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Habits of Successful Testers

Testers seem to be a dime a dozen, but good and successful testers are little harder to come by. So, what makes a successful tester…successful? Let’s look at some of the habits and skills of these rarities.

Sees the Big Picture

A successful tester knows how their tasks are important to the overall business strategy, or at the very least, to the success of the current project. They don’t just blindly run tests and mechanically report defects; they can identify the strengths and weaknesses of an application. They actively participate as more than just an individual – they’re part of a team with a tangible goal.

Understands Strengths and Limitations

Knowing what you’re good and not-so-good at requires some honest introspection. Acknowledging those strengths and weaknesses and learning to work with them goes a step further. Successful testers know their limitations and both look for and accept help when they need it. There’s no room for bravado in software testing, it’s okay to be wrong and it’s okay to know when you can’t do something on your own.

Communicates Well and Often

As in many disciplines, communication is key in software development and testing. A successful tester is able to convey their ideas, findings, and concerns with ease. They can easily make themselves understood and don’t hesitate to communicate either verbally or through the written word. This is necessary to avoid ambiguity, especially within large teams. Equally important is the ability to listen to what the rest of the team says too.

Is Fine Going Solo – Without Direct Supervision

Yet another skill highly regarded in many fields, but particularly useful for software testers is being able to fly solo. Successful testers feel comfortable evaluating needs related to the testing effort and acting independently when necessary. Coinciding with this is the ability to know when management approval is necessary.

But Treasures Collaboration

While successful testers are comfortable operating without direct supervision, they also highly regard the value of teamwork. They recognize when to lend a hand as well as when to ask for one. They respect the skills of their teammates and utilize them to get tasks done more efficiently and effectively when needed.

Loves Problem Solving

Loving what you do is a key part to being successful at it. If a tester doesn’t have a passion for puzzle-solving and analysis, it’s not very likely they’re going to get far in software QA. Successful testers can analyze business situations, determine possible scenarios, and tackle unfamiliar problems. In addition to visualizing complex problems, they’re adept at anticipating them.

Thinks on Their Feet

Successful testers are adaptable and unafraid of spontaneity. They learn quickly when confronted with something new and can go with the flow as easily as they can stick with a plan.

Doesn’t Neglect Personal Growth

Last, but certainly not least, successful testers recognize that their skills can always be improved. They see the rapidly changing trends and try to keep up with them as they learn new skills and open themselves up to new technologies. They fully understand that what is great today may be outdated tomorrow. To them, learning is a matter of course – a habit. Continuous learning is the key.

Do you feel like we’ve missed anything? What would you add to the list?

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