The career path of a software tester is not set in stone. One can take many different approaches in specialising and growing through software testing branches and moving onto other business areas. Some may start as a junior tester or a trainee and then move forward. Some may set their heart out as a QA (Quality Assurance) Consultant or a Technical Tester. There are dozens of possible paths that you can explore as a software tester.
Some people may advance into the stages quicker than others. The time taken does not matter as long as you keep building your skillset and continuously improve yourself. There is no ceiling to achieving your goal with a wide array of possibilities, and there is no set timeline. You can discover various paths and choose to work in a software field. In this blog, we shall dissect the career path of a software tester, the skills required, and career growth.
What is Software Testing?
Software testing is a process of verifying and evaluating a software application’s functionality and deciding whether the developed software matches the specified requirements of the desired results. It identifies and fixes the defects, bugs, and errors and ultimately presents error-free software. You can develop the skill to be a tester through Software Testing Training.
As a result, software testing careers can be defined as the pioneers of making a product bug-free, matching the functionality with the desired results, and ensuring efficiency through a series of verification and validation processes. For someone who aspires to flourish in the software testing field, it is essential to have specific technical and non-technical skills, basic knowledge of testing concepts, and a minimum degree in computer science or the equivalent.
Skills required for Software Testing
Besides diving into coding language, many overlooked skills are essential for building a software testing career path. Following are the technical and non-technical software testing skill set that one needs.
The overlooked non-technical skills may not seem necessary, but they are crucial for the tester to develop them successfully. The following skills are essential to become a good software quality tester.
- Analytical Skills
A good software tester should have sharp analytical skills that would help them break up the complex software system into smaller units. It would enable them to understand the complexity better and create better test cases.
- Verbal and Written Communication Skill
To become a good tester in the field, you must possess good verbal and written communication skills. One should write test cases, test strategies, bug reports, test conditions, etc., that should be readable and easy to understand by anyone. While dealing with a defect or a follow-up, the tester would require collaborating with a developer, which would entail good communication skills.
- Time Management and Organisational Skills
As tester works in a fast-paced environment, they should be good at time management, especially during code release. The software tester must efficiently manage the workload with high productivity and use a tester’s organisational skills to exhibit optimal time management.
A good software tester must have a great attitude to improve technical and other skills. It reflects a certain poise of independence and the willingness to learn and propose improvements. An attitude to detail-orientation would make the tester take ownership to complete a task without much supervision.
A software tester must have much passion in the software testing field to excel in the career. Complete involvement in the job requires passion and dedication, an essential skill needed in every software tester.
Whether you are a budding tester or a developer, the following list of technical skills are going to help you crystallise your goals.
- Database Skills/SQL
The database is an integral part of any software application where a large amount of user data in the background is stored. Organisations demand that the testers have expertise in database testing, maintaining quality, security and integrity. Data is stored in different databases like Oracle, MySQL, etc., in the backend.
- Programming Languages
Knowing one or more programming languages is helpful in software testing. Programming languages like Python, Java, Ruby, etc., are shared among the testers and is widely available.
- Hands-on Experience with Test Management Tools
Test management is a significant aspect of software testing. Without proper tools and techniques, the software testing process will fail. It enables the testers to manage testing related artefacts like test cases, bug reports, etc. Hence, it is vital to have a basic knowledge and practical experience of such tools.
- Knowledge of Defect Tracking Tool
Defect tracking tools are critical to the life cycle as it manages defects appropriately and systematically tracks them. The entire team of a product, including the managers, developers, and testers, should know about defect tracking and its usage.
- Front End Skills
- Manual and Automation Testing
It is essential for software testers to familiarise themselves with manual and automation testing. Manual testing validates software applications manually with several test conditions and scenarios. In contrast, automation testing is responsible for testing using automated tools that reduce execution time and increase quality.
Software Testing Career Growth and Salary
A software testing job is as enjoyable as it is challenging. In this technological era, a career with software testing has high prospects for success. Typical career growth in this field is by these standard stages:
- QA Analyst
- Software Tester
- Software Test Engineer
- QA Team Coordinator
- Test Manager
- Senior Test Manager
Those who have more automation skills are enrolled as Test Automation Engineers, Automation Testers, Quality Automation Engineers. Each tester grows from careers as they develop their skill set. A standard transition is from a Tester to a Developer, then to a Manager. A Tester can also transition to an Automation Specialist. Alternative career tracks as a software tester can be Business Analyst, Performance Tester, Program Manager, etc.
The compensation of a software tester varies from companies. An average software testers salary ranges as following:
- Software Tester - AED 95,000/year
- QA Analyst - AED 84,000/year
- Senior Quality Assurance Engineer - AED 1,32,000/year
- Test Manager - AED 3,60,000/year
- Software Team Leader - AED 1,50,000/year
Over the decade, the software testing field has undergone tremendous changes. Careers in this field have become more critical than ever. It has created different levels and types of specializations, producing a vast career path. With high potential for career growth, being trained in the latest software testing trends and tools will help you thrive in the journey of a software tester.
Jon Baleva is an IT professional with 20 years of experience in programming and networking. He is an expert in Python & IT Security domains as well as in Operating Systems (OS). He has trained professionals and students in IT Programming courses, Microsoft Azure, Linux & MAC OS. He is also a writer who writes on tech-related topics for various tech magazines in Philippine. He is now an IT Trainer with Edoxi Training Institute, Dubai.