Heather Carter explains why being a Test Engineer is such a rewarding career path to tread…
While studying Software Engineering at University, most of my fellow students were planning on going on to become developers, however I knew this wasn’t the career I wanted to pursue.
For me, my passion lay in software testing. Unfortunately, many people in the industry are unaware that there is even a career to be had in testing but being a Test Engineer can be incredibly rewarding.
What does being a Test Engineer involve?
Something I absolutely love about testing is that no two days are the same, your day is led by the development work that is in progress.
Most of my days begin with me checking emails, messages and other correspondence that needs my attention.
I prepare for my stand up call, which includes most people that work on the project discussing what was completed the day before and what we will need to work on that day.
There is also an opportunity to discuss bugs that have been found and worked on before we check in with the test team – which is sort of like a team huddle – to ensure everyone is up to date with the project and that everyone has an opportunity to ask questions.
From then on, my day is mostly about testing the applications the team are building, there will be meetings here and there for different things, such as planning work for the next sprint, however these meetings are spread out so that there is always plenty of time to test.
What is software testing?
Software testing is the process of understanding and providing information about a product to a decision maker, information such as how features behave and any defects found within the product.
There are many different approaches to testing that can be completed to ensure that the software is satisfactory, however the most common elements we work on are Exploratory Testing, Integration Testing, User Acceptance Testing, End-to-End Testing and Pair Testing.
What are the different forms of software testing?
- Exploratory testing is a time-boxed exercise which allows us to think outside the box and test user interactions that have not been covered by a test case
- Integration testing is where all the individual parts of the software are put together and we test it as a whole piece of software. This ensures that everything works as expected
- User Acceptance testing verifies the software has been developed to the requirements that were created at the start of the project
- End to End (E2E) testing is to test from the end user’s point of view by simulating a real user scenario from start to finish
- Pair testing is where you pair with another Test Engineer and you test together, sharing your own best practices with one another
What skills do I need to be a Test Engineer?
Communication and coordination are very important aspects of being a Test Engineer.
As a Test Engineer, you will be communicating with people from various different roles during a project and they will all have different needs and wants, which you’ll need to be aware of.
From the start of a project build, strong relationships with the developers show them how you work and let them understand how you test, this will benefit both you and them as they will start doing tests themselves which in turn helps your workload. You will be in continuous communication with developers so it is important to build good relationships with them.
When in meetings, do not be afraid to ask questions. The more questions you ask, the more information you learn, which in turn allows you to test the software thoroughly. As a Test Engineer, there’s no such thing as a silly question.
Coordination is also just as important as communication. There will be times when you have multiple tasks at once, so you will need to decide what gets done in what order and why. Everything needs to be completed. This is where communication comes in, set expectations of when tasks will get completed, if there are delays, let people know. Something like setting up an automation framework is quite a large task, you’ll need to coordinate with the team about how you are going to tackle it, little steps at a time allows you to achieve the large task that is at hand.
What would I say to someone thinking of a career as a Test Engineer?
I’ve been a Test Engineer for over four years now. I’ve worked with three vastly different companies and I still really enjoy my job. If you want a role in software, think about a job in testing software.
It may seem scary at first, but isn’t everything when you first start out?
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