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qa-engineer

QA-engineer: the unknown hero
of high-quality software

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I’ve recently learned the opinion, that QA is enough to be able to tap the buttons quickly. Hm! In this article I’ll try to dispel the myth about QA engineers, as a playful monkey.


This article will be helpful both for specialists, who got to be QA and the people, who underestimate the work of the engineer on software testing. Hope, QA-engineers will support all our endeavours and give us their expert advices on development.

What does it mean to be a QA-engineer?

The most important feature of an engineer — a strong sense of responsibility, and QA-engineer’s sense of responsibility should be aggravated twice.

About skills, without which, in my opinion, QA-engineer will be difficult to work:

  • The ability to organize work properly.It requires some testing plan and the minimum calculation risks to the correct estimation of the amount of effort and time. You must be able to plan your work in such a way to maximize the benefit of spending hours, allocated to testing.
  • The ability to concentrate in multitasking mode. Since QA-engineer is a shared resource and can participate in several projects at once, it is quite difficult to remember all the details of all the tasks of all projects.
  • The ability to convey your idea. At the moment of describing observations in bugtracker — it is very important. It is necessary not just indicate an error. You should intelligible explain how to reproduce and write step-by-step actions for it.

Besides these three, there are many other important skills, but all of they will not work without the self-discipline of QA-engineer.

With what begins project testing?

Testing engineer must understand the purpose and know well the basic functionality of the project. Helps the introductory discussion with the project manager and the specification, if any, has the place to be.

Then all ready tasks are reviewed and checked. It is important to know exactly what are you doing. As the tester is connected to the project, which is still under development, it is difficult to keep from creating unexisted bugs because of raw functionality.

Testing ends with full regression of all project modules.

Here again is checked everything, what was already corrected and more than once checked. This includes: functionality of every module, adaptation of page-layout and stress-testing.

If the final stage of testing passed without any remarks, the development of the project can be considered successfully completed.

What is it — the non-print project testing?

While reading the books about Quality Assurance engineering, you would think that this process is unhurried, detailed and planned out for a calculated detail.

In the books are depicted the beautiful graphics, meetings of smiling team, tables and charts.

My dear friends! The real project testing is far from the bookish, described by my colleagues. If you work in a company, where is the one and a half tester, and you have more than enough projects, then welcome to the ranks of severe testing.

Some truth about testing

If you have 2 or more projects, you don’t have time to colorize graphs and charts and also, to a beautiful compilation of the tables. You will work, memorizing and holding every detail of your projects in mind or on paper. Certainly, tables and plans are necessary and useful tools. But, because of the tight deadlines, you dip into the project and don’t have enough time to paperwork. The results are discussed at the meetings, are recorded in the bugtracker and written reports to the manager.

QA-engineer
Multitask mode is always switched on.

Testers also cry....

The main trouble — of the tester is a Paradox of the pesticides. In other words, «blurry eyes», there is great chance of missing an error. To deal with this, you can connect a third-party tester to the project or create a focus group. But, if the proposed options are unreal, I can give you only one advice — to take a break and continue working with «fresh look».

The second trouble of the tester — is the organization of working time. When you need to check a variety of devices, and there are managers of other projects behind your back, and they are waiting for you to work with their projects. Slight panic starts following you. Set priorities — is what managers should worry about. Tester should as much as possible keep within the allotted time frames and signal about existing problems.

And here comes up the third trouble of the tester — a chronic lack of time.There is only rigid planning and nothing more. Well, if you are absolutely cornered with deadlines, you need to ask for help from the team. Remember, that the whole team is responsible for the quality of the project, not just the software test engineer! Read about one of thesis in a review on the flexible testing.

And the most annoying problem in testing — an incomplete clearance of tasks. Those, who works in the sphere of testing, most probably faced with a difference between the implementation and formulation of the task. And on revealing, it turns out that somebody simply forgot to notify you and fix the changes. Here it is necessary to remind not to be lazy to record each time even the slightest changes in writing. Make it clear, that the competent execution of tasks saves time and nerves of all team members.

What are we doing to facilitate the difficult plight of in-demand tester:

  1. We have introduced a checklist for the tester. Project manager fills it, taking into account all the relevant information. This approach allowed not to ask questions once again, that sensitively saves time.
  2. All project tasks passed through Bugtracker. There is nothing new and every self-respecting QA specialist knows how to use it. It becomes very useful, if you lead it competently.
  3. We have developed a unified template to draw up bugs. You will not miss details in description of the error.
  4. For some projects, we write a short report, which presents the results of testing. It’s great for self-checking and for the future work of the project.
  5. We wrote a lot of cheat sheets to verify the basic functionality both for web and mobile applications. This approach systematizes testing and saves time.
  6. We are working on the optimization of a test plan. It’s quite important, if you are going on vacation / sick / quit and the project should be transferred to another engineer.
  7. We are preparing test data, which is convenient at testing loads.
  8. We’ve analyzed a lot of tools to optimize and automate the testing process. And we continue the search for a tool, that would fully fit our work.

Much has been done, and much remains to be done! Give only the time — we have lots of ideas!

Thanks to all! Waiting for comments and suggestions. Second waiting for more :)