5 Tips for Beginner Quality Assurance Engineers

Welcome to the World of Software Quality Assurance

There is no doubt that software QA is more important than ever. The rising cybersecurity threats and the increasing demand for speed requires development teams to pay more attention to the quality of the software they create. The only way you can ensure high quality in your applications is through rigorous QA services such as the ones we offer here at BairesDev.

QA engineers are thus essential for the software development life cycle (SDLC). Are you thinking about becoming one? Then you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find the crucial skills and several suggestions you’ll need to become a successful QA analyst.

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What Are the Top 3 Skills for a QA Analyst?

A QA analyst needs more than just technical skills and knowledge on development processes, testing methodologies, and programming. There are other soft skills that all great QA engineers have, including these top 3:

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Flexibility
  3. Social Skills

A solid QA tester needs to know how to approach a product to create as many “what if” scenarios as possible. That’s only possible through critical thinking, an ability that allows the QA engineer to think from the customer’s perspective to anticipate potential issues and devise ways to address them.

Flexibility is also an essential skill for any member of a quality assurance testing company. That’s because QA developers will need to apply different tools and testing techniques depending on the project at hand. Thus, they don’t just have to know about those tools and techniques but also be versatile enough to jump from one to the other seamlessly. 

Finally, social skills encompass other things – mainly collaboration and communication abilities. A QA engineer needs to be “more social” because their role will have them talking to developers, managers, and C-level executives. Thus, they need to know how to communicate with others to ensure everyone is on the same page, quality-wise.

Some Suggestions for QA Beginners

Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

  • Have a Deep Knowledge of the Different Life Cycles

    You’ve surely heard about the software life cycle by now. But knowing it by name isn’t enough. You need to know all of its phases, from requirement analysis all the way to testing and maintenance. That’s because software QA services can offer improvements for the entire process, not just in the testing phase.

    Aside from the SDLC, you should also know the other two life cycles that are essential to how QA works. On one hand, you have the testing life cycle, the activities involved in the testing process itself. On the other, there’s the bug life cycle, which involves the specific process that takes place when someone finds a bug. A great QA analyst knows these 3 life cycles by heart.

  • Learn the Types of Bugs

    This is sort of a given the role you want to play in software development but it’s worth repeating, especially because you’ll have a hard time identifying bugs at the start of your QA career. There are very specific types of bugs you need to know so you can better report them to the rest of the team. Detailed information about the bugs is extremely important, so the more you know, the better.

    Aspects like functionality, responsiveness, design, syntax, performance, and many other things can present bugs you’ll need to report. Sure, you’ll learn more about the types of bugs as you work and gain more experience but you definitely can’t start from scratch. You need to have a solid theoretical background of bugs right at the beginning of your career.

  • Polish Your Bug Reporting

    Speaking of bugs, it’s one thing to know them so well that you can identify them at a glance but it’s a very different thing to know how to properly report them. While reporting bugs, you’ll have to make your communication skills shine, since you’ll need to explain the bugs to the devs in the simplest of ways, so the developers can understand and replicate what you’re reporting.

    It’s not just a matter of semantics, either. You need to be as thorough and detailed as possible in your reports to avoid any back and forth and any guesswork from the developers. That specificity starts right in the title of the report and continues with your description of the bug. What’s more, whenever you can, include a video or image that clearly shows the issue, as this will be very helpful for the dev team.

  • Develop Task Management Skills

    Since you’re just starting in the software testing and QA field, you might not think about task management - you’ll be more focused on tech skills! That’s understandable yet you shouldn’t be pushing task management aside. Given that QA processes will have you managing tasks from development to delivery, knowing how to do so can have a significant positive impact on how you do things.

    Even if you already have experience with a project management platform such as Jira or Wrike, go beyond them and learn the theory. That way, you can adapt to any new platform you might end up using since you’ll have a better understanding of the concepts that serve as foundations for those platforms.

  • Have a Basic Understanding of UI Elements

    This final tip might seem odd, as you probably didn’t expect to have to know something as apparently different as user interfaces. Yet, your QA work will eventually put you in front of software where you’ll have to conduct UI testing - and your job will be far easier if you have a basic grasp of the concepts and elements of UI.

    This means you’ll have to learn HTML and CSS elements as well as design terms, including font size and color, padding, navigation, and many others. All of those things will help you better analyze the software you’ll be working on and you’ll have stronger bug reporting abilities - something the dev team will love you for.

The Road to Becoming an Expert QA Developer

All of the QA engineers at BairesDev underline the importance of all of the above suggestions. They’ve all been there and built their careers on these foundations, which allowed them to be part of the Top 1% of IT talent and work with some of the biggest brands in the world. That’s why we highly encourage you to follow that path, a road that will certainly help you in taking your first steps on your road to success in the QA field. 

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