I have been working as a software tester for a while now, and I still have a very clear memory of the moment I decided to throw myself into this field. I majored in computer science and technology with hopes of becoming a software developer. The only problem was that I wasn’t very good at coding. So, instead of subjecting myself to the grueling task of studying coding languages, I decided to focus my energy into becoming a great software tester. When I first started, there was a lot of training on how to do the work, but not necessarily how to handle the work. While there will continue to be lots of learning to do on my part, I’m very passionate about what I do. I always wished that someone would have given me advice about entering the testing field, so here are three tips for all of you new software and QA testers that are getting started in software testing to help you adapt to your new work environment and grow faster.
- Keep a Positive Attitude
Basically, take everything with a grain of salt. Teams are already in place and have a shared culture, so the introduction of a newcomer can be disruptive to their flow. However, this isn’t as bad as it seems. Keeping an optimistic outlook when first starting will not only give others the impression that you’re an adaptable member with good ideas, but you’ll be much happier and able to take any negative criticism thrown at you. Take on more difficult tasks with a can-do attitude as well. You really will find that you’re able to accomplish more and you’ll prove to the team that you aren’t a slacker. Good things happen when you work hard. It’s a winning cycle.
- Remain Considerate at All Times
This means more than returning shared office supplies to their original locations and showing up to meetings on time. First, you need to make sure that what you say and what you do are consistent. If you say you’ll do something, do it. There may be times when you aren’t sure what it is exactly that you’re supposed to be doing. In these cases, you need to ask and clarify any uncertainty as soon as possible. Second, being considerate also means that you’re giving feedback on task processes in a timely manner, regardless if the task was completed. Don’t keep silent and wait for the team lead to ask about task updates.
- Be a Self-Starter
If you want to be a great software tester, you have to take initiative in everything that you do, whether it’s your daily tasks or learning a new skill. It helps to also be a quick learner, but even if you aren’t, taking the initiative to expand your skillset (and actually completing the work to learn the skills) can reap major rewards. These skills can include anything from technical certificates to effective communication. Your team lead will see that you aren’t just a sheep in the herd taking commands and that you’re serious about contributing to the team. And of course, since you likely don’t have every qualification or certificate when you enter your first testing position, building your repertoire and reputation will help with career advancement.
When you’re getting started in software testing, you’re entering the cone of uncertainty, where you know very little to absolutely nothing. This is the time you’ll start learning on a very steep curve and the best thing you can do is to just do it. Practice everything you’re being taught, learn how to do anything else on your own, and remember to always take notes and ask questions because there is nothing worse than a team member who doesn’t communicate. Keep learning, keep growing, and good luck!