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Saturday, March 24, 2012

What are different kinds of soft skills to be a successful tester / test manager?

Soft skill can be defined as a sociological term that plays a very important role in the success and personality development of an individual and can be related to his/ her following aspects:

1. Emotional intelligence quotient
2. Personality traits
3. Communication
4. Languages
5. Social graces
6. Friendliness
7. Attitude (whether pessimistic or optimistic) and
8. Personal habits and so on.

Why Soft Skills important?

- Soft skills in a way complement the IQ i.e., intelligence quotient of a person.

- IQ is included in the hard skills of a person.

- All these skills form an essential part of the occupational requirements for a job.

- A tester or test manager also needs to incorporate all these attributes in himself/ herself in order to be successful and enhance his interactions with the fellow team members, career prospects and also the job performance.

- The soft skills of a tester/ test manager can be related to his/ her ability of interacting effectively with the clients, customers and co workers.

- The soft skills of each and every individual combined together contribute to the success of the organization which can’t be ignored.

- This is the reason why the soft skills are being focussed up on as equally as the hard skills.

Soft skills are considered to be as the behavioural competencies and are more commonly known as the interpersonal skills and include:
1. Conflict resolution
2. Conflict negotiation
3. Communication skills
4. Creative problem solving
5. Selling skills
6. Strategic thing
7. Influencing skills
8. Team building etc.

Another Soft Skill

- Ability to participate actively in the group discussions is also an essential soft skill that companies seek in the testers and test managers.
- It is often the first criteria for the selection.
- Good communication and group discussion skills are the must software skills for the testers.
- The best thing about the soft skills is that they are honed for the professional needs but they eventually affect ones personal life in all the aspects.

So instead of just honing the technical skills, the testers require to focus up on building up their soft skills. But here we do not mean to say that the hard skills should be undermined. A tester cannot survive his job if he is not good at his technical skills. You need to strike a balance between both the hard and soft skills to make yourself a successful tester.

Some Important Soft Skills
Here are some important soft skills:

1. Discipline and perseverance
These two soft skills are psychological tools to persevere and make your efforts more productive. It increases the quality of your work and helps you focus well.

2. Reading skills
Reading skill may sound odd here but its importance will be realised as you deal on with the large amount of specifications and information every day. Testers have to deal with large chunks of information and a hell lot of documentations every day and so honing this soft skill becomes apparently necessary.

3. Negative thinking
Now you must be wondering what this is for. Well, negative thinking though works badly for the real aspects of life but it really helps a lot in testing while using tactics like negative testing, exploratory testing, fault injection techniques etc, since in such testing techniques, the tester to consider all the things by which the program can be affected.

4. Communication and interpersonal skills

5. Time management skills
These are needed since you need to make most of your time.

6. Effort prioritization
This is needed to assign importance to the tasks so that you an finish up all of them efficiently without messing up.

7. Attitude

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