Behind every great software developer is an equally great tester. Once a product reaches a certain point in its development the developers must hand it over to the tester to see if it works (or doesn't work).
Testing plays an important role in the development of new IT programmes and many every day products, like cars and electronic goods.
So, what will I actually be doing?
It's your job to work as hard as you can to 'break' the new product to help the design process. You'll work closely with software designers and programme managers to understand more about what each product is meant to do, its key features and who will use it.
Then you'll run functional tests, customer scenario testing, stress testing, performance testing, scalability testing and international testing. The ultimate goal is to iron out any bugs and improve the quality of the finished product.
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The nitty gritty
You'll often be working on more than one project at a time, one product in first phase testing and another in its second or final phase. This means you'll work around the demands of the project rather than the clock.
If you're documenting the tests your typical working hours will be a 9am to 5pm day, but if you're running tests then it might be longer.
There are various levels within the testing field that you can work up to - these include software test lead, software test manager, software test architect and software test designer.
Money, money, money
Due to the high level of qualifications needed to become a software tester the salaries are very competitive.
You could start on approximately £35,000 and with experience earn around £50,000.
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The good points...
It's a buoyant market and good testers are in constant demand.
...and the bad
You'll be picking apart months of hard work by software developers, who might not be too happy about your criticisms. Remain tactful and diplomatic to maintain a good working relationship with them at all times.
Is there study involved?
There aren't many testing courses out there so anyone interested in getting into software testing must come from a software development background. That could be straight from university or from a relevant previous job.
Employers will expect you to have excellent technical knowledge of as many programming languages and platforms as possible and have a good understanding of the software testing lifecycle.
What training you need will depend on the technical products you are testing, and where you want to take your career in the future.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Software experience and knowledge is a given to work as a software tester.Other skills that employers will look for include:
- A natural curiosity
- A good understanding of the software development process
- A good understanding of the business approach
- Good judgment skills
- Good writing skills (for documenting the process)
- Good communications and consultancy skills
- The ability to work in a team and as an individual
- Good presentation skills
- The ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines