Any respectable software company will admit that quality comes first. And the guardians of the quality first approach are the Quality Assurance team. But while everyone agrees on the importance of the role, it can also differ quite a bit from company to company, particularly between product companies and software houses.
Quality assurance isn’t just about testing the product - which can be more accurately described as quality control. If you work as a QA tester, your role will be much wider and focused on providing confidence that all of the quality requirements will be met. This means your role doesn’t start once the product is ready to be tested, but rather begins with inspiring a quality driven approach in your development team.
Attention to detail
Similarly to a developer position, the role of a QA specialist doesn’t always require a technical background. However, there are certain personal traits that will determine your level of success in this area, such as attention to detail.
I use very similar skills in testing to those I used as an editor, such as patience, focus on details (without losing perspective on the entire product), analytical thinking and constant curiosity :) The rest is tools, knowledge and experience that can be acquired and deepened every day.
Sometimes it’s exactly that attention to detail that helps someone realise they could be working in testing. But let’s not get carried away with stereotypes. Not all QA engineers are lifelong perfectionists, trying to adjust life in all its aspects to their high requirements. As in the case of Anastasiia, some simply fall into the field, which doesn’t prevent them from having a successful career.
There is no beautiful story about me being a perfectionist or loving the quality of stuff. I started to work as QA when I was finishing my last year of studies here in Poland, before that I did a few freelance projects. (...) When people ask me if I would change something I say definitely no, for now I am at the right place.
Analytical and communication skills
What makes the role of a QA tricky is the combination of analytical and communication skills. In the end, a great QAer doesn’t just get buried in documentation, they have to advocate for a quality first approach to development. This in turn requires building relationships with everyone on the team, and strong persuasion skills.
I really enjoy the fact that testing requires a combination of soft skills and technical knowledge. I think every good QAer should have a high level of technological awareness, they should know a lot of tools but on the other hand, they need to be able to deliver feedback the right way to avoid any problems.
Delivering feedback is certainly something you can learn, but it is a much easier skill to acquire if you are what is often described as a “people” person. Emotional intelligence, a high level of empathy and the ability to influence others - these are great traits in a QA tester.
Quality assurance in a software house
In a software house, the role of a QA specialist can be particularly demanding. You need to understand how important it is to help our clients avoid system bugs, UX issues and a whole host of seemingly small errors which may result in larger problems.
Typically, the QA/tester is associated with bug tracking, reporting, etc. And it is basically a big part of the daily QA/tester’s work. However, I can use my experience to prevent bugs by raising concerns about features that are not yet implemented.
This is a challenging task, especially when the client is unfamiliar with the QA role.
There are projects in which you'll be the first tester, which is why you need to educate your colleagues, define the testing structure in your projects and make sure people are not disregarding it.
Autonomy and variety
There are some surprises you can expect when joining a software house. Here at 10Clouds, autonomy is one of our values and it does guarantee a certain level of responsibility that we all enjoy. That autonomy can be seen both as a challenge and as the biggest selling point of the role.
What surprised me when I first joined was the level of autonomy a QA Tester would have working with the development team. Even though this wasn’t my first senior role, I felt I had a much bigger impact than in a product company with established practices. Joining 10Clouds, I was able to conduct an analysis of existing tools, choose the right technologies and convince the client to use them and then finally create a project for test automation.
Another upside of working in a software house is the variety of work that you’re given, as you can move through different projects, getting exposure to many different industries and products. This can help speed up the learning process and enable you to develop professionally at a much faster pace.
We infiltrate into the user’s role, so today you are a board game nerd, tomorrow you are a tournament organizer, the following day you are an entrepreneur with a new business and some other day you are performing a clinical trial study. And this is the beauty of a software house - you are never bored with the same test set you were performing 7 months ago, which you will be performing for another 10 months. If you want to change the area - go ahead, there are plenty of possibilities.
The internal QA community that we’re now focusing on growing, also has an important impact on individual careers and growth, as Klaudia, who is a Manual Tester, mentions:
We have people working as automation testers in the team, so sharing knowledge is possible. We have internal QA meetings where we can ask any questions.
Interested in a QA job at 10Clouds?
Check out our open positions.
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