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Five Must-Have Skills to Look for in a QA Tester

You want to hire the best possible people to ensure software quality. Look for these QA skills beyond the tech skill buzzwords.

May 18, 2020
Tamas Cser

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You want to hire the best possible people to ensure software quality. Look for these QA skills beyond the tech skill buzzwords.
Five Must-Have Skills to Look for in a QA Tester

A talented team of highly skilled QA testers is necessary for any software project to be successful. After all, sometimes shipping software with a single bug can cost a company millions of dollars. To avoid such a disastrous possibility, savvy companies hire qualified QA testers to catch and fix defects before the software is released.

But... how can you tell if a QA tester applying for the position is qualified? Software testers are not failed programmers; this is a challenging career that requires unique skills. The demands of keeping software projects on time and within what is usually a tight deadline are incredible. This often leads to a stressful working environment and is definitely not for the faint of heart. 

These guidelines may help you find the right QA tester for your software project. Look through the candidate's resume to find evidence of these skills. 

1. Critical thinking

A company’s product must meet its customers' requirements. A skilled QA tester knows how to think from a customer’s perspective throughout the entire software development cycle; we might recast this as "empathy." For example, a good tester should be able to create many “What if” scenarios and make sure the software responds to each possibility. This way, when the customer encounters one of these scenarios, the software will still continue to work properly. 

2. Flexibility

QA testers need to be comfortable with different testing techniques (such as automation versus manual testing), common tools, and at least a passing familiarity with the options. For example, manual-testing skills alone won’t cut it. If the job calls for automation testing, then that is what they should be able to do as well. But don't hire purely based on past experience; look for evidence that the job candidate has regularly learned new things. Someone who has become proficient in five older tools probably can learn the next five -- including some that aren't created yet. 

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3. Excellent communication skills

Many still think that a QA tester’s job is an isolated role that doesn’t involve communication with C-level executives or stakeholders, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Software testers need to effectively communicate with clients and those outside of their role, especially when it comes to discussing issues with development. Having the ability to communicate with both technical and non-technical people is necessary. 

4. Quick to learn

Project changes are almost always part of the gig, which means that there is no single way to handle issues that develop. There is always room for self-improvement. QA testers must adapt quickly to new tools and techniques. The project isn’t on their time schedule it’s on the company’s, so they must get with it in order to move the product further. Besides, when was self-directed learning ever a negative for an individual or the company they work for? 

5. Collaboration and social skills

As more companies move to an Agile testing approach, departmental silos break down. Where QA testers were once kept separate from other processes, now they are asked to collaborate with developers, programmers, and C-level executives. That's a good thing! But it does require that the tester understand how to convey important issues to other people, and to listen well. The best QA testers work closely with those outside of their expertise to ensure a successful product at release. 

These are just some of the traits a quality-driven QA tester possesses. The top goal of any company is the need to create and deliver high-quality products, and a QA tester plays a vital role. To achieve the desired outcome, you need someone who has the skill set necessary to move the product to the finish line and guarantee an excellent product as the end result.


Please check our article about "Selective QA Interview Questions for Managers to Ask" to boost your QA confidence.