Software Testing as a Career Path: Ultimate Guide for Beginners

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Software testing lies at the heart of software development. When developing software, it is nearly impossible to create the perfect software on the first try. In addition to that, the end product is often harshly critiqued. To reduce the embarrassment of failed software, developers adopt software testing.

Different software development firms adopt different System Development Life Cycles approaches. All these different methodologies have a dedicated period for software testing.

Methods of Software Testing

There are three main methods of testing software. These are manual, continuous, and automatic testing.

1.    Manual Testing

As the name suggests, it demands that the quality assurance (QA) analyst looks for errors and bugs themselves. The testers develop test cases and test reports without any software or testing tools. It is done by experienced testers that have experience in the field.

The commonly used methods of manual testing include:

  1. Equivalence partitioning
  2. Boundary value analysis
  3. Decision table testing
  4. Ad-Hoc testing
  5. Use case testing

These methods can be combined to yield better results and provide accurate results.

2.    Automatic Testing

On the other side, automatic testing allows a tester to write code or test scripts executed automatically by various software testing tools. The test process relies on comparing the actual outcome and the expected results. The results verify whether the software works as expected.

Most developers prefer the automated one since it gives better results compared to the manual one. Though the tests are automatic, they require some human input. However, you can learn automation testing easily online and become a tester yourself.

3.    Continuous Testing

This type applies the principles of automated testing on a larger scale. The overall effect is a better and more reliable product even during delivery. This type of test is done through the entire period of development and delivery of the software.

Software Testing

The goal of a tester is to find defects and problems in a product and assess if it meets its objectives. Observation and evaluation are crucial in this analysis. There are different types of functional tests involved like:

1.    Unit Testing

This type of testing involves analyzing the most basic units of a program. The programmer is in charge of this test. It makes sure the single unit is functioning as it should.

2.    Integration Testing

This test focuses on making sure that the tested individual units can work together. The types of integration testing are:

  1. Top-down testing – Units are tested incrementally from high-level modules to low-level modules.
  2. Bottom-up testing – Units are tested incrementally from low-level modules to high-level modules.
  3. Sandwich testing – Also known as mixed integration testing, uses both bottom-up and top-down approaches.
  4. Big–bang testing –  In this approach, all the modules are put together and tested together.

The various types of integration testing listed above test the compatibility of the units that make up software.

3.    System Testing

In this test, the tester analyses the functioning of the collective group of modules. The quality of performance and service delivered is judged in this test phase. System testing involves a different set of testers from the initial testers. The change done is to improve the quality of the test by eliminating any bias. It simulates the use of the software by the end-user.

4.    Regression Testing

A regression test takes place after a new module is introduced to the system. The system is examined again for each new module to ensure that all other components are working.

5.    Smoke Testing

It is also known as Building Verification Testing. The smoke test aims to test the stability and functionality of the simple basic features.

6.    Sanity Testing

This tests the general logic applied when writing the application or software.

7.    Interface Testing

This checks and tests the communication between software.

8.    Acceptance Testing

This test evaluates the usability of the software for the end-user. It is usually conducted with somebody from the client representative to check on the initial requirements. Does the software meet the intended purpose?

If the client is content with the software goes into production and is shipped out. However, if their customer is not satisfied, this produced software is put back into development.

Additional Tests

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There exist other different types of testing that work hand in hand with the ones highlighted above. The tests ensure the usability, performance, and reliability of the system. They include:

  1. Performance testing
  2. Load testing
  3. Stress testing
  4. Reliability testing
  5. Volume testing
  6. Recovery testing
  7. Security testing

Some of these tests focus on the visual elements of the product. The process is done through UI testing, manually, or through automated UI testing software. Others test the software and how it manages under different levels of stress.

Qualities of a Good Software Tester

The process of software testing is long and tedious to the average human. However, this can be a walk in the park for individuals that already have the qualities. It would not take the individuals much to give quality results. To note just a few, a good software tester:

  1. Understands priorities
  2. Is inquisitive
  3. Is a creative thinker
  4. Is flexible
  5. Is analytical

The main job of the tester is to simulate the end-user, so these qualities can aid them to fit the role. Tests such as end-to-end testing require creativity to create all the different scenarios that a user can create.

Communication skills, agility, teamwork, and passion also lie at the core of a good software tester.

Conclusion

Software testing is very crucial when developing software. This is why software testers are in constant demand. As a career path, it is quite sustainable. The average software tester makes about $73,650 per year. More experienced testers make about $113,217 per year. 

If you plan on getting into the field of Software Testing, it is advisable to research what would work for you. The field is large, so it is easy to get into something that does not work for you if money is your motivation.

All in all, software testing is sustainable. With the development of more software testing tools for web testing and other tests, the task is easier.

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