both (sometimes for the same product). So, it’s extremely plausible to start your career in manual testing and upgrade to automated when the time is right.
The Job of a Tester
Besides the obvious, a person who works in this position needs to know how to communicate with the team. They work with the developers (reporting bugs or asking for more details), software architects, and managers.
As a result, you’ll be working with a series of technologies (not just your testing platform), and you need to keep up with the latest developments inside the project.
Also, software testers must be able to understand the audience of the product. They need to get in the end user’s head and approach testing from their perspective to recreate the experience a client will have when using the product.
Finally, your main job is to identify, report, and document bugs. This requires a heightened degree of curiosity, impressive perseverance, and a logical mind that can structure and use the information at high speeds.
So, if you’re a little too nosy for your own good and you’re always open to communication (even on boring subjects), testing may be just the right career path for you right now!
Why Testing is Fun
Now that we offered you a brief glimpse into what testing is and how it’s done, let’s talk about the ten features that make this a fantastic career opportunity for most beginners in the world of IT.
#1: It Is Challenging
Whether you’re working on several different projects at a time or you’re just bashing your head against the walls to understands why a feature behaves erratically, being a tester is challenging (for both manual and automated).
You’ll do some serious brain muscles, flexing your hemispheres in search of answers. It also helps if you love puzzles and have the determination to stay with them until the last piece is found.
#2: You’re Constantly Learning
It’s not hard to get the knowledge you need to start as a manual tester. With the right online QA course, you have quick and easy access to all the information. If you stay curious, learn hard, and get your hands dirty (aka work on practical projects), after a while, you’ll be a natural at spotting bugs and filing reports.
But if you want to upgrade your status and get better at this job (with higher pay, of course), you need to be willing to learn something new each day. This field is extremely dynamic, and it’s crucial that you stay up to date with the latest changes.
#3: You are in Demand
Did you know there is a demand for ethical hackers? This is, in fact, one of the not-so-common career options you get to take as a tester, but from a cybersecurity point of view.
The underlying idea is that, as long as companies will develop new software products, there will be a need for trained testers (regardless of how weird). Furthermore, as the new products increase in complexity, the demand will increase, especially for people trained in a specific niche.
Whether you are a manual tester or an automation architect, if you master your craft and make sure you stay up to date with the latest upgrades, you will always find at least one company willing to hire you.
#4: There is Diversity
You get to work on a wide range of projects, from all industries and businesses!
Just think about it: every software product needs testing. This means that a new video game that’s about to go viral or that cool, top-secret tool that’s been in development for years. You don’t just sit in your mother’s basement writing code; you actively participate in shaping the industry!
It is quite difficult to get bored out of your mind when there are so many amazing things happening around!
#5: It Pays Well
According to indeed.com, salaries for experienced software testers range from 89,000/year to 99,000/year.
Of course, depending on your responsibilities and streams of income, the numbers can be higher. But, even if you stay within the norms, this is a position that pays well.
Not to mention that it is easy to progress and increase your earnings within a short time interval after you’ve been hired. Testers with a few years of experience under their belt are usually promoted to different positions such as automation architects or test managers (to name a few of the available options).
#6: It is Rewarding
The main concern of any beginner in any field has to do with earnings. You want to know how much money you can make and how to increase that amount as quickly as possible.
But, as you grow and cultivate new skills, things start to change. The focus shifts from earnings to personal development, and you start to care about the moral component of your work.
Testing is one of those areas that lets people take pride in what they do and feel useful to society. After all, your involvement in the project is critical, and the good functioning of a system is in your capable hands.
#7: You are Supported by the Community
Just like developers have their own complex system that extends at a global level, so do testers. You find them on StackOverflow, Twitter, Reddit, and any other platforms you can think of.
So, when you feel stuck (which it may happen), you just need to reach out to a more experienced fellow tester. Of course, this is an exchange, so you will have to offer your experience and tips to other people in need of advice.
The community is also a fantastic way to learn about upgrades, changes that may affect the industry, and even get amazing job opportunities.
#8: It’s not for Everyone
While it’s true that you don’t need academic training to become a tester, this is not a job for everyone! Most testers start in different positions but feel drawn by the mysterious and charming powers of testing.
To be successful in this career path, you need a combination of skills such as in-depth knowledge of development patterns, deep understanding of UX/UI design, an analytical mind that can easily recognize patterns, and good communication skills.
So, if you are curious and have the technological skills, but don’t feel comfortable working with people at a deeper level, you may not have what it takes to be a tester.
#9: It is Data-Driven
We talked a lot about the need to be creative and forward-thinking as a tester. However, you also need to be proficient in computer sciences as this job is all about technology and data.
#10: You Get to Play with the Latest Gadgets & Tech
As a tester, your job is to make sure emerging technologies are up to standards and ready to be introduced in the commercial flow. But this also means you get to use the latest gadgets and mess around with devices that are not even on the market yet.
You are witnessing technology history being created, and you get to be a part of it!
In conclusion, if you have a curious mind and enjoy playing with the latest technologies, you may be a software tester in the making. Sure, it takes a lot more than that, but these are the main ingredients.
However, it is perfectly fine to consider your options. Choosing a career path takes a lot of thinking and analyzing, which is why you may want to browse this guide. When you take a step-by-step approach, things have a way of falling into place when you least expect it.
Just stay curious and don’t be afraid to experiment!