What is QA?

I will start my first blog article with an introduction to QA. As much as a QA tester might laugh at the fact that some don’t know the answer to this question, it is absolutely normal for somebody who has never interacted with this domain and never thought he or she would.

So, QA stands for Quality Assurance and is the process of testing an application, web site, game or any other product that one wants to launch for own use or sell it as an individual product to the public.

Usually the QA phase is the subsequent of development and there are dedicated people who perform this kind of task. In order to become a software tester, first of all you need to want to do so and be motivated. You can’t be a good software tester if your motivation is “I want to do this because they pay good” or “I want to do this because I can’t do something else”. I mean at the beginning might be a good motivation, but unless you start to enjoy what you are doing, you won’t be able to be a great tester. Good, yes, but not great.

QA is about searching, investigating, being patient and being willing to dig up until you find the problem, or at least until you do everything you can for it. And moreover, QA is about breaking an application into pieces and actually being glad to do it. Why? Because if you don’t, the end user will and it will be thousand times worse if he does.

People often ask me: what does it take to be a QA? Well, there are many qualities you need to have. Below you can find a graphic with what it takes to be a QA Analyst.

Source: alexsoft.com

I would add to the above graph the following:

  • patient
  • willing to novelty
  • solution driven
  • passionate
  • ambitious
  • motivated
  • team player
  • attentive to details
  • pron to constructive criticism

Probably there are more qualities, I mean there certainly are, but these are the ones that come to my mind for the moment. It sounds like a job interview, doesn’t it? Well it might, but knowing these makes you prepared for that interview you are so unpatiently wating for. Don’t worry if you don’t have all those qualities. Some can be developed throught time. And for those that cannot, there are solutions that can cover up that lack so you can enjoy a happy successful life as a Software Tester.

Do I have all those qualities? Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. I would have to ask my boss for this. My personal opinion would be that I don’t. I don’t think I am a great tester. As a matter of fact, I think that there are few actually great, amazing testers on the QA market. But I do my job and I always try to improve myself. I think this is what actually matters in the end. Nobody demands perfection. Employers usually demand from you willingness to be provoked, to search for information when you don’t know and to deliver results in time. So if this is what you are doing now, it is more than enough.

The most important thing to remember about being a QA tester is that testing can’t be learned over night. It takes practice, patience and ambition. If you wait long enough and study long enough you will get to the top of the QA members.

So, you may ask, what future brings you the Software Testing? Here is a schema I have designed for you to understand how you can grow in this field, professionally speaking.

As you can see, you can start as a Junior QA Engineer, then climb up the lader until the point where you will have to choose the direction, whether being a QA architect or a QA manager. Honestly, I haven’t seen in Romania available QA architect jobs, but it seems that the position actually exist, so if you scroll that job application and see this, you’d better know where it is actually positioned in the QA hierarchy. Whatever the path you want to choose, you will have to know that climbing up the professional lader of QA means taking on more responsabilities and working more. So you will have to think carefully before making the decision of accepting a higher role. As appealing as it would sound l and as much as it would tickle your ego, a higher position implies stress, responsability and a lot of work. It is wonderful if you can do it and be successful with it, but if you don’t, going back to a lower level might have a pretty harsh psychological impact over you. You don’t want that, so be patient. Think throughly before accepting any offer and remember that the most important thing is for you to feel good and accomplished. It matters neither other’s opinions nor demonstrating something. The only thing that matters is you.

So that being said, I will leave you play your game…pardon, prepare yourself to be a Software Engineer and hope this article brought some light for you about what Software Testing really is. I will come back with a series of articles in which I will provide a more detailed approach into testing, so keep in touch.