Why You Need Skilled Testers to Make Quality Products
The term “skilled tester” is a bit ambiguous, right? What one person might constitute as a great tester might not function all that well in another’s organization, depending on the needs of specific teams and what certain people value in the testing field.
But one thing’s for sure: A tester with the requisite skills, attitude, and drive to help improve quality throughout the entire development lifecycle can and will lead to a stronger product. And it’s these qualities that Judy McKay, the president of ASTQB, assigns to a skilled tester.
In an interview with StickyMinds, McKay explains the different factors she looks at when trying to discover and hire skilled testers.
“I always go for a good attitude, number one, over anything. A good attitude: somebody who's willing to learn, somebody who's curious, somebody who really wants to make a difference,” she explained. “Double-edged sword there, right? You get somebody who's really wanting to make a difference, wanting to improve quality, and they can get frustrated pretty easily, too.”
A skilled tester isn’t a perfect tester. No matter how experienced and detail-oriented this person is, it’s nearly impossible to fix all defects in, let’s say, a mobile app before it launches. With the rapidity of some projects in today’s agile world, it’s not always possible to polish a product to a glimmering shine at every stage of development, so a skilled tester needs to also know when something can’t be perfect.
Beyond spotting bugs, how does a skilled tester improve the entire team? That sounds like a heavy burden to carry—to both do your job and improve the overall quality of those around you. However, McKay believes their focus on quality helps to better each stage of the process.
“A skilled tester is going to be able to embed himself into the whole software development lifecycle regardless of what your lifecycle is. They're going to be there doing good reviews. They're going to be there building quality from the beginning,” she said. “I always think of it as buzzing around. If the developers are doing something, the testers need to be doing something—making sure the unit testing is getting done, making sure the integration is happening, making sure environments are set up, making sure test data is being assembled.”
That attitude is often infectious. If the tester is pushing quality, other members of the team begin to adopt and incorporate that quality focus. The mindset of a quality tester spreads throughout your team, and because of that, whatever you produce will be stronger.
Is it easy to find this smart, skilled, team-oriented tester? Rarely. But these types of testers are out there, and beyond spotting bugs, they can inject a quality-focused mindset into your entire team that goes a long way toward bettering everything you put out.