8 KEY QUALITIES OF AN EXCELLENT TESTER
“In God we trust, the rest we test” is a very popular line in testing world. Testing team or testers are a very important cog in the wheel as far as product development life cycle is concerned.
A tester essentially conducts prescribed tests on programs and applications for quality, design integrity, and functionality, before they are implemented. A good software tester applies punctilious testing methods and considerable end-user simulations to expose program bugs so that they can be eliminated by the software programmers.
What makes for an excellent tester? Along with possessing a very refined skill set that allows them to do their job well and add value to a development project, a software tester needs to have a few qualities that will make him excel in his field.
Although this is not a complete list, I believe following are traits that an excellent tester should have:
- The ability to analyse data and be curious:
Creating scripts, and executing them numerous times is not a big deal. A good tester does not limit himself to just testing, he analyses and understands the data collected from testing to study the specific behaviour of the application or the product. He goes in depth and fishes out the root cause of bugs and thoroughly analyses the test environment, test data, interruptions etc. He should find out everything about the product under test.
- The knack of good reporting:
A good tester meticulously works for hours together to execute a number of test cases, mark them in management tool, and project a status. An excellent tester along with that, knows exactly how to report it to be understood best. He reports the status to the clients in few crisp sentences as to what bug numbers he found and what will be the next action and not just how many tests were done during the day.
- The will to be a constant and quick learner:
A primary difference between a good software tester and an excellent one is the former is satisfied after gaining expertise while the latter leaves no stone unturned in keeping up with the latest in technology and automation tools. An excellent tester learns to create new ideas, and then form an experience that comes from constant thriving. The ability to grasp the essence and do it quickly is absolutely key.
- The ability to give attention to detail:
Often a software tester only has his eyes set for the glaring issues but fails to look past the obvious and find out small things that can have a trickle-down effect on the whole project. An excellent tester therefore is the one who pays great attention to details and picks out the little issues that affect the big picture of the project.
- The flair to communicate well:
A software tester is often in very close contact with the developers, business analysts, and the major stakeholders in a project. Effective (verbal and written) communication skills therefore are necessary. An excellent tester has great communication skills and therefore he has the ability to understand requirements, describe test criteria and is able to explain how to recreate issues. Apart from good communication skills, a tester also need to have the courage to vocalize concerns and ask doubts.
- Ability to think outside the box:
Any tester can get involved in functional tests and use cases but it takes an excellent tester to push the envelope and strive hard to think outside the box. Users always don’t end up handling the software just as intended. Thinking about situations that aren’t ideal, analysing environmental conditions, and doing case based test on applications are signs of a great tester.
- Highly adaptable to varying situations:
When a project is moving rapidly, requirements sometimes can change in a jiffy, features can shift focus and deadlines can move forward or backward. An excellent tester therefore has to be highly adaptable to different situations.
- Ability to code (programming skills)
An excellent tester will have the capability to at least read and code as to understand the intricacies of product under test. Also the reasonable amount of programming skills will help during automation testing as tester can create tools and snippets of codes needed to automate the manual testing.
The movement of the software industry has been rapid in a short span of time. People’s attention span has become shorter, there is a steep rise in the need for faster deployments and it has become tough to keep tabs on the rapidly changing technology. The industry’s need for quality testers is fast increasing and in this tough game, only the best will survive to do work that is truly worthwhile.
Any important or additional traits that need to be part of this list?