A Career in Software Testing – All you Need to Know

career in software testing

A Career in Software testing has become one of the most sought in recent times. The demand for professionally-trained software testers has increased exponentially. So what is causing this sudden spurt in demand for software testing jobs? 

Recent research reveals that around 6.3 billion smartphone users worldwide spend over 80% of their time using apps. To cater to this demand, software developers worldwide are making apps in huge numbers. 

However, with the rising cases of apps being rejected by end-users recently due to software defects and bugs and after suffering huge losses, developers are not taking any more chances. Hence, companies are making software testing a mandatory part of the development process to ensure that every product they launch is perfect. It has consequently caused an overwhelming demand for quality software testers.

mobile app automation

Career in Software Testing: software development process

The tremendous growth opportunities in the software testing field are attracting numerous aspirants looking for an exciting and lucrative IT career.

If you are considering exploring a career in the software testing arena, this article is perfect for you. Read on as we explore the various facets of the software testing career one by one and you will get answer of “is software testing a good career?” .

Who are software Testers, and What Do They Do?

Software testers use their specialized knowledge to ensure software applications operate as intended. Their primary responsibility is to ensure the final product has no bugs or glitches and that its functions run smoothly. Software testers help companies deliver a perfect, high-quality product to end-users and ensure that it is secure from cyber attacks of all kinds.

In a nutshell, this is what software testers do: 

  • Understanding the product’s requirements after discussing with clients and stakeholders
  • Developing efficient software testing systems based on the requirements
  • Creating test scenarios 
  • Discovering software defects and issues
  • Presenting reports to senior management about the findings
  • Giving feedback and advice related to the software’s design and functions 

Why Is Software Testing A Good Career Move? 

Indisputably, the growth prospects in the software testing field are tremendous and exciting. Under these conditions, a career in software testing would be a perfect choice for anyone dreaming of a fulfilling and rewarding position in the IT sector.

You can expect an attractive salary package as a software tester. However, your remuneration will depend on the company you work for. For example, the average salary range in the US would be $83,376 per annum, plus additional benefits like bonuses and health insurance.

For those who are in development and feel that coding is monotonous, switching to software testing would be a good alternative. For such candidates, their software development life cycle knowledge would help in their software testing career. 

Another advantage of this field is that even if you do not have IT experience, you can still quickly learn test automation skills. There are many online courses where you learn the fundamentals of software testing. Using that knowledge, you can enroll in other institutes that teach how to use testing tools and work on live projects.

You may also get opportunities to work onsite with clients for projects, which can be a great learning experience. You can opt for a freelancing position if you prefer to work independently. Many organizations prefer to work with freelancers rather than hire full-time employees. You may get paid as per your work hours or the number of test cases you execute.

Skills Required to Become a Software Tester      

To qualify as a software tester, apart from basic academic qualifications, you need a mix of technical and non-technical skills.

Academic Background

These pointers will help you know what level of knowledge companies expect from you as a software tester:

  • Having a bachelor’s degree in computer science would give you an advantage.
  • If you are part of any other industry, you can enter this field by doing a certification course like ISTQB that provides a fundamental knowledge of software testing.
  • Basic software testing knowledge and knowledge of different software can be helpful before you enter the software testing field. Knowing about computer operating systems like Windows or Linux and different browsers like Microsoft Edge, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox would be helpful. You also need to know about mobile operating systems like Android, Windows, or iOS. Having a fundamental knowledge of coding and programming concepts would be helpful.
  • Having an idea about software testing concepts like bug life cycle and the different testing types like functional testing, load testing, security testing and so on would be helpful.
  • Brush up on concepts related to software testing, like test cases, test estimates, and test strategies.

Non-Technical Skills

Here are the non-technical skills that will help you qualify for a software tester’s position:

Analytical Skills

Developing your analytical skills is a must if you are to be a successful software tester. Analytical skills help you assess the applications more minutely and identify specific problems in the software. Your in-depth analysis will help you provide suggestions to developers or clients on how to improve their software. 

Communication

Communication is a critical factor in being successful in the software testing industry. You must communicate with team members, clients, and project stakeholders as a software tester. So sharpening your communication skills is a prerequisite. You may have to prepare documents like test plans, test data, test strategy, and test results. So, your written communication skills must also be excellent since you will send daily reports of the bugs you find and details of your work plan for the next day.

Organizational Ability

As a tester, you will have to examine various applications at a time and provide reports on glitches and bugs within a deadline. So you must master time management skills and sharpen your multitasking abilities. It would be best to learn to prioritize work as per deadlines and prepare to-do lists accordingly.  

Quick Grasping Power

Testers are always expected to complete more testing tasks efficiently in little time. So you need to master the ability to understand everything about the software quickly, like its purpose, what changes have been made to it, and so on. Correctly understanding the application will make the testing easier and more effective. 

Team Collaboration

A tester must get along well with other team members and support them in the event of deadlines. Testers must communicate well with seniors, report on time, and promptly complete the assigned work. Maintaining a high quality of work should always be a tester’s focus. 

Software Testing Career Path and Specializations

Your career in software testing could look like this, but it can vary as per the company you are working for.

  • Junior software tester (fresher)
  • Senior software tester (2-3 years experience)
  • QA lead (5-6 years experience)
  • QA manager (more than 10 years experience)

In addition, there are more specializations you can explore as a software tester, such as:

Business Analyst

From a tester, you can quickly progress to the role of a business analyst since you will have adequate business knowledge. As a business analyst, you will be required to analyze and assess business models and workflows and integrate them with technology.

Performance Test Engineer

In this role, you will evaluate an application’s responsiveness, such as the time it takes to load or the maximum load it can handle under specific circumstances.

Quality Coach

This will be primarily a coaching position where you will train an entire team in different testing techniques and teach them how to employ them effectively.

Automation Test Engineer

You will be liable for automating manual test execution, which is usually tedious. 

Read also: Top Software Testing Trends to Look Out For in 2022

Software Tester Career Levels Explained With Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills Required

Career opportunities in software testing are increasing every day due to the automation and technological advancements seen in recent times. A software tester career earns you respect and offers tremendous prospects for advancement. 

Let us look in detail at the different career levels in software testing and the required skills, roles and responsibilities.

Junior Software tester (Entry level)

People with no previous testing experience are usually hired for this position. This role is sometimes also referred to as Junior Quality Engineer. With the basic qualifications listed earlier in this blog, you can qualify for this role. 

You will mostly be reporting to the Test Lead in your organization. 

Responsibilities 

  • Understanding customer requirements and domain of work; making a query list and sharing it with the Test Lead
  • Grasping the details of the tasks to be done and estimating the efforts needed to complete them efficiently
  • Documenting test cases as per the defined tasks and modules assigned
  • Reporting each bug or defect found while performing the testing. Tracking the reported defect and ensuring that it is resolved.
  • Giving suggestions on how to improve the product’s usability 
  • Sending a daily report to the Test Lead on the testing activities conducted and the present status of the testing

Senior Software Tester

To reach this position, you would need to gain 4 to 5 years of experience as a junior tester. You must have worked on multiple projects, identified critical bugs, and gained the ability to meet strict deadlines. Knowledge of different tools, processes, and methods is expected at this level. You will be reporting to the Test Lead.

Responsibilities

  • Attending test planning meetings to discuss high-level test scenarios, challenges and risks and providing suggestions
  • Assisting in the test designing process where high-level test scenarios are divided into minute-level test cases
  • Estimating how much time is needed to complete a specific task, considering all relevant factors
  • Developing proficiency in at least one automation testing tool, automating test cases, and delivering results on time. 
  • Identify defects in the software, report them and track them to ensure they are resolved
  • You will need to train junior testers on using the automation tools, understand the weaknesses of junior testers, and identify their training requirements

Software Test Lead

You will qualify for this post when you gain team management abilities and 5 to 7 years of experience. The skills needed include resolving interpersonal problems in your team and conveying to team members the work they need to do and the timelines. You will be expected to have proficiency in tasks like bug fixing or the estimation of testing tasks. 

At this level, you need to show leadership qualities and lead your team by helping them keep their commitments and resolve their issues. You will be reporting to the test or project manager.

Responsibilities

  • Build a team of efficient people with a variety of skill sets
  • Inspire team members to maintain high quality 
  • Identify training needs and convey them to the management
  • Maintain excellent collaboration with cross-functional teams and resolve disputes if any
  • Defining test strategies based on requirements, information and resources.
  • Scheduling tasks for team members and helping them test efficiently
  • Prepare an estimation of testing tasks and define the scope of each task
  • Communicating about quality issues and requirement changes to clients
  • Keeping in touch with the development team about relevant concerns and queries
  • Communicating to team members about the management’s expectations regarding quality, performance, etc.
  • Review the test automation framework developed by senior testers and provide feedback to improve it

Certification Exams

Here are some of the certification exams that will help you progress in your career as a software tester:

  • ISTQB: The basic certification that can help you get a good start on your software testing career is ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualification Board standards) learning program. It is an excellent course to strengthen your foundations of software testing.
  • CAST: You could also do CAST (Certified Associate in Software Testing), which helps develop proficiency in the best software testing practices.
  • CMST: The certification is excellent for those who work in quality control as a manager, analyst, or advisor.
  • ISTQB Agile Tester certification: It has great value in India and the US and trains you to adopt a result-oriented approach and achieve better results.
  • ISTQB Advanced Level Test Analyst: Experienced professionals, including automation engineers, software testers, and software engineers, can complete this certification to get better company positions. 

Read also: The Most Amazing Way to Test Software in 2022 – Automated Testing

Conclusion

Though challenging, a career in software testing can be satisfying and exciting, requiring you to solve problems, manage risks, and enhance quality along all phases of the software development lifecycle.

The demand for software testing career is excellent today and will continue in the future since testing will always be an indispensable part of the software development process. 

So, if you are looking for a lucrative IT career, then a software testing career is a perfect option since there are abundant opportunities for growth and learning. Moreover, it is one of the highest-paying jobs in the software industry.

Read also: Everything You Need to Know About Software Development Life Cycle

How to be a good tester?

To be a good tester, you must be innovative, creative, and passionate about your work. You should test the software thoroughly to ensure it meets the customer’s expectations. Additionally, you should have good communication skills, be willing to learn and be flexible.

How to enter the field of software testing?

To enter this profession, you will need an undergraduate degree in a field like Computer Science. A certification course like ISTQB will help develop your basic field knowledge.
Knowledge of software testing and different software will be helpful, along with some ideas about software testing concepts like bug life cycle and the different testing types. Learning code can help you tackle specific challenges while testing software. These qualifications can help you kickstart your software testing career.

How to switch your career to testing?

If you are from a non-IT field, you need to research well about this field and understand the requirements and growth potential before switching over. Get trained in the fundamentals by doing a certification course like ISTQB. Understand the different testing tools, frameworks, processes, and concepts like the bug life cycle.
If you are a developer looking for a career change, work closely with the testers in your company and understand how they work and what skills they possess.

What are the career opportunities in software testing?

Opportunities for advancement are abundant in the software testing industry. As a fresher, you will start as a junior software tester, then with 2 to 3 years of experience, rise to the position of a senior software tester. As you gain more experience, you will be promoted to senior levels like software test lead or senior test manager. You can even be a freelance software tester if you want to work independently.

Do software testers make good money?

Yes, software testers are in great demand in India and countries like the US. The average salary range in the US for software testers is $83,376 per annum, with benefits like bonuses or health insurance.

Is a software tester job hard?

Like every field, software testing has its challenges. But, you can become a proficient software tester with passion and creativity, a proper understanding of the SDLC cycle, and a willingness to learn. As you gain experience in testing methods, increase your knowledge of the different testing tools, and master the ability to meet deadlines, you will become more efficient in your position.

Does software testing career have a future?

The number of apps being released is increasing every year. Since, in recent times, many apps have been rejected by users because of defects; it has become crucial that every app released is thoroughly tested to ensure it is perfect. Hence, with the demand for software testers escalating, it is poised to be one of the most in-demand careers in the future, with companies offering excellent salary packages to candidates.

Which tester has the highest salary?

A Test Architect is a very senior position in the software testing field. The average salary for these experienced professionals is $142,912 per year.

Is coding required for software testing?

Learning coding would strengthen your resume since most organizations are shifting to automation testing. Most companies prefer candidates with a basic knowledge of programming languages. For manual testing, coding knowledge is not required. However, opportunities in manual testing are minimal.

Is software testing easy to learn?

With dedication, you can quickly master the concepts of software testing. Many online and offline institutes offer courses like ISTQB that teach you the basics of software testing. Even if you get hired as a junior software tester, you must be committed to learning continuously and developing your analytical and time management skills.

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