QA in Software Testing: Everything you should know and more

September 14, 2020

If you’re one of our avid blog readers you’ll know that we talk a lot about software quality assurance. We look at what it is? How to get into it? And, what are the standards and procedures of software testing? Today we will introduce you, our reader and future tester, to the role of a testing specialist, and we will tell you what you need to do to make sure that the software that you test comes out perfect after you have completed your QA testing.

Check out what we have to say below.

Common mistakes QA engineers make and how to solve them 

It doesn't matter if you're working for a small company or being a software quality assurance engineer at a monster of an organization – the point is testing can be tricky, and it is imperative to make sure that all QA tests run as smoothly as possible, while capturing accurate results.

Here are a few common errors that typically occur when QA engineers think about or start their new career. 

Thinking you have to have a university education, rather than self-educating yourself

Learning something new is sometimes tricky. Sometimes we have worries about where we can learn and how we learn best. For the majority of us we will associate learning with going to school, but actually there is another way – self-education. This is when we learn by ourselves. 

(If you’re unsure on what learning style you prefer check out our article here.)

Self-education has many perks, including the amount of freedom it can offer you, but also it can be much quicker than a formal education system.

Take this as an example: To become a QA engineer all you need to do is to take a short course, at home, with JobEasy, and prepare yourself for future interviews. 

On our course we only teach you exactly what you need to know to get into the job you want – there are no boring parts. 

Plus, we have professional tutors who have worked in the IT field who are there to support you, our future student, at every opportunity. Whether it be to tackle motivational lows or general burnout, we can get you feeling better and on track again! 

And you could find yourself working in a high paying job within months of graduating too, which isn’t always the case after you leave university! 

So, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to do years and years of learning to get into QA because you don’t. Take our course and become a great success today. Plus, we’ll be there to support you all the way. 

Poor English

English is needed to get a job as a QA engineer in the United States. 

There are an incredible number of sources for learning foreign languages ​​now, from tutorials and courses, to YouTube channels, and Instagram blogs. With such a wide choice, it’s even more important to find a suitable training system for you. 

But did you know, in the field of QA there is a specific language, which is called ‘IT-English’. 

Increasing your IT-English level and working with your language proficiency is a requirement today for when you are looking at getting a job in IT.

Make sure that you learn about IT-English and that you practice it as often as you can, don’t just ‘hope’ to get by with basic English. You will be speaking and communicating across various platforms when you’re a QA engineer so you must be able to speak and write as clearly as possible. Language errors can be costly to a QA project.  

Not preparing for an interview

Almost everyone has been to an interview where they have been asked a question that they hadn’t planned for. We all try and give an answer but it sometimes comes out wrong, and we lose our professionalism. Stop this happening by preparing for your interview.

Prepare for your interview by thinking about all the weird and wonderful questions the recruiter could ask. It doesn’t matter if it is silly. 

For example, “Tell us about your mistakes – what did they teach you?”, “How would you test a toaster?”, “If we hire you, what would you like to work on?”, and “What do you want to do in 5 years?» 

Don't rely on improvisation – prepare your answers now, so that when you’re asked a question you can answer it confidently, and this applies to any interview at any organization.

One of the most challenging questions that you are likely to be asked at all interviews is − “Why did you leave your previous job?”

This question is the type of question that is going to determine how your interview, and the outcome of this interview, will turn out. If your answer does not satisfy the recruiter, then in some cases the recruiter will try and delve deeper into your reasons, and all further dialogue in your interview is built around this topic. But answer well, and you could be the glowing interviewee that they’re after.

So, how do you answer this challenging question without making yourself look bad, and ultimately, leaving the recruiter happy and wanting to employ you? We have the answer right here in this article.

Let’s now take a look at common mistakes that beginners are likely to make when they start running software quality assurance tests.

Mistakes in software quality assurance

Imagine that you have joined a team of testers just like you. You are all ready to embark on your new careers, hoping that you will never make a mistake. Well, rest assured, you will make a mistake, or many actually, in your first few months as a QA tester. 

So, what kind of mistakes are you likely to make? Below are the most common errors that beginners make. 

Not verifying why a defect occurred properly

Generally, beginners will find and solve the defect that was found after running a test. But, beginners tend to forget to check the cause of the defect. This leads to a recurrence of the problem because the issue wasn’t sorted out properly.

Approach error

Beginners typically mix up automated and manual testing. This is what usually happens: an automated testing process is used where you don't need it, and a manual testing process is used when it should’ve been an automated test. These are very common mistakes, but are typically eradicated over time and with practice. 

There are two fundamental approaches to testing – they complement each other, and when used together, they yield the best results. The two approaches are manual and automated testing.

  1. Manual testing process. This is when a human tester interacts with a software product with the aim of finding bugs. A tester interacts with the software directly, and compares the expected result with the real results, and they make recommendations on how to improve the product. The main advantages of this approach include; the ability to get real UX and UI feedback, and generally the price is low when it is used on small projects. But it also has significant drawbacks. A human can sometimes miss bugs, there can sometimes be low performance, and the price for the work can go up drastically if the project gets bigger.
  2. Automated testing process. This is when a special testing code is written that repeatedly simulates actions within the software to check for errors. Automated testing is much quicker and is great for saving money. For example, an automated test can perform 1000 actions repeatedly and it usually doesn’t miss errors. Although this approach is not perfect, an automatic test will not find an error if a particular error is beyond the scope of the script it is following, and it does not take into account the real user experience.

Ignoring the user experience (UX)

UX is "user experience" and it is sometimes overlooked by beginners. 

Ignoring the UX can cause a lot of trouble, because you're basically forgetting about how the product is going to be interpreted by the end user. A bad user experience is likely to turn users off which is detrimental to the company who owns the product.

Make sure you think about all the UX actions that could be performed when performing a QA test.

Uncontrolled "flight"

Testers often say, "There is nothing we can do for a live application." 

This is wrong: just because a software product has been sent out to be used by users it does not mean that the quality control process is complete. 

In fact, QA engineers need to keep a close eye on the product’s activities as soon as customers start using it because this is when little errors, that might have gone unnoticed, are likely to be picked up. 

QA engineers must be vigilant at all times, they must be prepared to analyze any errors, and deliver on the requests placed upon them by product owners, should they receive negative feedback from end users.

What happens when a project reaches a QA engineer?

You have learnt, gained experience, got rid of mistakes, and are ready to work with large projects. Having been freed from the hands of developers, the project has been dropped into your loving hands. So, what happens next? How do professional QA teams determine software quality? And, what do QA teams check first?

Below we have outlined the process that a QA engineer generally follows when performing a test, you will also see the questions that will be asked at each stage too. 

Functionality. Are the software functions correct and implemented correctly? How does the program interact with other system components? Can it handle data securely? Does it comply with the required laws and regulations? 

Reliability. Does the software work under certain conditions, for example, component failure? How often does the software fail? How soon can the system reach full capacity after a failure? 

Convenient for users. Can users easily understand the functions of the software? How much effort does it take to understand the functions of the software? 

Efficiency. Did the development team adhere to the best practices in coding when developing the software? Is the architecture designed with efficiency in mind? 

Maintainability. How easy is it to identify and fix a software bug? Is it possible to determine the root cause of the breakdown? How much effort will it take to modify the code in the event of a malfunction? How stable is the system’s performance when making changes?

Portability. Can the system adapt to changes in its environment? How easy is it to replace a system component in a particular environment?

The plan will differ depending on each individual task. Here, for example, we looked at how you, as a tester, would test a company's website.

The testing process is not as simple as it seems at a first glance. However, we are sure that our article will help you to look at the testing process in a different way, because learning and making errors are a normal part of any activity. And our course will help you learn about possible problems in advance long before they arise.

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