Baking testing into the software development process is a huge competitive advantage for companies, according to Hammon. “By finding issues earlier in the life cycle through continuous testing and better planning on the testing side, you are able to identify issues early and allow the development team to fix them while you are still in your normal development cycles, as opposed to having to delay a release,” he said.
Traits employers are looking for in today’s modern testers
New responsibilities come with new skillsets. Here are what the experts say today’s software testers need to have in their toolbox:
The ability to write code: Testers are increasingly becoming more accountable for development responsibilities, and a good understanding of how code is written will help them understand the development process better and help them write better test cases, which will result in better user experiences, according to Rod Cope, CTO of Rogue Wave.
“It is becoming more and more common that testers are able to actually write code,” he said. “They will [have to] write low-level code in the same language as the developers do in order to test at a very intimate level with the code that is being written.”
More technical skills: “Quality teams are gaining a higher profile, and they have more input into making software testable earlier in the process,” said Sauce Labs’ Hazel. “With that comes the necessity for greater technical sophistication. QA will need to focus more on creating solid test automation infrastructure and building a testing strategy, rather than on the execution of tests.”
Traditional qualities: Just because they don’t look like the traditional tester anymore doesn’t mean the qualities they possessed as a traditional tester went away. They still need to be detailed, able to manage a complex inventory of test assets, and have a good sense of where their focus should be turned to, according to Hazel.
The ability to automate: If testers aren’t learning how to code, they at least need to learn how to automate tests in whatever tool they are using. Test automation involves a certain level of programming skills. Without the ability to automate, testers are going to have to perform a lot of time-consuming manual tests to gain insights across their different browsers, platforms and environments, according to Cope.
A focus on the business value: Testers need to understand whether or not they are testing software that is irrelevant to the company, according to Billingsley. “Instead of a flawless, ‘We shall test everything’ mantra, test budgets can be cut by as much as 60% if testers can test based on risks,” he said.
“Testers need to make sure they are hitting the areas that have the most risks or the most activities from a development standpoint,” said TechExcel’s Hammon.