Software Testing Jobs

Software testing and Quality Assurance is a hot career field. Here is a guide to gettin a job testing software.

Software Testing, sometimes called Software Quality Assurance, is one of many essential jobs in the computing industry. Companies need people to write software programs, also called applications, but they also need professionals to discover defects in these applications--before the customer does.

Some skills needed by software testers are

1. General knowledge of computers

2. Familiarity with how software is put together

3. Knowledge of general testing principles

4. People skills

Get General Knowledge of Computers

You can get some of this knowledge by learning more about your PC. But, to focus your approach to help you land a job in software testing; be aware of what software you are using and how it functions. Go out of your way to learn a different feature of the software you are using at work or at home.

If you don't have a job that involves using a computer, (and many jobs today do!), many public libraries have computers available to access email and the Internet.

Be Familiar with the Software Field

Software is created module by module, much like a bridge is built piece by piece. In fact, one of the types of testing is called Unit Testing: testing these pieces before they are put together to make a complete application.

Browse computer magazines, both those written for computer users and for programmers. Don't worry at first that you don't understand everything. If you have a knowledgeable computer friend, enlist him or her to help you.

A course in computer programming, though not necessary to become a software tester, to my mind could give you the necessary background. If you do decide to take a programming course, try to focus on the big picture of how software is put together, in addition to learning about variables, loops, input output statements, and other particulars of how to program.

Gain Knowledge of Testing

Software Testing is a practical field, but it also has extensive theory. There are books available in a large bookstore about testing, many of them theoretical. You don't need all of this theory to become a software tester, but you will need familiarity with a few areas:

1. Test planning

Although test planning is often performed by a testing manager, an individual tester can benefit by knowing something about it too. Test plans cover such categories as which features should be tested, what resources will be available, and lists of computers and external devices (printers and so on) to test.

2. Test case design

The theory and methods of writing test cases so they are best able to discover errors or defects in the software.

3. Test Documentation

An important skill is the ability to communicate testing results. Experts such as Cem Kaner, in the book "Testing Computer Software," believe being able to convey this information in an accurate way is one of the key functions of a software tester, and one of the greatest challenges.

If test results are well documented, and done in a way that won't hinder the relationships between the test department, management, and software developers; defects can be fixed and the quality of the software improved.

People Skills

As for many jobs in the business world, being able to work easily with people is helpful when testing software. The person who "blows the whistle" on defects or problems is not always the most popular person in an organization, and the software tester often has this role. That's why the politics of the organization can occasionally become as important as the testing skill of the professional.

If you can be honest about problems you may have discovered, and communicate them without blame, you and your relationships within the company will benefit.

There are many funcions and sub-functions within the computer industry in addition to computer programming. Software testing is one field in which people willing to learn can get into the computer field and advance, while exercising many of the same analytical and practical skills as programmers. And you will be well paid for your work.

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