Facts and Myths About the Quality Assurance Industry
There is a lot of vague information, guidance and advice out there that can often create a misleading perception of what quality assurance industry is like. I have written this article and “How to become a Mobile QA engineer?” with the aim of guiding you on the right path and helping you to start your career as a QA engineer.
Fact #1 – Qualities matter
Whether you are suitable for the position of QA Engineer can be checked in a simple way’ you just need to have at least some of the qualities described below.
Curiosity and inquisitiveness – these are two very important qualities a QA should have. Often, thanks to them, we find a very large number of bugs that would be hard to predict.
Patience – retest, regression, regression, retest. As a future QA, you need to be aware that you will be testing the same application/functionality for most of your working time to ensure that the product you and your team are working on is of high quality and the target user will give you a good mark and the customer will be very happy with it.
Involvement in the project – QA’s role in the project is not only to check the app for defects, but also to continuously improve the process, alongside team collaboration, cooperation with the client and the app itself. Do you notice a place where the product can be improved? Do you know, from experience, that a customer’s idea won’t work or needs improvements? Your team messed up and you see places for improvement? Talk about it openly and get involved in the project. The client, developers, colleagues and the company you work for will appreciate it.
Out-of-the-box thinking – this trait combined with curiosity and inquisitiveness is an ideal set. It facilitates creation of very precise test documentation and allows to anticipate and find extreme test cases – the so-called edge case.
Independence – projects where there is only one QA are an increasingly common occurrence, so you must be prepared to work as an independent QA.
You can list a few more qualities, but in my opinion the ones described above make you more likely to be a good QA and even enjoy it.
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Fact #2 – Theoretical knowledge goes hand in hand with practical knowledge
For a junior position, you usually need the basics of ISTQB (you don’t need to have a certificate). From these, you need to know the types of tests, as well as when and in which situation you will use a given type of test. Applying acquired knowledge in practice is a very big plus on recruitment, especially as a QA. It allows recruiters to see how the candidate thinks. Your technical knowledge will increase with experience, so you do not need to learn the whole ISTQB by heart.
Fact #3 – self-study is ok too
Before you spend a few thousands on a course, try to find out on your own what the application is made of, what tools are used for testing, what are the types of tests and when to use them. You can learn more about how to start your adventure with testing from my article How to become a Mobile QA Engineer, which you can find here.
Fact #4 – our work is a continuous learning process
You will fail more than once in your career, you will let more than one bug pass, you will miss a deadline, and you will fail to check everything. You have to be ready for it, but remember to always draw conclusions, work on yourself and improve your skills.
Working as a QA engineer also means having constant contact with technology, which is constantly evolving, and in order not to fall out of the loop, you have to make sure you’re always up to date.
Myth #1 – Testing is the easiest path to enter the IT world
This slogan often appears in articles and courses, and it is very misleading. Testing is often the tedious checking of an application or its functionality many times. It also means knowing a lot of technical issues, and testing techniques, alongside handling many devices and tools. Quality assurance is also a very big responsibility. The final version of the application always passes through your hands and your task is to catch as many anomalies as possible. Nevertheless, you must be aware of the fact that your tests will not provide the application with a hundred percent protection against bugs.
Myth #2 – You will become a tester after the course
When I was recruiting, I often came across people who had completed courses to become software testers for a lot of money. They have two certificates, all possible tools listed on their CV, basic knowledge of two programming languages and test automation knowledge. On paper everything looks beautiful; a certified tester with ISTQB, armed with a lot of knowledge about tools and testing itself. I take such a person blindly for an interview for a junior position – this was exactly my attitude at the beginning of my adventure with recruitment.
Now it looks completely different, as we often take people with this profile for an interview just to give them feedback on what they still need to work on, and if they feel up to it in some time, they can send us their CV again and we will be happy to talk to them. Of course, there are candidates who can surprise us with their knowledge and who are really strong, but it is a small percentage of them and, if we agree on other issues, we just hire them.
What do I think about courses?
Firstly, they are expensive, providing knowledge which can be found for free on the Internet, and the money spent could be used in a better way.
Secondly, they focus mainly on theoretical knowledge instead of practice.
Thirdly, they create a false sense that, after the course, you will immediately become a tester and earn a lot of money.
Fourthly, I often meet people after the course who have no idea that, apart from web application testing, there is backend testing, mobile application testing, desktop application testing, pentesting and even IoT testing. As a result, candidates often do not know the differences between, for example,. web application testing and mobile application testing.
Finally, they talk about many tools instead of learning them.
Myth #3 – I use smartphone or computer apps every day, so testing is no big deal
This is a shot in the foot during an interview or on your CV. I drive a car every day, but I’m not fit to be a rally driver.
Testing isn’t just about finding bugs (which is sometimes not as easy as it sounds anyway), it’s about taking care of the whole product development process.
Myth #4 – I will gain experience as a manual tester, and later? Automation!
Automation is the most frequently mentioned development path by manual testers at interviews. This is not the only possible perspective. A tester can become a pentester, scrum master, UI/UX designer, developer, literally anyone, there is no limit here. It all depends on you and what direction you want to grow in. Your company should give you these opportunities, and if it doesn’t you probably know what to do.
I hope you will use this knowledge and one day we will meet in a project!