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How to Start a Career in Software Testing – A Complete Guide!

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Whenever you use any Software or Application, you always look out for better interface, functionality, user experience, and other aspects. But… did you ever think that who ensures the fulfillment of these criteria while development? Yes, these are Software Testers who exists behind this process. Software Tester ensures that the end-product meets all the specific requirements without any bugs or issues before it’s release.  Indeed, Software Testing is one of the most sought-after career domains in the IT world and you can consider it to start your career as a Software Testing Professional!!


Now the question arises – What is Software Testing? Software Testing is a practice of assessing the functionality of a software application to determine whether the developed product (software, application, etc. ) meets the specified requirements or not. Moreover, Software Testing involves the process of identification of bugs or defects in the project to ensure the quality of the product. There are various reasons such as Product Quality, User Satisfaction, Security aspects, etc. that make Software Testing an integral of the tech industry. Before moving further, let’s take a look at several major roles & responsibilities of a Software Tester in an organization:

  • Design & implement various Test scenarios and Test Cases
  • Interact with the clients to better understand the project requirements.
  • Prepare the documentation related to the software testing process
  • Collaborate with Developers & other team members and conduct review meetings, etc.

Okay, let’s get back to the point – How to Start a Career in Software Testing? Firstly, you’re required to have an academic background in the related field – Computer Science / Information Technology. You can prefer to earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the specific domain to get into the IT world. Meanwhile, this is not something mandatory to have any degree or certificate, but it can surely help you to kickstart your career in the software testing field. Moreover, apart from the academic criteria, there are several crucial technical skills that one must possess to become a Software Tester:

1. Knowledge of STLC Phases

If you’re looking forward to making your career in Software Testing domain, you must need to know about the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) phases in depth. It will give you a thorough understanding of the Software Testing process and lay your foundation to become a Software Tester. Alike Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), Software Testing Life Cycle also consists of several phases such as Requirement Analysis, Test Planning, Test Case Development, Test Environment Setup, Test Execution & Test Closure that concerns with the specific steps required for the testing process. These phases are performed multiple times during the project development to ensure the fulfillment of project requirements without any bugs or other issues.

2. Fundamentals of Programming Languages

A Software Tester is required to review codes or programs to find any bugs or detects and the analysis of technical documentation during project development. Hence you’re required to have a fundamental knowledge of several programming languages to get into the Software Testing domain. Moreover, good programming knowledge also becomes essential when you go for the automation testing process. You can opt to learn several demanding programming languages like JAVA, C#, Python, Ruby, etc. Furthermore, various companies demand basic knowledge of Programming Languages while recruiting for Software Testers, hence you need to more concerned about this to get better career opportunities.  

3. Understanding of Linux & Other OS Fundamentals

The understanding of Operating Systems is a must for Software Testers. As a Software Tester, you’re required to set up the test environment and execute the test cases respectively hence if you possess the knowledge of OS tools & commands, it becomes easier and efficient for you to do the task. Moreover, the majority of the applications or projects are hosted in a Linux environment, so you’re strongly recommended to get familiar with Linux commands and operations. Apart from this, various other testing processes such as installation testing, performance testing, etc. requires the fundamental knowledge of Operating Systems from your side.  

4. Knowledge of SQL Queries & Databases

Indeed, the security of the user’s data & information is the primary concern for any application, website, or other software. Moreover, as the large scale software systems (even small as well!!) hold a large amount of data, it becomes essential for Software Testers to validate & authenticate this data and identify any bugs or defects, if exists. Hence, you’re required to have a sound knowledge of databases such as Oracle, MySQL, etc. to become a proficient Software Tester. Also, you need to learn about Structured Query Language (SQL) Queries to interact and examine the data stored in databases.

5. Familiarity with Test Management, Defect Tracking & Automation Tools

The understanding of Software Testing tools is one of the major aspects to become a Software Tester. Test Management tool concerns with the management of testing artifacts such as test case planning & tracking, test strategies, etc. such as Testlink, TestRail, and various others. Moreover, Defect Tracking Tools such as QC, BugHerd, Bugzilla, etc. helps to track and manage the defects in the project systematically. Furthermore, Automation Tools like Selenium, Appium, etc. will help you switch over Automation Testing from Manual Testing. Indeed, hands-on experience on these tools will give you an in-depth knowledge of the Software Testing process in an efficient way.  

So, these are some must-have technical skills to become a Software Tester. Meanwhile, there are several soft skills (or you can say non-technical skills) as well that are required to be considered to start a career in Software Testing domain. Primarily, you’re required to have some good logical & analytical skills to understand the things better and deeper. Moreover, you should have proper communication skills as you may need to interact with clients and collaborate with developers or other team members for effective functioning. There are several other crucial skills also such as Time Management, Problem Solving, Team Player, etc. that must be taken into consideration.

Now, let’s move further and discuss the Certifications in Software Testing. These certifications not only validates your knowledge & skills but also helps you to get the attention of hiring professionals. There are various Software Testing certifications that you can consider as per your requirements such as Certified Software Tester (CSTE), International Software Testing Qualification Board (ISTQB) Certification, and various others. Also, there are several recommended books mentioned below that can help you to prepare for these certifications and enhance your Software Testing skills:

  • The Art of Software Testing
  • How to Break Software: A Practical Guide to Testing
  • Lessons Learned in Software Testing
  • Software Testing Techniques by Boris Beizer

Furthermore, let’s take a brief look at the career graph of a Software Testing Professional. Although the career growth of Software Testing professional varies from organization to organization, still there is a general roadmap that you can keep in mind for your future goals:

  1. Test Analyst / Quality Analyst (Entry-Level)
  2. Senior Test Analyst / Quality Analyst (2-3 Years’ Experience)
  3. Team Coordinator (5-6 &ears’ experience)
  4. Testing Manager (7-10 Years’ Experience)
  5. Senior Test Manager (>10 Years’ Experience)

Moreover, you can switch to other domains as well such as Automation Testing, Performance Testing, and even in the Development Field. Also, there is a great scope in the Software Testing domain and you can make a career in the particular field by following the above-mentioned roadmap and attaining the required skills. Now, what are you waiting for? Prepare yourself to get into the software testing field and achieve your career goals!!

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Last Updated : 11 Jul, 2020
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