QA Hiring Days at Clovertech, or How to Become a Junior QA? Tips and Tricks from the QA Team
Here at Clovertech, we highly value every specialist. We believe that in the modern conditions of overflowed IT labor market, aside from hiring Seniors, paying attention to “bringing up” and teaching Junior specialists is also important.
Therefore, as a part of our 2021 program, we launched QA Hiring weekDays in the Junior QA Engineers direction to hire and teach specialists.
Hiring weekDays is a special event format, and its main idea is to hold as many interviews in a week as possible, and immediately send job offers to the chosen candidates. For Clovertech, that was an opportunity of hastening the hiring processes and filling several open positions in just a week. While for candidates, it was a great chance to get a job during just one day, and not after 3 to 5 exhausting interviews and weeks of waiting, as it often happens.
We believe that it will be interesting for beginners Trainee QA to discover where they should start, what problems do their future colleagues face, and what mistakes can be avoided starting from the very first interview.
While holding our program, we involved not just Junior specialists who had had minimal experience, but also Trainees who had just completed courses for this qualification and had good results while completing those.
What is the flow of finding and selecting candidates?
Actually, it all does not start just at 10.00 a.m. on a business day, it happens far earlier. All hiring days are organized according to the company’s staffing plan.
The recruitment team receives and processes a request that claims there is a need to open a new position and post the vacancy. After that, recruiters put effort into finding candidates.
We also tend to pay attention to various profile schools and courses that teach specialists of the required directions. Such practice helps us find good young specialists who have no commercial experience with a product; however, they have basic knowledge and understanding, and continue their professional growth at our company, gaining more knowledge and experience at our company.
On average, it takes five to ten candidates to fill a position. Rarely, the choice can be made out of three candidates, and it’s crucial to choose from the best ones and have no doubts. Respectively, it takes 25 to 50 specialists to fill five vacancies (and they all must be interviewed during a single week).
Clovertech QA Hiring Days candidates selection process flow:
- The process starts from filing a request form on the site or simply applying to the posted vacancy.
- If a profile fits the requirements, the recruiter performs a small introducing interview via video chat or by phone.
- The second stage is held in our office and lasts 30 to 50 minutes depending on the candidate. All candidates pass the same test task.
- The third stage depends on the test task results. In case the candidate passed the test successfully, the next step is having an interview with QA Team Lead, which lasts 30 to 60 minutes.
- The process is complete when the candidate receives a job offer after all previous stages have been passed successfully.
How do QA training processes start?
During their very first month at the company, a Junior specialist gets into the swing of the company’s working processes, and their work is managed by a more experienced specialist.
After working for 1.5-3 months, a beginner QA specialist becomes capable of completing tasks on their own.
It’s important to document properly, compose reports carefully, think up test cases, comprehend why is a bug reproduced and what else can be affected by it, which can finally help the developer find a way of fixing the bug.
“There are various opinions about that; however, I believe that testing is a creative and ambitious job, and being successful at doing this job depends on a person’s skills, experience, and way of thinking”.
Valerii Ivanov, Junior QA, Clovertech
A common QA working day includes:
- Composing test cases, testing, documenting the bugs (depending on the product development stage);
- Checking bug tracking systems to see whether a bug has been fixed;
- Stand-up meetings;
- Learning and specifying the specifications and requirements;
- Communicating with the development team;
- Preparing test documentation.
QA’s main tasks and responsibilities
The main goal of QA is to ensure the product’s quality. QA Engineers must be focused on the processes of software development, improve these, and prevent the occurrence of bugs and issues.
The process of assuring quality consists of the following stages:
- Revising the product’s specifications and requirements;
- Evaluating risks;
- Planning the proposals of improving the product’s quality;
- Planning the test processes;
- Analyzing the testing’s results.
- The QA’s responsibility area covers the following:
- Analyzing and specifying requirements with the client;
- Writing test cases (testing scenarios);
- Testing functionality;
- Identifying the problem areas and adding these to the tracking system;
- Discussing fixes with developers;
- Tracking bugs’ lifecycle;
- Re-testing the fixed bugs;
- Analyzing the testing;
- Optimizing test processes;
- Analyzing teamwork processes;
- Improving the processes;
- Maintaining test documentation.
Among the QA processes, QC (stands for Quality Control) processes are often distinguished. QC specialists analyze the testing results and are responsible for detecting and fixing bugs in the product.
“Quality Control focuses on bug detection and fixing. It flaws after the development is done to make sure the software product meets the specified criteria. So, the primary tool here is testing! QC is a complex process that aims to ensure fulfilling the quality. Software never was perfect and won’t get perfect. In order to achieve excellence, an action must be done once and again to the point that it can be considered a habit. As Steve Maguire says “Never allow the same bug to bite you twice.”
Mariia Klinovska, Junior QA, Clovertech
Hard and soft skills required for a QA specialist
To become a QA, one should understand SDLC, learn testing theoretics and tools, and have a good English proficiency level.
The basic theoretics knowledge is being capable to answer the following questions:
- What is testing and why is it important?
- What types of testing exist?
- What is a bug and what is its lifecycle?
- What documentation types are used for testing?
“It is useful to read several books and many articles, forum discussions that relate to this topic. It’s preferable to learn a programming language, HTML, CSS, SQL, etc. Keep track of and know everything that happens in the labor market. These things help do the job better and hasten the moving up the career ladder”.
Inna Zotova, Junior QA, Clovertech
Soft skills, the flexible skills, are the personal qualities that help build up relationships with both clients and teammates.
When it comes to soft skills, the following ones are required:
- Having a broad IT outlook and be craving to learn something new.
- Being good at asking questions. A successful tester is never shy to ask questions.
- Being good at communicating. The quality of communication in the QA team is what directly influences the software quality.
- Being attentive to detail, responsible, hard-working, and persistent.
- Being able to prioritize tasks by their importance.
- Being skilled in describing the found bugs and issues in a comprehensive way.
- Having analytical skills, being able to create models and work with abstractions.
- Having critical midset.
- Distinguish molehill from mountain 🙂
A QA is responsible for improving the development processes’ quality, and that is why they should be skilled in some things their colleagues are skilled in.
- On the developer’s side, a QA should understand the technical limitations of implementing features and at least basically understand the code.
- On the Business Analyst’s side, a QA should understand the market and the target audienceю
- On the Project Manager’s side, QA Engineers should understand the unity of all processes of the project.
It’s also important to look at the product from the user’s perspective.
“Being a QA makes you understand all technical sides and goals of the business, and also be good at communicating with clients, managers, and developers. Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even those that might seem silly. Quite often they save hours, and even days of development for the whole team”
Valerii Ivanov, Junior QA, Clovertech
Hard skills are skills that are directly related to the daily tasks of a specialist. Namely, hard skills are professional skills.
When it comes to hard skills, the required ones are the following:
- First of all, a specialist must learn the basics of performing tests. This includes the classification of testing types, methodologies, tools, creating test scenarios. These are the basics that help future QA Engineers learn the ropes of the profession;
- basic knowledge of programming basics;
- basic understanding of the structure of a web application’s architecture;
- at least a basic understanding of HTML and CSS;
- being skilled at working with control systems and databases;
- have a clue of browsers and developer tools;
- understand working with a command line.
“ We need to know the requirements to find out whether a product works properly. But let’s be honest, QA engineers are often forced to work with incomplete or even badly formulated documentation. Create your own checklist that allows you to see if the user story is suitable for development or needs further analysis and elaboration. As a result, it should help you get better requirements for product development and make the QA process easier to help developers create a well-functioning product as well.”
Mariia Klinovska, Junior QA, Clovertech
The main requirements and tips on entering IT as a Trainee or Junior QA Engineer
✔️Language knowledge is not necessary at the start, but it’s important to understand the development and testing processes in general terms.
✔️To develop testing and analytical skills, start with finding and describing all errors that occur on the websites or applications you use (remember of a “criminal mind”).
✔️Any QA Engineer needs logical thinking. Develop and train it.
✔️It is necessary to learn English. The IT field requires knowing the language perfectly. Moreover, the documentation and useful information (f.e., courses) are mainly in English.
✔️Learn several free courses from reliable companies or lecturers, better yet, complete a professional course where you will be guided. That reduces the chances to go in the wrong direction in your studies.
✔️After you finish studying, you must clearly understand the following:
-what are the development stages and when should a QA get involved;
-what types of tests exist and how to prepare those;
-how to describe errors;
-how to use different testing practices properly.
✔️Further skills improvement, discovering and learning systems aimed to “catch” errors (these are called “bug tracking”), programming languages. All of these result in career promotions.
“Share your experience! It is important to establish communication so that new knowledge, methods, and practices circulate within the team and beyond.”
Inna Zotova, Junior QA, Clovertech
Three directions can be determined in perspective of the professional growth of a QA
✔️Learn new fields and grow as a QA specialist: Junior QA —> Middle QA —> Senior QA —> QA Team Lead —> QA Manager —> Head of QA Department.
✔️Master automated testing and grow in this direction (this requires more technical knowledge).
✔️Retrain to business analysis or programming.
After you gain enough practical experience, you can try to project management, and then grow as a manager (Senior Project Manager – CTO).
Moreover, there are numerous QA courses nowadays, so it is possible to combine the main job with teaching or consulting.
Courses, schools, and literature. How to choose and what is worth reading?
As we have just mentioned above, nowadays, a huge number of both online and offline courses exist, and everyone is free to choose whatever they wish.
A list of tips on important things to pay attention to:
Schools and courses
1.How long has this institution been teaching?
2.How many people have successfully passed the studying?
3.What technical basis does the institution provide?
1.Stated topics interpretation;
2.Material presenting sequence (introduction to the subject, lectures, knowledge consolidation);
3.Learning hours distribution.
Becoming a professional QA is only possible when one is guided and supported by the masters of the craft. Therefore, don’t ignore the ways of getting digitally acquainted with your potential teachers. Learn about the competencies and experience of the course trainers on the website of the training center you choose.
LinkedIn is another source of useful information. This professional social network helps get new professional connections. You can also find the lecturers’ profiles and analyze the information they list there (education, working experience, etc). Such research will help you choose courses that provide better service since you can be sure of the practical experience of their trainers.
✔️“Testing Dot Com” by Roman Savin.
✔️“Software Testing Introduction” by Svyatoslav Kulikov.
✔️“Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Krug.
✔️“How Google Tests Software” by James Whittaker, Jason Arbon, and Jeff Carollo.
✔️“Black Box Testing” by Boris Beizer.
✔️“Perfect Software: And Other Illusions about Testing” by Gerald Weinberg.
✔️“Mobile Testing: Ready Reckoner” by Ajay Balamurugadas, Sundaresan Krishnaswami.
✔️“Testing Computer Software” by Cem Kaner, Jack Falk, and Hung Q. Nguyen.
✔️“Automated Software Testing” by Elfrid Dustin, Jeff Rashka, John Paul.
✔️“The Diary of a Mistake Hunter” by Tobias Klein.
✔️“The Art of Software Testing” by Glenford J. Myers, Corey Sandler, and Tom Badgett.
✔️“A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design” by Lee Copeland.
✔️“Rapid Testing” by Robert Culbertson, Chris Brown, and Gary Cobb.
✔️“Agile Testing” by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory.
✔️“The art of business writing. Laws, tricks, and tools” by Sasha Karepina.
✔️ “Writing solid code” by Steve Maguire.