What makes a good software tester?
Software testing engineers are responsible for ensuring that software programs work as intended. Whenever a new software program is conceived, software testing engineers ensure quality assurance by designing and implementing testing procedures.
Whether it’s large companies designing new solutions or businesses building or updating legacy applications, software testing is a prerequisite for evaluating the system. The International Software Test Institute—an independent institute that assists IT companies and professionals with accreditation—defines software testing as the art of investigating software to ensure that its quality aligns with the client’s requirements.
Hired by software development companies, software testing engineers are regarded as the final quality checkers before software is released to the public. The software testing team typically consists of a mix of specialists who can successfully test the software under development. Some companies may even choose to outsource software testing, which has its pros and cons.
While there are tools today that can indicate to developers if their software has issues, software testing engineers provide the much-needed human capabilities in providing feedback, whether on the user experience of new software or on any bugs and problems. The Institute itself offers three major online software testing certification programs.
Simultaneously, the demand for software testing engineers is increasing. According to Denis Sheremetov, CTO of Onix-Systems, the role of a software tester is gaining more influence both within a software project team and within a company.
“They are becoming full-stack software quality assurance engineers combining domain knowledge, testing experience, and technical skills with direct involvement in several developmental processes. The impact they provide results in higher levels of software product quality” he said in a blog post.
Software quality assurance and testing
So, how do software testing engineers ensure the quality of a new software product?
Sheremetov states that companies need to ensure they have a proper software testing team structure. He emphasizes the need to clearly define roles and responsibilities, and to ensure a hierarchy is well established and properly distributed among team members.
The typical responsibilities of software test engineers include:
- Creating test cases and documentation.
- Running tests according to the standards.
- Analyzing and reporting testing results.
“When the team is well organized the work can be handled well. If every team member knows what duties he or she has to perform, then they will be able to finish their duties as required well within the time limit. It is important to keep track of the testers’ performance. It is very important to check what kind of defects the tester is able to uncover and what kind of detects he tends to miss. This will give you a fair idea about how serious your team is about the work” he added.
Manual testing engineer vs automated testing engineer
There are two types of software testing engineers. The first is a manual testing engineer. Using human observation skills, manual testers help find bugs in a system that automated tests often overlook. This is a common practice for most software products being tested. The manual tester will follow a test plan for the workflow of the testing.
Apart from documenting all deviations in the software, manual testers also document test cases and suggest improvements to share with the team. A highly experienced senior testing engineer can also contribute to test planning, strategy, and approximation.
The second type is an automated testing engineer, often called a developer in testing. The role of an automated test engineer can be more complex. They need strong programming skills to create automated test scripts. In addition, automated testing saves a significant amount of time compared to manual testing.
In essence, the role of an automated testing engineer includes writing, executing, and analyzing automated tests, and documenting automated processes. They also work within testing frameworks that provide tools to generate test cases more efficiently. Skilled senior automated test engineers can build an automation framework independently.
Statistics show that the demand for software testing engineers continues to rise. In fact, software testing jobs are expected to grow by 22% by 2029, much faster than the average growth rate for most occupations. While the salary of software testing engineers is determined by their level of experience, the role appears promising for those interested in pursuing it.
Apart from knowledge in coding and programming, software testing engineers need to have relevant certifications and technical skills.
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