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QA Core for Executives

Career in IT: How to Become a Software Tester? Part 1

The article by Alexander Panchenko, Head of Complex Web QA Department, and Olga Demeshko, QA-engineer.

A QA-engineer is a highly demanded profession nowadays. The research made by Forbes this year proclaims that this job has been recognized as the second happiest in the US. CareerBliss lists a QA-engineer salary range of $41,000-$71,000 and up to $91,000 for senior QA engineers. This article provides information on who can embark on a career in software testing, what talents are necessary for this profession and what should you know to work for a QA company.

Job for meticulous ones

Let’s determine basic factors for being a QA engineer. A university diploma is essential but not critical since there are lot of training courses giving necessary knowledge and basic skills. The main characteristic that identifies the “inborn” tester is curiosity. Those, who in their childhood were really passionate about dismantling a PlayStation, and penetrating into a washing machine to see what it has inside, may be sure they can be good testers!

If you’re wondering how the every-day-life devices are constructed, your friends call you a scrupulous person and you don’t leave the work just because you are bored – then Software Testing is a good fit for you. Despite the meticulous character that testers have, do not think that QA is only routine and mechanical work. Certain creativity is always expected from a QA engineer. Intuition and great imagination are indispensable parts of the profession.

Apart from that your manager would expect some flexibility. If you know a set of standard checks and possible errors, you will not be able to work in testing for a long time, that’s obvious. Just try to recollect the way computers looked like when you were a schoolboy (schoolgirl) and note how little kids operate cutting-edge Tablet PCs today. Testers need to be prepared for continuous learning. New applications release, new operating systems and gadgets should be immediately taken into account.

Test… a pencil!

So, you have decided that this profession might be interesting to you. How to start? You can get a general idea from special literature and Internet forums. But in this case you risk getting lost in different opinions and viewpoints.

To find out what you will have to face, the senior testers offer to conduct an experiment – to test a pencil, a chair, a cup of coffee – anything that helps to a standard software testing approach. The aim is to be creative enough and to use another angle while doing your job.

The same principle works for mobile applications testing. It is important to check all possible actions that “a pencil” user might execute. But do not forget about the appropriateness of those checks. While the case when a pencil falls from a desk is close to reality, its cutting with a chopper is clearly not. If you manage to come up with a lot of scenarios of such unusual testing you have successfully passed the first exam to go into the profession.

Read the second part here.

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