Digital transformation is a significant driver of investments in the software industry. The demand for software focusing on digitization, process automation, and data analytics has increased exponentially in the past few years. Research states that the worldwide software business recovered from a modest drop brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to reach US$565 billion in 2021.
With such drastic changes in the industry, the demand for skilled software testers has also increased. Another research done by the Ibis World Group revealed that the QA and software testing industry in the USA alone is worth $6.8 billion with an average annualized market growth rate of 8% from 2017 to 2022. Such statistics show the vacuum such services are creating in the industry that needs immediate attention and how quickly businesses can address such challenges. In this write-up, we will take a deeper look at how millennials can contribute towards shaping the future of the software testing industry and navigate a career in this rapidly growing field of QA and software testing.
First Things First: Who is a Software Tester?
An individual who tests software for bugs, faults, defects, or any other issue that could impair the functionality of computer software or an application is known as a software tester.
Software testers use manual and automated software testing methodologies to carry out functional and non-functional testing as part of a software development team. They often have software development expertise and a solid command over tools and procedures for testing software quality. The software tester ensures that the program operates functionally and non-functionally in accordance with expectations set by the client or product company.
Unit testing, system testing, black box testing, load testing, user acceptance testing (UAT), and scalability testing are some of the methods software testers need to be familiar with to be successful in the field of testing.
Why Should You Choose to be a Software Tester?
Software testing is not for the weak-hearted; it is a challenging and rewarding job that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. If you are someone who embraces challenges and is willing to put in everything it takes to be on top; software testing is your career path.
On some days, the challenge is to work for extended periods, while on others, the challenge is to keep going through the same procedure repeatedly without getting fatigued to locate the one bug causing the entire system to tremble.
Every Day is a New Opportunity
The field of QA and software testing is highly dynamic. It changes constantly, and no one technology has ever been able to dominate the field of software development for an extended period.
As a software tester, you work with the fascinating new technologies being introduced to your sector daily.
In addition, the misconception that people who can’t code end up working as testers is thoroughly debunked every day. For instance, many companies providing automation testing services create lines of code to automate test scripts. As a result, working as a software tester does not include following a set schedule, as it has something new to offer every other day.
It’s Your Chance to be Creative!
You must be resourceful to identify that single test from various concepts and tactics that can prove a program wrong.
So, virtually every month, you can become familiar with previously undiscovered features. You get to create test cases and use your imagination to make sure you have answered any question a user could have. All of this calls for improvisation.
The field of quality assurance and software testing is versatile. You are not required to dedicate yourself to a regular desk job as a tester. You can work anywhere, whether it’s a convenience of your house or the nearby cafe.
Not only that, but you also get to meet many new people and have a great time! With clients, you get to discuss projects and share knowledge and experiences.
It’s Safe to be a Tester
Being a software tester is demanding and isn’t going anywhere soon. The industry is continually changing as new technologies and opportunities emerge. Although the platforms for testing have switched from PCs to mobile devices and the methods from manual to automated, there is still a demand for it!
There is a severe shortage of software testers due to the enormous demand. Finding competent software testers is a real difficulty for employers, and being a skilled tester in such a situation can earn you a respectable salary.
Offers Enticing Compensation & Potential for Advancement
There are excellent chances for career progression in QA and software testing. According to Payscale, the average annual compensation for a software tester in the United States is $55,565.
The compensation for newcomers may be somewhat lower, but that is to be expected. Naturally, the pay will start to increase as you move up the ladder. Experienced testers make roughly the same money as developers due to the fact that many businesses view testing as a beneficial, long-term investment, hence, they are willing to pay remarkable sums for automation testing services.
You Don’t Need a Degree in Software Testing
The best thing about a career in QA and software testing is that you don’t necessarily need a degree dedicated to software testing. It would help if you had passion, eagerness to learn, try new things, and the capacity to solve problems. However, it would be advantageous for you if you have experience in computer science, IT, or software engineering. With that experience, you may get an edge over the competition.
Sky’s the Limit
Software testing gives you access to many other job prospects. Once you have mastered manual testing, you can explore your career options by choosing to work as a business analyst, performance tester, or join a company that delivers test automation services to its clients.
Do You Have What It Takes to be a Software Tester?
Many budding test engineers worry about what it is that’s needed to be a software tester or worse, where to start. Below is a basic job description of an ideal software tester that you may come across on numerous job posting sites.
What Will You Be Doing?
- Dedicated individuals searching for a chance to demonstrate their manual testing expertise and their abilities in software test automation.
- Ability to comprehend, research, plan, and create test cases for the specifications while adhering to set quality standards.
- Create test automation scripts from scratch using automation tools.
- Execution of tests (Manual and Automation).
- Ability to operate in an agile workplace and collaborate with colleagues from different locations.
What Do We Need?
- B.E., B.Tech, MCA, and M.Sc.
- Approximately 1-4 years of experience in manual testing.
- Strong expertise in testing approaches, including UAT, Performance Testing, System Integration Testing, Assembly Testing, etc.
- A strong understanding of the most recent software development approaches, including Agile, Lean, etc.
- Minimum one year of professional experience writing test scripts using any automation technologies.
- Knowledge of automated testing.
- Familiarity with the Groovy, Python, and Java scripting languages will be advantageous.
- Excellent knowledge of test management systems like JIRA and ALM (Quality Center).
- ISTQB Foundation certification will be advantageous.
- Strong analytical and troubleshooting abilities.
- Excellent interpersonal abilities, initiative, independence, and teamwork.
- Ability to interact and communicate with different project collaborators in an efficient manner.
How to Get Your Profile Shortlisted?
Everything depends on acquiring the necessary training and education. When hiring software testers, applicants with bachelor’s degrees in computer science or information technology are the least of an employer’s priorities. Practical knowledge, technical proficiency, and qualifications are more significant. Although it is not required, knowing scripting or coding is a huge plus for businesses and could significantly increase your chances of getting selected. Now let’s get into the specifics.
As mentioned in the above section, there are some prerequisites to applying for a software tester profile. So how do you navigate your way? Let’s talk about a brief walkthrough of how to get started.
Step 1: Get Hands-on With Basics of Coding
Programming is usually the first step to moving forward to becoming a software tester. After all, knowing what the code means would make you much more productive as you will be testing software. Familiarity with basic programming ideas and principles, such as architecture fundamentals, algorithms, object-oriented programming, etc., is necessary. Additionally, you should be proficient in several languages and be able to interpret code in them. Knowing the fundamentals is crucial since they apply to all programming languages, although they keep changing and evolving.
Step 2: Learn The Particulars of Software Testing
The second step is to educate yourself on what QA and software testing entails. It would help if you were well-versed in the various testing methodologies and their uses. Additionally, operational knowledge of basic testing procedures, result interpretation, and reporting is also necessary. The way forward is to look for certifications and training courses online that give hands-on experience with the subject. Look for an ISTQB Foundation Level certification. The ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) certification covers the terminologies and concepts commonly used across the testing domain.
Step 3: Learn Performance & Automated Testing
Performance and automated testing is a required field in which you must master both the principles and the tools. The foundation of automated testing that the majority of test automation services providing companies deliver is the use of previously executed manual tests that are used into a tool that executes them automatically. This is a very efficient strategy if you need to perform numerous similar tests. You may need to look for online certifications and training courses that teach the basics of these testing methods.
Step 4: Learn Selenium & JMeter
When looking for certifications, start with selenium and JMeter. Selenium is a browser automation tool that allows you to author functional tests across all major web browsers without learning a test scripting language.
JMeter, on the other hand, is an open-source test automation tool majorly used by companies to provide test automation services that allows you to execute load testing, functional testing, and performance testing and measure your web applications’ performance.
Step 5: Start With Your First Gig
Start somewhere. Having a big-shot project at the very beginning is not necessary. Start with a simple task that helps you build your portfolio and experience. As you get acquainted with the tools and the testing processes, getting a job as a fresher in testing will be much easier.
Applying For A Job As A Software Tester? Here’s What Your Resume Should Look Like:
Fifteen Years Into Software Testing: What To Expect?
Once you have started your quality assurance and software testing journey, your growth in this field entirely depends on your potential to grow and learn new things. Let’s have a brief look at what the career path of your next 15 years in testing will look like.
1. QA Analyst
You would be appointed to the QA Analyst position to start as a fresher in this industry. Finding and fixing software flaws and defects will be one of the key responsibilities you’ll be handling. After roughly two to three years of experience in this position, you can be promoted to Senior QA Analyst.
2. Senior QA Analyst
As a senior QA analyst, you will be expected to write software test automation scripts or configure automation frameworks. This is your chance to level up your skills and make your way into a better managerial position. Connect with your seniors at work and ask for recommendations on what certifications you can take to upgrade your profile. Two to five years into this role, your next promotion in line will be of a QA test lead or coordinator.
3. QA Test Lead or Coordinator
One who is promoted to Test Lead oversees the QAs and testing process after gaining some good experience as a QA and Senior QA Engineer.
Managing a team and delegating responsibilities to team members will be one of your significant responsibilities here. You must make sure that your team completes all tasks on schedule.
The management will look to you to recommend the latest frameworks or technologies that will boost the company’s ROI. It will be helpful in this position if you are certified as an advanced test analyst or technical test analyst.
4. QA Manager
Post five to eight years of working as a QA test lead or coordinator, along with the necessary certifications and management experience; you become eligible for the role of a test manager. A test manager’s responsibilities include resource management, resource allocation, and overall testing process management. Ensuring the product fulfills the client’s acceptance requirements is your responsibility as a QA manager. You’ll need to oversee the team’s performance, inspire your team members to learn new technologies and ensure your team is capable of developing a successful QA services strategy.
5. Senior QA Manager
A career beyond the role of a QA manager cannot be quantified. The sky’s the limit for someone who wants to learn and grow. You are handling teams, and projects, driving revenue, suggesting new processes, and leading the entire company by this time.
What To Look For In A Company While Choosing A Career Path In QA?
Kickstarting your career from the right company is one of the most critical factors that will determine your success in the long run. Initially, besides a company that pays you well, you need an employer that adds value to your growth through proper training and overall personal development.
People here have polarized opinions on whether to start a career with a startup or a giant MNC. Honestly, both have their pros and cons. The kind of exposure startups have to offer may not be available in a 10,000+ employee MNC whereas the type of working culture, processes, and deep expertise MNCs cater to cannot be achieved in a startup. Choosing the right company can be tricky and requires intensive research. Here’s a little help on how you can go about deciding for yourself.
1. Check The Funding
Research the funding of the company while applying for a startup. Many companies usually update this information on their LinkedIn profile. Nevertheless, deep diving into the pockets of a company will give you a foresight on how stable your tenure with the company can be.
2. Check Management Profile
Look at individual portfolios of the management. Check their experience, past companies, technical knowledge, diverse industry expertise, and working styles. A glance at the recommendations shared by team members on the individual profiles of your tech heads is not a bad idea either. Remember, it’s the people who make the company and not the other way around.
3. Check Past Clients & Projects Delivered
The diverse portfolio of a company that talks about the projects delivered and associations with brands across the globe usually indicates the expectations of an employer from its new joiners. A company that caters to big-shot multinationals or product-based businesses expects expertise from its employees. Eventually, you would either be trained up to that level or expected to be at par right from the beginning.
4. Understand Your Career Growth in The Company
Though we have drawn a 15-year career path for you as a software tester, every individual company has its pathway on how they help their employees grow in a team. No pathway is good or bad, but ensuring that you get deep knowledge of your subject in hand before you hop on to the next level is necessary. Ask your interviewer what your next two and five years in the company will look like and understand if it aligns with how you wish to see yourself in the given period.
5. Understand The Vision of The Company
The vision and mission statements of the company are not just a mandate to hang on their websites. A tremendous amount of brainstorming goes into making those two statements that define the company and its people. Ensure that your career path aligns with the company’s vision to give you a secure and stable tenure in the company for years to come.
A career in QA and software testing is growing in importance due to the rise in software development projects. With advancements in software development methodologies and the increasing complexity of software applications, it is more important than ever to have qualified testers to verify that the applications meet the required standards.
This write-up aims to provide an overview of the career path as a software tester, why it is becoming increasingly important, outline the necessary skills and qualifications, and provide tips on how to get started. As a software tester, you will be responsible for testing the functionality of software applications to ensure that they meet the required standards. You will need to have a good knowledge of quality assurance and software testing techniques and tools and strong problem-solving abilities.