Learn How to Become a Software Tester
Learn how to become a software tester, so you can join a growing industry that pays well and remains challenging through the years. The job security of software testers should be secure throughout your lifetime, since computer science and software design is becoming a larger part of the world economy all the time. Becoming a software tester requires knowledge of designer code, though it does not require special training or a college degree.
When the design team for a type of software has produced a working product, software testing begins to see whether the software works as expected, meets technical requirements, and can be mass produced to meet the business requirements. Verification of software standards is essential before releasing a new software product onto the open market. Verification has many different aspects, which we’ll get into later in this article.
For now, lets focus on the general question of what a software tester actually does, then we’ll break down their duties in more specific detail later.
What Does a Software Tester Do?
A software tester works with software in the development phase, testing to see if there are any software problems with the product. A software tester sometimes devises their own programming tests for the software, so a knowledge of programming is desirable. You don’t have to have a college degree to become a software tester, but you do need specialized knowledge.
The idea of the independent software tester is to yield objective criticisms of the software from knowledgeable users who have no connection to the design process. Software testing become a matter of stumping the expert, as the software tester applies a variety of tests and rigors for the new software. While you can never get rid of all possible bugs and glitches, you can test to make sure the software doesn’t have specific bugs and glitches.
What Is Software Quality Assurance?
Those studying how to become a software tester should become familiar with “software quality assurance”, which is the origin of the phrase “software qa tester” you see used by software test professionals. While software quality assurance agents and software testers often work together to rid software of bugs, the two are not synonymous. A software quality assurance expert’s goal is to make sure problems never get into the software in the first place, while a software tester tests the software after it is developed, to see what problems exist.
You’ll see people occasionally refer to the two jobs in a similar fashion, though. Keep in mind that some software companies group their software QA and software testers in the same department. Some companies don’t have software quality assurance, depending on the rigors of their particular industry.
Software companies have a software design team to design new software with a specific function. There’s often a separate software quality assurance aspect to this software design team, whose job it is to make sure there are no bugs in the software. Then independent software testers are hired to test the already designed software, to make critiques and comparisons of that product.
Software Test Variations
There’s a wide variety of software tests used to determine the viability of the software for the company and its shareholders. Below are the major types of software testing that takes place in the design process. Remember that testing isn’t meant to determine whether a product functions under every condition, but it does establish that software functions properly in specific circumstances.
Here are some software testing concepts you should be familiar with, if you are learning how to become a software tester.
- Functional Testing
- Non-Functional Testing
- Compatibility Tests
- Static & Dynamic Testing
- White Box Testing
- Black Box Testing
- Gray Box Testing
- Validation Tests
Remember that each type of testing comes with its own test procedures that may already be in place or that may need to be designed by the software tester.
Functional Testing of Software
Functional testing of software determines whether a software can perform a particular function. The software tester figures out whether the user can perform a specific task with the software, or whether specific programs or features work with the software.
These tests have to do with the scale and security functions of the software. “Scale” determines how many people can log in using the software at once.
Software Compatibility Tests
Another common software testing method is to see whether the new software is compatible with operation systems, web applications, web browsers and other application software.
Static and Dynamic Tests of Software
These tests are simple reviews and walkthroughs of software, and these inspection practices are often left out of the testing process. Dynamic testing involves executing programmed code with a certain set of test cases, and this testing process may be initiated before a software program is fully completed. Specific sections of the code are tested discretely.
White Box Testing
When software testers are given knowledge of the algorithms and internal code of the software, the resulting tests are called “white box testing”. Tests used in white box testing includes all static testing, code coverage and execution testing, mutation testing, application programming interface tests and “fault injection” testing, where you introduce faults to code paths, to see how the code handles the faulty producers.
Black Box Testing
When the software testers don’t have knowledge of the internal code, this is called “black box” testing. This specification-base test method has advantages and disadvantages. While the black box testers find computer bugs where the designers wouldn’t have thought to look, they have to write many test cases to test one specification, and some parts of the software aren’t tested at all.
Gray box testing is when the testers have knowledge of the internal data structures of the software, but tests using black box methods. When learning how to become a software tester, you should learn how to perform both white box tests and black box tests, to increase your marketability.
Besides verification testing to see whether software works right, software design corporations also need to establish validation testing, to see whether the software is what consumers want. While all software tests have a certain amount of subjectivity to them, determining whether this is the right software for the market is highly subjective.
Software testers are a part of this process, since they offer independent and (supposedly) unbiased opinions on design questions. These days, larger companies uses whole software testing teams, so an individual software tester may have one of several different types of jobs on the team. Below is a list of software tester job.
Software Tester Job Descriptions
- Software Testing Team Manager
- Test Lead
- Test Designer
- Test Administrator
- Automation Developer
How to Get a Job as a Software Tester
With that in mind, it’s time to focus on the task of becoming a software tester. The first step is to train yourself to become a software tester. You don’t have to go to a formal school or training course, but you do need specific software skills to perform the job. Many companies have a qualification test they want software testers to take, and an important part of getting a job in the software testing field is passing such an examination.
How to Become a Software Tester by Roman Savenkov
If you don’t want to take years of computer courses, one way to brush up on these specific skills is to buy a book on the subject. One of the better books on software testing is Ron Patton’s Software Testing, which goes for about $45 brand new on Amazon.
This book is a 400-page treatment of the subject, ranging from technical details to “how to land a job” tips. If you find the four hundred pages to be too dry for your tastes, then software testing may not be for you. Remember that software testers deal with computer code a lot, so you need to be able to work around words and numbers without it making your head swim.
If you want to know who Roman Savenkov is to write such a book, Mr. Savenkov was a software quality assurance expert for PayPal. PayPal was developed by the people at eBay to handle worldwide monetary transactions, so you can imagine the rigors of software testing the PayPal money transaction software underwent. Roman Savenkov knows his stuff, even if his writing style is a little rough around the edges.
How to Learn Software Code
If you don’t like the looks of the aforementioned book, consider buying Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin or Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction by Steve McConnell. Those wanting a beginners introduction to the concepts of computer codes might take a look at The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold.
Whether you read books, ebooks, learn code on the fly or get formal training in a class room, you need to learn the language of software code. Once you know this and you learn how the concepts of testing software, you are ready to become a software tester.
Build a Resume – Send Your Resume to Software Companies
Once you know software code, build a resume and send it to software companies around the nation. (Read more about how to build a resume here.) Don’t shy away from sending resumes to the big corporations, since these are the ones who naturally hire the most people. (Big corporations also often offer a high salary.) If you don’t have success with a major software corporation, hedge your bets and send your resume to smaller software companies. This is a good way to build your resume.
The resume is just a tool to land an interview though. Be sure to brush up on how to ace your next job interview, too.
Launching a Software Tester Career
Getting your foot in the door is a key to launching a software tester career. Once you have a job, the door opens up to the software testing industry. As I wrote earlier, software testing is a growing industry and demand is only going to grow with the years. Once you’re trained and have a little experience, you’ll find there’s no shortage of jobs to be had as a software tester.
Know that you know how to become a software tester, close whatever gaps their are in your knowledge of software design. Once you believe you can read software code and can test newly-designed software, start applying for jobs in the software testing market.
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