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Monday, May 30, 2011

Steps to become a better software tester - can do these over a period of time - Part 1

If you are a good software tester, it shows in your career graph. In most cases, the manager of the software testing team will be able to recognize when a tester prepares extensive test cases and covers as much of the testing field as anybody can. Further, when you take feedback from the development team, they are also able to provide feedback that such a person is indeed the one with whom they would like to work, since such a skilled tester will be able to ensure that their feature is as rock solid as possible (such a tester would have identified as many bugs as possible in their feature, and early).
Anybody can be a good tester, as long as the person is determined to make improvements and consistently follow a number of steps. Do these, improve yourself, and you will find that your popularity, your prestige will go up, and so will the respect that other people have for you.
- When such a tester reports defects, provide as much relevant information as possible. The worst kind of tester is somebody who reports just the exact defect; if you want improvement, report the consistency with which the defect happens; report the steps that lead to the defect, report any input and output parameters. When a developer receives all such information, it helps them to reproduce the defect easily which in turn leads to faster fixing of the defect. If a tester is uncooperative or does not provide all this information, they will find that developers hesitate to work with them.
- Note whether the defect could be because of the system configuration. I have seen this many times. When the tester finds a defect, the better ones are able to estimate whether this is a defect in the functionality, or could have happened because an earlier build was on the system or there was some other similar problem. In such cases, the skilled tester will try the problem on another system and see whether it can be reproduced there as well.
- Overall improving the system. When somebody designs a set of processes, they do it based on some experience as well as how they would like the system to work. When somebody works as per the system, they can always find improvements in how they would like the system to work. A good tester will be appreciated by their manager if they can find improvements in the system and processes. This leads to them developing a reputation for somebody who thinks, which is a very useful reputation to develop.

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