Who is a Quality Assurance Engineer and how to become one?
We continue publishing articles on the first steps in the IT industry.
We have already told you about How to Become a Developer.
Let’s consider another popular branch for starting an IT career – Quality Assurance Engineering.
This article focuses on Manual QA Engineering since Automation QA differs much. We will review Automation QA Engineering in one of our next articles.
Let’s dive into this!
How to get started?
First, you should ask yourself “Am I sincerely into this?”. Ask yourself if you ever doubted your environment’s “usability”. And answer the following questions:
- Why does any bottle cap unscrew clockwise? What happens if some company changes that?
- Do you notice any simple construction “bugs” – for example, tiles fitting, where one of the bars is clearly out of place?
Attention to detail and the environment’s “reliability” analyzing skills are undeniably important for a tester.
If you are grimly determined you want to start this path, you certainly should know its advantages:
- Steep learning curve. For instance, to start as a developer, one should know at least one programming language, and starting as a sysadmin requires knowing hardware. A beginner QA Engineer should not master that many hard skills to start their career.
- Broad demand market. One can always find an interesting project since manual testers can accommodate themselves to almost any environment. They do not depend on technology and its changes, like developers or automation testers do. A project can be developed in any programming language, and it does not influence the testing approach much.
- Various growth options. It’s possible to dive into any desired specific field: from GameDev with rules that may often change to healthcare projects that are quite stable and regulated, however, require strict documentation; from security testing to UX testing.
What knowledge is required to start as a QA Engineer?
The required skills are:
- English language proficiency. Among all skills that are usually required in IT and QA in particular, English is the most effortful one. It’s certainly possible to find a project that does not require English proficiency. However, the opportunity list narrows to local projects or projects that require just reading skills (you can use various translation tools for that; nonetheless, these are quite time-consuming).
- STCL comprehension. Being able to focus on the project and understand the things you should do eases not only your processes but your acquirer’s ones too. However, you should be okay with the fact that you won’t understand these things completely until you start working on a real project.
- QA terminology knowledge. You can get a certificate from ISTQB Glossary to confirm your knowledge, however, we do not recommend you to pass this test having no practical experience since it’s costly and requires good English proficiency and knowing the specifics of the profession. So just study it to improve your general understanding.
- SDLC basics. Start with Agile principles on the official website (they are localized in many languages, including Ukrainian). The most popular SDLC methodologies variety is SCRUM, and it’s also simple to understand.
- Bug tracking systems. Of course, the most popular one is Jira. It’s not free, but it provides a trial period that may help you learn to create and fill in tickets yourself.
- Basic understanding of automated testing. It’s a great plus for any candidate. Selenium IDE is here to help you with that.
- Other. This point includes specific project needs.
Useful materials and learning tips
You should consider your own learning experience while choosing any learning type. For instance, if you learn better from videos, then focus on those.
For those who enjoy reading, we recommend starting with the following literature:
- “Testing Dot Com” by Roman Savin
- “How Google Tests Software” by James A. Whittaker, Jason A. Joseph, and Jeff Carollo
- “Testing Computer Software” by Cem Kaner, Hung Q Nguyen, and Jack Falk (this one is written in academic style, which may seem boring; however, it provides fundamental information, and it’s quite useful to read it)
You can find useful information on any social network you prefer. For instance, if you can’t live without Instagram, you can find anything you need there. The main thing is to be persistent.
Another tip for finding information is googling in English since the most recent and useful information is available in English first. Thus, English proficiency is required for finding the most relevant information.
And, most importantly, just love what you do! Enjoying the process of learning makes it simpler and more interesting.