6 Skills Needed for Exceptional Exploratory Testing | TechWell

6 Skills Needed for Exceptional Exploratory Testing

Photo of a person looking through binoculars, by Evan Kirby

While anyone can claim to be an exploratory tester, only those with a set of honed skills will discover hard-to-find bugs that could impact your mobile app or website. It requires skills that go above and beyond.

Here are six skills needed to be an exceptional exploratory tester.

1. Lateral thinking

Lateral thinking is when you solve a problem by an indirect approach, and it usually involves seeing the issue in a new way that no one else has previously. Essentially, it’s examining a problem with a creative mindset. After all, it’s hard to find bugs without thinking outside the box.

With lateral thinking skills, you see the various ways users will interact with your app or website, and you can find bugs that would have otherwise been undiscovered.

2. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to use reasoning in a rational manner. This lets you discover hidden relationships between variables, which increases the possibility of finding high-risk bugs that conventional thinking would not reveal. Critical thinking gets rid of the biases associated with personal beliefs, leading you to see valid reasons with an objective perspective.

Those who possess critical thinking skills make actionable suggestions because of their ability to weigh the consequences and risks associated with the search for bugs.

3. Investigation skills

Investigation skills provide a methodology that exploratory testers can use to discover and reproduce bugs. More importantly, being comfortable with using these investigative capabilities allows you to stray from the set methodology when necessary.

With investigation skills, you can set up a plan of attack when searching for bugs and will be familiar with the signs that your chosen method needs adjustments.

4. Storytelling skills

Exploratory testing requires the ability to tell a story—in this case, the story of the app or website you test. As you examine it, you will create accounts of various uses for the software and how people will utilize it. When you find a bug, this is the climax of the story, leading to the resolution, or the developers making adjustments to eliminate the problem.

5. Communication skills

The ability to communicate with other members of the team is essential for any exploratory tester. This allows you to coordinate with additional inspectors, determining who will work on a particular aspect of the testing, so you do not overlook any part.

Once you find a bug, communication skills are once again essential in order to succinctly and accurately describe the issue as well as the steps leading up to it. Developers will need to ask you questions and receive clear explanations in response.

6. Technical skills

Some types of testing do not require vast technical skills, only a familiarity with the basics. But exploratory testing may look at the full stack, from the user interface to the layers of software underneath, so you must have the skills to understand the programs and general coding.

In order to deliver high-quality products, you need to ensure that your testing finds the bugs that impact their usage. Exploratory testers must possess these six skills if they are to find the edge cases that could derail a successful software release.

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