How To Become a Great QA Software Tester: The Soft Skills

“The mind is like a parachute: it only works if it opens.”

Thomas Dewar

Quality Assurance Software Testers are subject matter specialists. Their work focuses on the control, verification, and validation of products and software. They are responsible for identifying and reporting issues and faults prior to the deployment of technological tools and applications. They also make sure the final product is what the client is expecting to be. 

The importance of QA software testing

Here at WebRTC.ventures, we attach great importance to software testing in our development work and for our testing-only clients. We’ve even dedicated a whole office to it in Panama City, Panama. Testing a WebRTC live video application, in particular, is not as simple as buying a single tool or adopting a single methodology. The success of this nuanced and layered work comes down to the assembly of a great QA testing team. 

QA software testing is interconnected with all of the other areas in the software development life cycle (SDLC). This suggests that those who conduct quality testing must have a mindset that is primarily motivated by curiosity, which leads to a desire to learn new things on a consistent basis. In practice, however, this is not always the case. Testers, like those in any other field, are confronted with obstacles that, in principle, have more to do with our own abilities and attitudes than they do with external circumstances.

The QA Software Tester role

The QA Software Tester role continues to gain more ground as the software development ecosystem recognizes the need, importance and contributions to the final result of the product when quality tests are executed. Whether you are a developer, a QA tester or if you are considering starting a career in the wonderful world of software testing, I encourage you to continue reading this first of a two-part article. We will discuss, from a WebRTC.ventures perspective, the soft skills and technical abilities you need to succeed in the field of software testing. Master these, and why not, you might even become part of our QA testing team!

Great communication skills, both verbal and written

Communication is one of our team’s core values. We communicate with each other and overly-communicate with our clients. Every QA Tester must be able to communicate effectively with team members and with stakeholders. They must be effective writers, speakers, listeners, and readers, which all help in the transmission of ideas and remarks to both technical and non-technical persons in a logical and coherent manner. This includes updating clients on the status of their projects, reporting requirements to the team, communicating issues to developers, translating requirements documents into test cases, and preparing reports for management. You must overcome fear and insecurity and place yourself in circumstances where you can speak up—whether in meetings, emails, or Slack messages. 

It is also critical to develop an ability to listen. Listening is one of the most important talents we can develop. Active listening enables us to comprehend not only the other person’s standpoint, but also to relate to it appropriately. 

Another crucial strategy for communication improvement is reading. Begin with a book on a subject that interests you. Additionally, there are numerous online courses that will teach you some effective communication ideas and tools. One course I recommend is the University of Colorado Boulder’s communication course.

Effective communication is a skill that is developed over time; practice will help you enhance your communication skills. Apart from being acknowledged for their great test execution, the WebRTC.ventures testing team is also recognized for their strong communication and self-management skills. We now have projects where our clients demand solely testing services.  Therefore, we ensure that each tester has the expertise and tools necessary to provide an exceptional service that fulfills our clients’ criteria.

The ability to think outside the box

QA software testing is far from a routine or monotonous operation. Rather, it is a process that involves both creativity and an innovative mentality. In order to be successful in software testing, the QA Testers must have a high level of creativity and the ability to think outside the box. Over the last few years, the traditional perspective on software development has shifted. Agile approaches have gained a great deal of attention, but they have always been ingrained in the DNA of WebRTC.ventures. Knowledge-based approaches that stimulate innovation and creativity are essential for dealing with the challenges inherent in the software development life cycle, and in particular, software testing. 

New and useful ideas about how to test new software products must be generated throughout the development of new software products. It is at this time that the capacity to think creatively comes into play. In our QA testing lab based in Panama City, Panama, we have multiple devices available where our QA team can examine different test scenarios, evaluate defect probabilities, and look for potential remedies to achieve effective product quality by utilizing smart insights and solutions. 

Below, I list some activities that can help you to boost your creativity:

  • Create mind maps
  • Ask yourself lots of questions and write them down. (Try to find answers for them!)
  • Use analogies to explain ideas and concepts
  • Relax, Speedy Gonzales! It’s an endurance race, not a speed race.

QA software testers must also develop the ability to work on their own initiative. You will gain more confidence in your capacity to work on the assignment independently, without assistance from others or supervision from a manager, by following the necessary processes.

Yes, you are a project manager and sometimes a negotiator

QA Testers will gain problem-solving abilities as a result of learning time management techniques. Time and project management skills help equip QA Testers to be accountable for their work to stakeholders. And, to accept responsibility for and management of the complete test project, which is another important aspect of testing. As a result, project management abilities contribute to the delivery of high-quality findings, which in turn improves the overall testing process. Our QA team is used to working with software project management tools like Jira, Trello, Zephyr and TestLink.

Our QA Testers are typically involved in big or multiple projects and they know their priorities. Priorities are linked to negotiating skills because you need to know where and when to give in. Negotiation is not always necessary, but when it is, you must know how to bargain. A competent QA Tester can locate the essential points and put himself in the other’s shoes. You must know how to establish a common goal as a basis for reaching agreements.

Planning, documenting and reporting

Test planning and documentation skills are required for all testers in order to assist in the identification of the suitable requirements and the implementation of the appropriate action. It also aids in keeping track of requirement changes, verifying testing processes, tracking deviations, and reporting and documenting activities. In addition, a well-documented test process helps both individual testers and organizations in allocating the appropriate budget and resources to a project, which is why test planning and documentation skills are among the most critical talents that any tester should possess. 

To provide stakeholders with credible information about the status of the test project and the application under test, a good tester must also have great reporting abilities. It is through this reporting method that the overall test project is better coordinated. It also provides greater transparency to senior management in terms of test cases completed, problems discovered, release schedules and other metrics, allowing them to make the best decisions possible in the end.

Customer service is your compass

Our QA testing team places a premium on the client. To be a successful QA Tester, you must have a customer-oriented mindset. We ensure that we provide the optimal solution for each business. Modern test projects, in contrast to the old structure, necessitate testers being prepared to provide customer support and to think from the standpoint of the customers. The fact that they are a tester does not imply that they must always be in administration, as they are equally responsible for the success or failure of the test project. They must be ready at all times to respond to and support client needs.

Conclusion

QA Software Testers should try to continuously learn and enhance their soft skills and expertise, regardless of how many years they have in the technical field. When self-studying or participating in a training program, testers must constantly learn new approaches to testing as well as new methodologies and processes in order to improve test performance. They must also continue to apply new skills and learning in order to stay one step ahead of the competition. 

Keep in mind that having a clear understanding of the software development life cycle (SDLC) is essential to begin a career as QA Tester. If you consider that you should strengthen your knowledge of the SDLC, I recommend you take the Coursera Software Development Lifecycle Specialization online course, developed by the University of Minnesota.

Stay tuned for the second part of this article where I will talk about the tech-y essentials you need to know to become a QA software tester.

Testing & Ops Manager Rafael Amberths leads the work across our testing services.

If you have experience in testing and are interested in joining an exceptional team like the WebRTC.ventures testing team, I invite you to send me your resume in English to rafael@webrtc.ventures.

If you are a client and you are interested in knowing more about the software testing services that we can offer your company, contact us today!

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