The tester is not a supporting character -there’s a separate important role in the project. A QA engineer does not just look for errors in the program, but checks the quality of the product and evaluates whether it can be released to the real world to millions of users. The second name of this profession is a QA tester since testing is part of a comprehensive quality assurance process that covers the entire development cycle. “Quality” in this case is not an abstract characteristic, but the ability of a software product to meet established requirements.
To work in an IT industry, it is not necessary to gain a specific higher education. Even global enterprises like Apple and Google no longer require a diploma from applicants for QA vacancies and many companies around the world are happy to use the QA outsourcing services. Virginia Rometti (ex CEO of IBM) believes that professional courses are often more useful than several years at the university.
Where to start your way?
To begin the career of a tester, it is enough to finish educational courses in one of the training centers or directly in the IT company. Some companies even provide free training, but this is not the most convenient option: you will have to undergo a strict pre-selection and, possibly, take a long time to start the classes.
In specialized training centers, courses are held regularly, and you can choose a suitable schedule. Training for a tester on average lasts 1-6 months, and the cost varies from 100 to 800 USD. All training programs, regardless of duration, concentrate on the basic skills of the tester, then additional topics, such as automation, etc. You may think to become an ISTQB certified software tester as this will be a great plus when searching for a job. This certificate is proof that you have gained the basic skills that are required for performing common tasks at work.
How to schedule your education?
In most cases, you will see a new course starting every single month. A basic course in functional testing is designed for two weeks and may last up to 2 months. There are also two more directions – testing mobile applications on Android and iOS and automated testing.
You can look for morning, evening and weekend groups that will allow you to combine work and the development of a new sphere if you wish. To enter the courses, candidates often need to take an online English test (it is enough to know English at the Intermediate level). At the end of the training, students participate in a real software testing project.
Some courses offer free employment after graduating. This does not mean that you will surely find a job, but you will get help with creating a CV and getting ready for an interview. Some training programs immediately include the basics of automation and testing mobile and web applications.
Classes are held twice or three times a week in the evenings for six months. You can visit them every day if it’s a short-term course. A great advantage of all the courses is that most of them are online. It means you don’t have to leave your home to study. Thus, you will spend your time in the most efficient way.
What to learn to become a QA tester?
The responsibilities of the tester may vary depending on the complexity of the project and the methodology according to which the team works.
The main tasks of the novice tester:
- A detailed study of the product;
- Analysis of product specifications;
- Planning testing process;
- Preparation of test documentation (checklists of functions that need to be tested), test cases (description of the actions of the tester to test any function);
- Search, identification, and tracking of errors;
- Communication with developers and project managers.
Testing can be of several types: depending on what exactly is checked in the program, on which device and for what purpose. The main direction, which is usually mastered by all beginners, is functional testing. Its purpose is to make sure that the program performs the tasks that are laid in it. The tester becomes the first user of the product and evaluates its functions. The engineer documents all the actions (what function is checked and under what conditions) in test cases.
Depending on how test cases are completed, testing can be manual and automated. In the first case, the tester examines everything independently, manually, and in the second case, the program launches the tests. Automation requires programming knowledge: you need to write scripts for test cases and understand special frameworks (Selenium, Appium, etc.). Novice specialists do not have to be able to immediately automate tests, but this is a very promising area that can be mastered in the future.
There’s no limit to perfection but becoming a certified QA tester in three weeks doesn’t seem to be something unachievable. Besides gaining some knowledge from the courses, you should also deal with some self-education. You will be able to prove that you have a true intention to devote your nearest few years to testing. HRs will appreciate it and you will have more chances to get the job of a junior QA tester.