The QA Tester
The QA Tester is the heart and soul of the software development process. Each project team member has their role to play; each has their own unique challenges. The successful Quality Assurance Tester gains respect by holding the bar high, carrying the Standard, and being the champion for the level of quality (product and otherwise) throughout the organization.
Although not often granted the authority to officially prevent software from shipping, the tester is nonetheless in the best position to know the current project state at any given time. The final “go / no-go” call to ship or not may be left to the QA Lead, or the QA Manager, or perhaps even a project manager, but the input they receive from the tester is critical.
Is becoming a Software Quality Assurance Tester easy? Actually yes, it is fairly easy. There are many entry-level positions open all the time in the testing arm of the software industry. Even during times of economic slowdown, finding an open slot to fill is not really the hard part. With software development occurring all over the world at an increasing rate, there are now and will continue to be software testing positions open that need to be filled.
The “hard part” is keeping the job once you have been hired. Many companies fill their available QA Tester positions with temps. These hires are most often managed on a per-project basis. Although by no means the most efficient (or effective) way to manage testing, this allows a company to rid itself of temps who cannot cut it as a QA Tester as soon as the project is complete (if not sooner).
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Below we will cover how you can make the most of your opportunities as a Quality Assurance Tester. But first let’s answer some equally important questions.
• Why become a QA Tester?
• How do you get a software testing job?
• What do you keep a software testing job?
• How do you secure a career in Quality Assurance?
Click here to see questions that other readers have asked and gotten answered
Why Become a QA Tester?
If you want to join the software industry and get in the high-tech game, this is a golden opportunity for you. Even in a time of worldwide economic slowdown, the software industry is growing. New software is being developed every day all over the world.
What does this mean to you? It means that there is a need, every day and all over the world, for Quality Assurance Testers. It means that you can join and industry that is growing. There are more QA Tester positions open than the software is able to fill. This means that there are jobs open right now waiting for you.
You can be a tester just about anywhere. Either working on-site where the software is being developed or working via the web – as long as you have a computer and an internet connection – you can get started today. Software is being developed all over the world in all the languages of the world. And it all needs to be tested!
With an industry that has not yet discovered how big it will become (more and more jobs for you), development happening all over the world (location, location, location), why wouldn’t you want to be a QA Tester? Did I mention the pay?
High-tech jobs pay as well, if not better, than most other industries. Even starting with NO EXPERIENCE, your pay will be competitive. As you gain experience and hone your testing skills, your pay will go up and up. Only you can determine what your pay ceiling is. How good do you want to be? How much do you want to earn?
So why would you want to become a QA Tester?
• A growing industry (constant jobs)
• Opportunities all over the world (location)
• Technology-based pay (more $$ for you and your family)
When I think about the opportunities available today in the high-tech field, I am amazed that more people don’t take advantage of them. There are entry-level positions open every day that require no experience. I can’t think of an easier way to begin a
as a Quality Assurance Professional; the chance to join the ranks of technology professionals is in front of you right now.
To me the question is not “Why become a QA Tester?” To me the question is “Why NOT become a QA Tester?”
How to Get a Software Testing Job
First things first: Think of yourself as and act as if you are a professional (whether you are or not). You need to take this job search seriously – like a professional. Begin by doing the right things (however small) and you will end in the right place.
As soon as you are ready to take your job search seriously, grab your resume. If you don’t have one, then create one. Use our
Resume Help page
to tweak as necessary. In order to get your search off the ground, you will need a resume in electronic form.
Once your resume is ready to go (or is underway) get familiar with what a Software Quality Assurance
looks like. Gain an understanding of the lingo. As you read through job listings, look up the terms that you are not familiar with and file them away for future reference. This will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the industry and the technologies you will be working with.
With your resume in hand, get ready to start knocking on doors. Now, you’re not going to walk down the street and actually knock on doors. You’re going to walk down a virtual street and knock on virtual doors. Go to the big internet job sites and begin by posting your resume.
Go to CareerBuilder.com, Dice.com, Monster.com, etc. and follow their instructions to get your resume online and available for public review. Although you may not get much feedback from this work initially, this is a step you have to take. If your resume is NOT available, then no one even has a chance of finding it. (For additional help, check out our
Once you have posted your resume, create automatic searches that will email you when jobs that match your criteria become available. Most of the major sites have a way of doing this. Follow their instructions for creating at least one search on each site. Select the criteria that you need and save the search. Then each day (or week, or whatever interval you have chosen) you will receive an email from each site listing the job postings that match your search criteria.
Now, I did say that you could find a job that required no experience. So when you are conducting your search, make sure you keep your search results to a manageable number by including “entry level” as part of your search criteria.
With your resume posted and a few searches created, you can then also begin searching manually through the job postings on each site. Take a good look at what they have available. If you see anything that appeals, by all means apply.
In addition to the internet job boards, you need to get signed up with a staffing agency. As a QA Tester that is just starting out, you will need their help. A good staffing agency will be able to help you get a position so that you can begin gaining experience immediately. They will know which companies have openings for a QA Tester that has no experience. They will know which skills will help you and it is in their best interest to find a good match between a company and you, the QA Tester.
Read through the information on our
Software Testing Jobs
Video Game Tester Jobs
pages for information related to getting started with staffing agencies. Remember that they get paid by placing you in a suitable QA Tester job – they are there to help you. If you find that the representative you are working with is not someone you have rapport with, move on to the next one. If your representative doesn’t understand who you are and what you need, they will not be able to help you.
This is by no means a blanket endorsement of the company, but when I was working with staffing agencies as a QA Tester I had the most positive experiences with Robert Half Technology. The three person team that I worked with helped me tailor my resume to open positions, they were nice, they were responsive, and they were successful in placing me multiple times.
I certainly was a good candidate for them, but they made sure I understood the positions they were sending me to and they treated me like a person – not a number. This professional attitude was most supportive when I was trying to find a job.
I can’t claim that everyone will have the same experience, but since they were the most professional and helpful team that I worked with in my job hunt, I recommend you give them a try. If you are not comfortable with them, just move on – they do have competition.
By now your resume should be posted, you should have set up several automatic searches, and you should have begun to scour the job listings on the net. This takes time, but it is time well spent if you want to join the high-tech field as a QA Tester. Think of this as just the first step – one that will reward you for many years to come. For additional tips, check out all our
pages. There should be enough information there to get you started.
Impress From Day One
Once you have landed a job you will need to know what to do to stand out. This is because most entry-level QA Tester positions are staffed by personnel that a company thinks may have potential. Most of these hires will be gone within a few (maybe 6) months. They will be replaced by another batch of enter level testers, perhaps on another project, and the cycle will continue.
Your goal should be to make enough of an impression that you hang around when the company gets ready to cycle through the entry-level QA Tester pool. How do you do that? You impress them with so much skill, expertise, and professionalism that your
or Manager will regret not keeping you on.
How do you go about making this impression? You need to
learn to succeed
as a QA Tester. First, start (appropriately) with
Then you should begin by mastering the fundamentals – read up the following subjects:
• Learn about the
Quality Assurance Process
• How to apply
• Understand various testing
• Learn about the different
types of testing
That should be enough to get your brain started. Each of those subjects should be on your study list if you want to become a Quality Assurance Professional. When starting out as a QA Tester, remember that you will have much to learn if you want to stay in the industry. The world of technology can move very quickly. Each day, month, and year can bring innovations that will affect the projects you work on.
To survive in this industry you must be constantly learning. It can (and probably should) be a subject you find interesting, but make sure to always be learning.
Testing is simple. Anyone that tells you differently either doesn’t understand testing or is trying to impress you and sound important. In the beginning as a QA Tester, your testing will most probably be very straightforward. The key to your success early on will be in your ability to communicate, learn quickly, track every relevant detail, and report clearly and succinctly.
By testing thoroughly and measuring accurately you create a clear picture of the state of your project. In communicating clearly and reporting impactfully, you deliver that status to all project stakeholders. By mastering the skills of an elite tester, you quantify your impact, define your worth, and write your own ticket.
To learn the traps to avoid, the skills to master, and how to gain respect as a QA Tester from day one and every day thereafter,
take a look at this book.
It has over a decade of tried and true methods that have helped hundreds of testers succeed. The choice is yours.
To stand out as a Quality Assurance Tester, you must:
• Know how to impress from your first day
• Communicate clearly
• Measure accurately
• Report effectively
• Master the skills that will get you noticed
• Avoid all-too-common mistakes
• And always continue improving your knowledge of your craft
How to Create Your QA Career
Beginning as a QA Tester, you are in a perfect position to see whether you want to create a
career in QA
for yourself. This is a perfect time to discover if you want to work toward becoming an
You can begin to observe your QA Leads and
and see what kind you want to be.
As a QA Tester, take the opportunity to learn each piece of
Quality Assurance Software
that is put in front of you. As you learn each one, the next becomes easier – it’s all just basic logic.
Learn any and all testing software
when the opportunity presents itself. If there is a project that needs a QA Tester and they will be using a software tool that you are not familiar with, get assigned to the team so you can learn it. Seize your opportunities! Many people start as a QA Tester, fewer move on to Quality Engineering and becoming QA Leads, and even fewer move on to success as managers.
When you begin as a QA Tester, make it a habit to observe the software world you are entering. Explore the territory. Look for and seize every opportunity to learn something new and enhance your proficiency in skills that you already know.
To build a career in
Software Quality Assurance,
as a QA Tester you must have the desire to improve, the curiosity to learn your craft, and the integrity to stand against opposition and proclaim, “The Emperor has no clothes!”
If you choose to secure your employment future as a QA Tester, I wish you the best of luck. If you have what it takes to join this find class of professionals, I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.
Let Me Help You!
What do you want to know?
What do you want to know about becoming or being a software quality assurance tester? Ask me anything! What do you want to know about:
• Being (or becoming) a tester
• Being a QA Lead or Manager
• Managing a testing project...
Your choice. You ask and I'll answer
Previously Asked Questions
Click below to see questions that QA Professionals before you have asked. You may find answers to questions of yours -OR- You may have information to add to an answer that has already been posted.
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