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  • Writer's pictureCraig Risi

How to know you may be a Tester

In many of my discussions with people looking to get into the software development space, the one about who would make a good tester is a common one. Unfortunately, many universities focus on just teaching people coding skills or analytical skills, but not actual testing skills meaning that many people stumble into the role of software testing almost by chance before realising that they love it.

Whether they wanted to become a developer or were just looking for a career change and happened to find testing, there are many stories of people falling into it by chance, but not enough of people being told from early on in their studies or career, that software testing may just be a career for them.

But with so many potentially great testers out there unaware of whether testing is right for them, I thought it useful to perhaps put together a list of questions to consider about yourself that might help to identify if you are perhaps a software tester in waiting or better suited to the development or business analyst worlds instead.

As with all things, you don’t need to meet all of these criteria to be a candidate for testing ,though a majority certainly does help there could be other aspects that I’m also likely to miss, but for the sake of avoiding to be exhaustive, I’ve tried to stick with just the main areas I can think of:

You are known for process and discipline in your work

Software testers tend to be a bit more methodical in their approach to processors and meeting requirements. If you’re like this in other aspects of your life, there is a good chance you have this mindset to apply towards software development.

You can easily differentiate between business needs and customer desires

One of the valued skills that make testers stand out is their ability to interpret business requirements, to understand the technical aspects of how this can be built-in software and then also look at the usability of it and how customers may use the software design to look for design and requirement gaps. If you’re someone who is naturally able to look at a piece of software (or any system in general) and see flaws in it, then you may be a tester in the making.

You have an eye for detail and know-how to explain issues in a clear way

Testing requires a key eye for detail to look at the specifics of how something is built and to make sure that everything is covered. If you can easily see things that others can’t, spot hidden details or flaws in a set of instructions or rules and have a near-perfectionistic focus for detail, then that is a great trait that is bound to improve your testing ability. It’s not just about finding needles in haystacks though but also having the ability to read complex manual or rule book and easily explain it to others that makes a difference.

You have a passion for technology

Software testing requires a technical mind and you wouldn’t want to get into this career path if you weren’t passionate about technology in general. If you find yourself constantly finding interest in topics around technology, where tech is headed in the future and have passion for how tech can evolve and improve our lives, then that is a great foundation point to have as a tester.

You are curious and have a natural desire to know how things work

You don’t take things at face value but have a natural tendency to want to understand how things work. Not only that but when things go wrong, you want to know why and what can be done to improve it in future. Having this natural curiosity is vital for testing and a tester needs to always be willing to dig deeper into how something works or how a problem can be fixed.

You bring an end to end perspective to your work

Testers need to be adept at thinking of the big picture and how all the parts fit together. If you are someone who doesn’t just like to dig into the details of something but understand its part in a bigger ecosystem, then testing might be for you.

You know how to read between the lines and see the invisible

It’s not just the bigger picture though but the ability to find gaps and see things that others can’t Whether it’s the small things hidden in the detail or the permutations that no one has thought of yet, a software tester needs to be able to think out of the box and not just focus on what the requirements and tech are telling them ,but also see what it is not telling them and use this to unlocks gaps in design and test coverage along the way.

You are never completely satisfied with products and processes

As a tester, quality is something that you are passionate about and you are constantly trying to find a way of improving and getting better. You are not satisfied with good enough, but explore ways of reducing defects, getting faster and ultimately being able to produce software that is as close to defect-free and perfect as can be. If you have the mind of a tester though you will know that perfect is not something definite and a constantly moving goalpost in which you evolve and improve towards.

You are known for effective confrontation

One of the most important skills of a software tester is their ability to work with other people in a team to address quality concerns, and risks and often the need to stand their ground even when the rest of the team might not see the reason in it all. That’s not to say that you are unnecessarily argumentative or simply just a nay-sayer but are someone that can effectively help people towards sound risk-based decision making in a collaborative and data-driven way.

So maybe you’ve read this list and realised that it describes you perfectly. Well, you are then either a tester already or someone with the potential to make a great tester I which case, there may be a career change in your future. You can thank me later.



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