How Do QA Roles Look Today?

Quality Assurance Is a Must to Develop High-Quality Software

For years now, a lot of people in the software development world have been asking themselves whether QA testing is becoming obsolete. The progressive transition from manual testing to automation and the increasing demands for faster speeds to market may be the reason behind this popular wondering. In fact, there are many QA testers that feel that they have to acquire new skills or be pushed aside.

But things aren’t as dire as these people believe. Sure, QA testing isn’t what it used to be but that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete or that a company can do away with it. Truth be told, it’s quite the contrary. QA services are essential to achieve higher quality standards which, in turn, are the only ways in which you can get competitive advantages and the users’ favor.

That’s why it’s important to de-dramatize the whole situation and take a look at how QA roles look today. It may not be what we’re used to thinking about but that doesn’t mean that QA is on its way out. So let’s dive into this review of modern QA by starting with one simple yet crucial question.

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What Does a Software Tester Need to Know?

A future software tester needs to learn and master a varied list of skills to do their job in the best way possible. This includes a number of technical skills (such as knowledge about programming languages) as well as a series of soft skills (like communication and creative thinking). A non-comprehensive list of things that a software tester needs to know includes the following:

  • Programming languages (especially Python, Java, JavaScript, and C#).
  • Testing tools and techniques (pen testing, security testing, unit testing, and others)
  • Automation 
  • Test planning, documentation, and reporting
  • DevOps and Agile
  • Logical thinking
  • Communication

As you can surely imply from this broad list, there’s a lot to be learned in the world of QA testing. In fact, as the QA testers in BairesDev love to say, “you can never finish learning QA”, so if you’re interested in getting into the field, you’d better get into that mind frame. 

Yet, that isn’t enough, either. All of the above can give you a solid foundation on which you can build your QA career but you need to have certain specifics in mind to work in the modern QA landscape. Those specifics are related to the new way of working, the current business goals, and the different trends that are transforming the field. Let’s take a look at that.

Contemporary QA Roles

The irruption of automation changed everything in the QA landscape. Some blame it for what they perceive as QA’s demise, while others thank its emergence as the beneficial practice it can actually be. 

Truth be told, a modern QA tester has a powerful ally in automation, because it can bring the practice to earlier stages in the software development process while also providing the possibility to carry out tests more often. And that’s without mentioning the increased speed in testing when using automated tests.  

That doesn’t mean that automation can take care of all testing duties. Automated tests are certainly helpful but QA professionals still need to closely monitor them to avoid negative outcomes. This means that automation is more like a QA testing assistant that still needs expert QA testers to provide satisfactory results. The future of QA will surely bring increased automation to testing but, today, we’re more in an AI-assisted stage. 

The focus on automation (especially from big companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook) has propelled the emergence of the software development engineer in test, a special kind of developer whose main goal is to create test automation frameworks. Thus, QA testers that are more inclined to the technical aspects can reconvert themselves into SDETs to find an essential role in today’s development cycle.

If you don’t like the technical stuff that much, then you can go specialize in a certain domain of your choice and become an exploratory tester. While exploratory testing is far from being a new approach, companies are more likely to hire exploratory testers to access more creative ways of developing software. As an exploratory tester, you’ll test software gathering new knowledge and using your creativity to generate new tests to run. Ultimately, you’ll consider risks, develop new testing strategies, and put yourself in the users’ shoes to create new tests. 

That list thing also opens another possibility for QA testers to become customer experience experts themselves. Since QA professionals are tasked with ensuring that the resulting software is of the highest possible quality, you can add a more human vision to the QA process, taking into account the worries of the end-user, especially in scale-obsessed times of fast development. 

A Necessary Transition

At BairesDev, we’ve understood that QA is living a transition. The processes we’ve listed above are just part of a transitional phase. We don’t expect QA to be this way, especially with the increasing presence of automation and the ever-growing sophistication of automation in testing. That’s why we, as a company, invest in our QA testers to evolve as well – and why you should do that yourself.

What does that evolution entail? For instance, developing the ability to identify problems in production, risks on requirements, or potential destabilization factors that could bring the whole process down. The final goal is to go along with the rapid development of these days, providing feedback as early as possible without interfering. It’s a tall order, but it’s where we are at right now. 

It’s the QA testers’ job to prepare for the coming QA landscape, developing the necessary skills but also getting in the right mind frame. The “you can never finish learning QA” is more true today than it ever was. 

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