A Career in Software Testing: Tester Qualifications, Salary & Future

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Software Testing is a fast-growing field and if you are one of the thousands of aspirants looking to build a career in it, this Software Testing Career guide will help you understand what the testing job is all about and what salary testing jobs provide.

What is Software Testing?

Walk into any clothes showroom in a mall, and you will notice a room with "Testing" written on its door where you can check whether or not the clothes you like fit you, or look good on you.

The word 'testing' is used to determine whether a product satisfies someone's requirement or not. The job of a Software Tester, similarly, is to check whether the software functions as per customers' requirements/specifications and to report errors and anomalies if it doesn't.

How to Become a Software Tester?

Unlike what many people say, you don't have to be a Bachelor in Computer Science, or in any other form of Engineering to be a Software Tester. If you have relevant experience, sufficient exposure to different technologies, and enough expertise in operating various testing platforms, you can become a tester even without a college degree.

Technical Skills for Software Tester Jobs

There are some essential technical skills that a software tester should have to get a job in a good company in this profession. Let's discuss what they are and why they are important.

  • Operation of Defect Tracking tool − Defect Tracking tools, as their name suggests, are used to track defects in a software code systematically. It's important to maintain a log where records of these defects and subsequent steps are maintained so that developers can later check their errors. Testers rely heavily on such tools so they need to learn how to operate them.

  • Operation of Database Software − Software is written using millions of lines of code and all this data is stored in database systems. A software tester should be able to retrieve, add, and save information or changes into this database system, which means he/she should know how to use DBMS (Database Management Software).

  • Expertise in Automation tools −Automation is the future in software testing, so all manual testers upgrade to some Automation testing tool or the other after some years of experience. As a software tester interested to get into automation, you need to be good at at least one of these 4 scripting tools − VBScript, JavaScript, Shell, and Perl.

  • Basic Linux Skills −A software tester is expected to know Linux because almost every database and application server is stored on Linux-based systems, as Linux is a very secure platform.

  • Operation of Test Management Tool − Test Management Tools help software testers to standardize the testing process, identify bugs, and check their progress. Most companies use these tools so a software tester is expected to know how to use these test management tools.

Academic Background for Software Tester

Ideally, a Software tester is supposed to be either an M.Tech or B.E/B.Tech in Computer Science or Information Technology. However, the majority of testers are from MCA and BCA backgrounds. Having said that, it isn't a compulsory requirement to have any of these qualifications if you have software testing certifications like  ISTQB and CSTE.

Certification Exams

If you happen to be one of those hundreds of candidates who are interested to make a career in software testing but don't have technical graduation to their name, then you can increase your chances of getting employed by doing some very credible certification courses.

The most foundational certification for software testing is the ISTQB Certification in the Testing Field. This certification is a prerequisite for getting employed in most of the top companies. An ISTQB-certified candidate always gets priority compared to other competitors.

Salary of a Software Tester

The salary of a software tester in India varies widely depending on the company and job location. If we take an average calculation, then the annual salary for a Software tester (for freshers) is Rs. 250,000, and that for experienced candidates is Rs. 450,000. These are basic salaries, though; different employers might provide their employees with health insurance, bonuses, and other performance incentives.

Job Responsibility of a Software Tester

The average daily routine of a software tester involves going through client requirements, creating and implementing test cases, identifying and reporting bugs, creating and sharing reports, updating progress on database systems, and additional team activities, if any, as and when specified by the Project Manager or the supervisor.

Career Trajectory of Software Tester

The official title of a Software tester is QA Analyst where 'QA' stands for 'Quality Assurance'. This is the profile in which you can join with no work experience. However, depending on your talent and speed of learning, you can grow to the position of a Senior Analyst. Different companies have their policies regarding promotions, but a QA Analyst becomes a Senior QA Analyst in about 36 months.

The next stage after this is that of a QA Team Supervisor, and then QA Team Manager and finally, Senior QA Manager. After the first promotion (Senior QA Analyst), the subsequent promotion opportunities are generally available after a gap of 2 years.

Other Job Profiles for a Software Tester

As with every career, you need to start from basics, and in this case, you have to start working as a QA Analyst. Once you get enough experience, though, you can diversify your working portfolio by taking on different responsibilities, such as −

  • Automation QA Tester − You can become a QA Analyst experienced in working with automation software like IBM Rational Robot, Silk performer, and QTP. This job profile is quite valued as Automation testing is much faster than mundane manual testing, so Automation significantly increases your productivity and performance.

  • Performance Tester − In this profile, you will test for an application's loading speed, processing power, etc.  You will need expertise in software like WebLOAD, LoadNinja, StressStimulus, Silk Performer, etc.

  • Business Analysis − as a QA Analyst, you would be dealing with clients' expectations so many times, you will get the opportunity to speak to the client's representatives which will give you the business perspective of the product. This helps you in understanding business models and workflows, which are skills necessary to become a Business Analyst.

Ideal Employee for Software testing Jobs

An ideal employee for software testing should know how to break down a complex code sequence into constituent units to understand their functionalities. This requires analytical skills and a creative problem-solving approach. In addition to these, you need some more skills too if you want to make it big in Software testing −

  • Good Language Skills − As a Software tester, you should have good verbal skills, because the bug reports, strategies, and cases you generate will be used by people all across your organization. In such a case, it should be easy to understand your notes. As you will be working on projects that are yet to be officially released, you need to speak to clients convincingly, which needs good communication and convincing skills.

  • Time Management Skills − testing is a time-consuming job; there are no two ways about it. Keeping the exhaustive nature of the job in mind, you need to be good at allocating your work time to different responsibilities, and multi-tasking.

  • Ability to Adapt − Testing is initially exciting and challenging, but once you become good at it, the job might appear a bit boring and monotonous. These are clear signs that you need to upgrade yourself as a resource in the organization. You need to be willing to constantly learn new technologies that help you make yourself a better resource.

  • Ability to Take Ownership − In testing, there's always a requirement for people who are willing to take ownership of situations and deliver on their own. If you also can work well independently (instead of depending on a team for support), then you will do well as a tester.

  • Willingness to Perform − As mentioned earlier, software testing is a profession where qualifications don't matter as much as your talent for it. You may not have a technical degree to your name, but you can still make it big if you are dedicated and passionate about the job. Testing is a job that comes with a lot of responsibility, so if you are willing to perform, the sky's the limit.

How to Become a Software Tester?

You can always start with learning at least one Automation software like Selenium, one performance-testing tool like WebLOAD, and a test-management software. You need to get an expert level of ease and familiarity with these three tools.

Next, you can go for the ISTQB Certification. It's the single most important step for anyone trying to get a career as a QA Analyst. Once done, you can start looking for internship opportunities. Here, you will get the chance to work with teams and understand the demands of the job.

Keep looking for better job opportunities and keep upgrading yourself as per the industry's requirements. Soon, you will get hired by a good organization and then you can start your journey as a QA Analyst.

Conclusion

Many people are under the wrong impression that QA Analysts don't make as much money as developers do. There's some truth to it, for sure, but a whole lot of misinformation as well. There are many organizations where QA Analysis Team is held at par with the Developer Team.

Many also think that QA is a boring job with no bright prospects. We have already covered in the article earlier what good career opportunities are there for software testers. So please, avoid naysayers and put your mind to this highly lucrative and exciting career choice.

All the best!

raja
Published on 27-Apr-2021 07:18:06
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