Quality Assurance (QA) testing isn’t for everyone. You have to be able to pay close attention to details, have a passion for breaking things (including code), and be able to communicate what is wrong and how to recreate the issue. Simply telling the developer “this button doesn’t work” is not enough.
Here are some of the skills that a good QA Tester should have:
- Stick to a Process – When you are testing software you should have a plan, or a road map, if you will, of the order you are going to test things. For example, if you are testing a website, make sure that you have a start and an end point and go through the pages in an orderly fashion. You don’t want to skip around too much or you may miss a couple of pages that needed to be tested.
- Have the Assumption That Something Is Wrong – By assuming that something is wrong with what you are testing, you are more likely to find something that you may have overlooked if you didn’t have this assumption. If the software or product that you are testing looks good on the surface, this assumption could push you the extra mile to find that one thing that is wrong.
- Attention To Detail – I can’t stress this one enough! You must be able to find things that others can’t by focusing on every detail of what you are testing. Without this skill, it is hard to be a good QA tester.
- Think Like the User – When software is created, the developer thinks like a developer, they do not always think what the user will do. As a QA Tester it is your job to think like the User. When you put on your User thinking cap, you may discover screens that are not intuitive which could cause potential confusion or frustration, perform processes in a different order than intended causing errors to be revealed, or even find broken links/images/functionality.
- List Detailed Steps to Recreate Issues – If you can find errors in the code…that’s great! But if you aren’t able to recreate them, then of what use are your notes? The developer can get frustrated trying to get the error to occur in order to fix the issue and not to mention waste a lot of time. So don’t just jot down the issue, make sure you write down the steps to recreate it!
- Screenshots – I assume you have heard the saying a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, in QA testing, screenshots are very helpful to the developer to show issues, especially if they are visual issues, such as something wrong with the User Interface (UI).
- Provide Examples – Providing examples to the developer of what data you entered or used to break the software is essential for the developer to be able to recreate the issue themselves to quickly research and fix the problem. There may be something unique about the data you used or entered that will break the code.
- Log Issues – It is important to log issues (and responses for that matter). I suggest you use a ticketing system such as Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server (TFS), but any ticketing system will work. Ticketing software is beneficial in that you can keep track of the issues and who is assigned to fix them, as well as keep it for historical purposes in case the issue happens again, so you will be able to find a solution faster.