It’s fair to say there have been times when I’ve introduced myself as a QA Tester and I’ve been met with slightly blank stares or comments likening my role to that of the Channel 4 sitcom, The IT Crowd.
Well, rest assured, I am not hidden away in the basement, nor am I a work-shy tech-geek lacking in social skills. Indeed, whilst I am rather unashamedly bit of a techie, I doubt if being hidden away unable to engage in meaningful conversation would serve me at all well in my job.
Sure, I know my black box testing from my UAT and I’m totally comfortable with test scoping. I subscribe to industry newsletters and am an active member of testing communities to ensure I keep up to date with the latest industry developments. I’m also continuing to study to ensure that my IT qualifications remain up to date and at the cutting edge of industry progress. These factors all make me a good tester.
What makes me a GREAT tester though is my power to blend my technical know-how with a whole host of other skills. Amongst those is the ability to clearly and concisely document the testing journey that I have managed. Project Managers, consultants, customers – all those to whom the functionality of the system matters – need to be reassured that it is technically robust and fit for purpose. They don’t need to be flummoxed by technical jargon, so conveying the testing in a way that stakeholders understand is vital.
Similarly, I need to be able to demo products and specific aspects of their functionality in a manner that is informative without being complicated, and straightforward without being condescending. My presentation skills need to be not only be clear, but also engaging and I need to employ flexibility to answer any queries that may arise – learning my demo as if it were a set-in-stone script simply won’t do!
There’s also a certain level of diplomacy and negotiation required when you’re a tester. You’re a vital link in the chain that gets a vision for a tech solution from exactly that, a vision, to the point where it’s a fully functioning, fit for purpose, solution. To do so, requires the ability to balance the desired functionality with developer and testing capacity.
So yes, in a nutshell I make sure the software or app works before it’s released, and I need to be technically savvy to do this. However, to do so meaningfully, in way that drives value entails so much more and whilst I may be a tech geek, I’m not ONLY a tech geek – there’s so much more to me than that!