Manual testing

The most important task of all time for business was to improve the product quality. Modern companies are constantly expanding their product range to keep up with the times.  And each product, whether it’s a mobile game, an application using AR and VR technologies, or even a software for launching rockets into space requires constant confirmation of compliance with the standards. iPhone SE cannot be worse than iPhone 11. And the Tesla’s new model armoured windows must definitely stand the crash test next time.

To ensure the quality, companies use a proven testing method. Testing is a process of checking the product for compliance with established requirements. It is one of main and most important processes before launching a product. What makes a good software tester? The very concept of “testing” involves not only searching for errors in the system. It originates in the process of project creation and often includes the whole development cycle and its main stages: planning, designing, creating and executing test cases. Here the main characters — quality assurance specialists or testers — come out on the central stage. They supervise the quality of software products: websites, mobile and web applications.

What does a software tester need to know? The testers can be specialized at different kinds of testing, have different levels of knowledge, possess various skills. However, their main goal in work is to verify and ensure product compliance with the declared quality. We will tell you more about the profession of a tester and the types of testing these specialists carry out.

What Does a Software Tester Do?

A software tester specialist is engaged in testing product components or the whole product for inaccuracies or development errors. Basically, a tester searches for errors, bugs, defects or any other problems the end user may face.

A tester works with the requirements to the software product. Programmers write code and develop the product. At the development stage, the tester carefully studies the documentation and takes part in creating the tests he will perform. When the development process comes to an end, the tester checks the product for compliance with the requirements specified in the technical documentation and correct work.

Technical testers can work in the development team and perform functional test as well as non-functional testing of a number of technical products using manual and automation testing methods.

What does an automation tester do? Anyone who is far from the profession may be mistaken and think that the tester is a person with boring, monotonous duties who constantly admits the flaws in everything; that all tasks are of the same type and there are no career prospects for such specialists. However, we strongly disagree with this! The increased demand for testers proves that we are right. It is impossible to launch a single major project without these guys. Let’s go a little deeper and find out what testers do, what other professions can’t do, and how it is possible to succeed in this sphere.

To get to know who is a good software tester, you need to understand the terminology a bit.  Here are the basic concepts.

Quality Assurance (QA) is a complex of processes ensuring the software product quality. QA integrates into all the main stages of development: starting from the project its testing description to the project release and post-release maintenance.

The QA engineers focus on the creation and implementation of various tactics to improve the quality level at the main stages of software development: preparation and setting of standards, quality analysis, tools selection. Also, these specialists are engaged in error prevention and constant improvement of the entire process.

Quality Control (QC) is the process of checking the test results for compliance with the standards established in the QA process. QC testing is responsible for detecting errors in a particular product and eliminating them. This includes code analysis, design analysis, technical reviews, testing and so on.

In other words, Quality Assurance ensures that the process is accurate and predictable, and Quality Control involves compliance monitoring.

What Does a Beta Tester Do?

In turn, testing ensures that statistical data is collected and included into the documents created within the QC process. This is how wide the scope of tasks can be for a testing specialist. You should agree that different tasks require different solutions from different testers.

Some tasks can be fulfilled by regular employees — developers and testers who are familiar with the entire product from its conception to release. Usually they perform Alpha-testing — checking of non-complete product version where not all functionality is introduced to detect the errors in implemented modules and functions of the future product.

The other tasks are performed by testers who are not involved in product creation. We are talking about beta testing when the product is completely ready. In this case, the outsource testers are invited. They are chosen among the future users. It is a great chance to become involved in launching of a cool product.

When the product has been already developed, and its beta version is available, the companies invite volunteers eager to conduct the testing. These volunteers (also known as beta testers) are usually driven by curiosity about the new product. To satisfy this curiosity, they agree to accept the opportunity to experience the consequences of the errors which have not been found yet (and therefore, not corrected).

Beta testing is also used as part of a product promotion strategy. Free distribution of beta versions allows drawing wide attention of consumers to the final expensive version of the product. Also, this type of testing makes it possible to collect preliminary feedback from a wide range of future users.

How to Become a Software Tester

Many people dream of taking part in software development and improvement by becoming a beta tester, but few of them know how to do it. Nevertheless, becoming a beta tester and succeeding in this field is much easier than it is commonly believed. Knowledge of programming languages or coding skills is not mandatory (but desirable) at the initial stages.

There are a lot of options to master the profession of a tester today. For example, you can individually learn from the books and video lessons, use articles from the Internet, undergo a training course in a company where you will see in practice what to do.

  1. Searching for a suitable vacancy. If you are oriented at a particular game or program, try looking for the developer’s website. The job for beta testers can be found in notices, advertisements and on the freelance and crowdtesting job platforms. It is a good opportunity to train your skills from home.
  2. Contact the companies you are interested in. When you find interesting projects, find out who the developer is. Just send them an email. Tell them briefly about your offer, testing experience and tester skills.
  3. Consider working for free. As in many sectors, pro-bono work is a good career start. The companies often seek volunteers for beta tests, offering a paid position to the most talented and motivated individuals. You can start with a part-time job.

What skills should a person possess to become a tester?

  1. Have a passion for work.
  2. Be creative, innovative.
  3. The ability to put yourself in the client’s shoes.
  4. Be able to analyze.
  5. Be attentive to the details.

If you wish, you can learn independently and master the basic level of testing in a few months. After that, you can try to get a junior position of manual tester in some small company. Today there are a lot of such vacancies. At first, you will probably face difficulties, because you will need to master in practice fairly serious number of tools and learn to understand the specifics of testing and software creation. However, remember, we learn by doing, achieve by pursuing!

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