Have you ever participated in a test and wondered how fellow testers can find so many issues in the software application? This happens a lot when you start out your career as a tester. Experienced testers know what to look for in an application, but there are certain traits every good tester should possess beyond experience. In this article, we are going to explore some of these vital characteristics:
1. Curiosity – be skeptical and question everything about the app. Don’t believe that the build is error-free until you have tested it thoroughly and certified that there are no errors. This literarily means that you should think outside of the box in order to capture scenarios that developers might have missed. For instance, if you want to submit a form, it’s easy to fill out all the fields and send it out, but what happens when you leave different required fields blank and submit it multiple times? The ability to imagine what happens when certain actions are performed is crucial for discovering issues in a software application. Don’t restrict your thinking, imagine ‘what if’ and ‘what else’. Try out every possibility you can imagine and see how the app responds, while still acting as a real user.
2. Attention to detail – this trait is an innate ability and testers should develop it especially if it doesn’t come naturally. Try to pay attention to every slightest detail, it will allow you to catch bugs quickly. Consistency is a key requirement here. In addition to that, when an instruction guide is given, these instructions should be read, understood and owned. They will guide you in identifying issues that are relevant to the developer.
3. Logical thinking – testing is not a mere walk around an app and clicking through different buttons to see if they respond. Testers generally have to think analytically and go through several possibilities, reason steps, evaluation and validation of the whole process leading to an issue. Sometimes, some issues that seem like bugs at first glance may not necessarily be bugs at all. Therefore, you have to think logically like the developer and try to decipher what the developer has implemented in each scenario, and this will let you know what is intended and working as designed or what not.
4. Focus on small units – this is very important as most issues can be found by dividing the application into smaller units, working on each of these units first and then expanding to the whole application. In simple terms, this is the ability to focus on the smallest unit and test everything around it first. For instance, a check-out process consists of several steps, each of them with specific functionalities, and each of them with interaction elements like buttons and input fields. Don’t get distracted by the bigger picture!
5. Communication – this skill is what all testers should have while reporting an issue. Everything the reviewers and developers have is what you document in your bug report and the media you attach to it. From your report, it should be possible to follow the same steps and reproduce the reported issue. Note that misunderstandings are possible, therefore it is imperative that all necessary steps leading to the issue are clearly communicated. Ensure that what you intend to pass across is clearly stated without any ambiguity. Before submitting your report, take a step back and read it from the perspective of someone who does not know anything about the bug and adjust it where necessary.
All in all, one may ask what about other qualities like dedication, good work ethics, sincerity, eagerness to learn, and so much more that is necessary for every job. We believe that the traits discussed above are must-haves for being successful at debugging an application. These characteristics can help testers in their day-to-day testing activities and ultimately excel in the testing field.