Beginner Tester Plan: From “Enter IT” to “I Am an Engineer!”

Hello everyone! My name is Valentine and I work as a testing engineer at Exness. Very often I hear a question about how it is now possible to become a software tester. In this article I will try to answer this question.


If you run ahead, the answer will certainly be – “Yes, it is possible!”. But here there are certain conditions: necessary and sufficient.

This article will be useful not only to those who want to find themselves in the world of IT and testing, but also to those who have already begun their journey!

I want to become a tester! Where to begin?

Testing as part of the software development process began in the early 1980s thanks to Glenford Myers. His book “The Art of Software Testing “Despite the fact that it was written a very long time ago, I recommend everyone to read it. In those days, the tester should have had “secret” knowledge of the systems that existed then. Gradually, computers and software became more accessible to the average user. And it became possible to test, having only the skills of the user of this software. Plus, of course, desire.

When, about five years ago, I started my journey, it took me several months to learn about the theory of testing, to get a little practical experience and enter the market with a great desire to become a professional. Since then, the requirements have increased, but to become a tester is still realistic, especially given the current state of affairs. Now many companies, including Exness, are trying to reorient their employees to a remote type of work. And there is a definite plus: firstly, a novice tester, as a rule, already has experience working on such portals as; secondly, the demand for online applications is growing, as is the need for new engineers.

Changing the requirements for software quality, of course, led to a change in the requirements for the tester. By the qualities necessary for a tester, I understand not only technical skills, but also the so-called soft skills.

Hard skills:

Soft skills:

  • Be passionate in the work you do;
  • Be creative and innovative;
  • The ability to think systemically;
  • The ability to put yourself in the place of the customer / consumer;
  • Visualization skill;
  • Skill of analysis;
  • Ability to reason and ask questions correctly;
  • Ability to protect, protect quality;
  • The ability to communicate well, to find a common language (no one wants to be toxic)
  • Be a good team player.

Please note that there are more soft skills listed than hard skills. But this is not the whole list. If you want to develop and conquer new heights, it is important to learn how to combine all these skills in order to be not only a tester, but also an engineer, to solve problems with knowledge in any field (testing, programming, management, DevOps, etc. .).

A tester is primarily a person with a critical mindset, an engineer who looks at the essence of the problem and sees the full picture of the application of the product. It happens that programmers, the “blue blood” of the software development cycle, are dismissive of testers. I used to hear statements that testers are not needed at all, as programmers themselves can test everything, and by and large the code is initially perfect! But your task as a tester and as an engineer working on product quality is to accept this attitude and try to change it to positive. After all, you, like a programmer, like DevOps, are part of one whole product and your task is the general task of ensuring quality. You do not find errors in a particular person, you find errors in the code and decide together how to fix them. If you will promote such ideas, then soon the programmer will become your best friend and assistant and will no longer look at you with a dumb question: “Well, what again?”.

Back to the technical skills. For those who are just mastering the testing, the following scheme will be useful:

In this diagram you can see an approximate path of movement of the tester and what is needed for this.

Let’s see where to get the necessary hard skills.

The basis of any profession will be theory. Without knowledge of the principles of testing, it is impossible to understand the processes occurring in software development and evaluate its quality. Do not try immediately at the beginning of your journey to comprehend something complex. Start diving into the profession gradually. If you miss the basic concepts and move on to the study of automation, frameworks, and programming languages, then it is likely that you will lose interest in testing in general, since you find it too complicated. Typically, beginners have a desire to learn automation after they hear that it’s almost impossible to enter the profession without it. But this is not so. Demand for “quality” manual testers does not fall, and they are still in price. Therefore, another useful book for mastering the theory of testing will be “dot com testing” by Roman Savin. If you read the above literature and are already guided in theory, then a site with a squeeze on the basics of testing is very useful to you –

How to fix the theory with practice? Choose any object from everyday life (software on a mobile phone, a microwave and even a pencil) and test it. You can pronounce test cases, but it is better to immediately write them on paper / computer in a formal form, as you will already do this at your work as a tester. Then go through these test cases and compile test reports. This method is the easiest, but effective.

However, this experience is still not enough to create a resume and interview with the employer. Therefore, in order to get real experience, I recommend registering on various portals for testers and filling out your profile as detailed as possible: indicate all your skills, knowledge, devices and software that you have (phone, computer, TV, etc. ) Here is a short list of portals:

It will not be superfluous to look for internships in various companies (at the moment they can be obtained from many large employers, work experience is not required). Internships are remote, and this expands the boundaries, because you can go through them in a company located thousands of kilometers from you!

What next? You studied the theory, got a little practical experience. But before the next step, let’s get back to how the tester should think. I have already used the term “test engineer” above. Each tester, like any other member of the product team, must first of all have a certain mentality. An engineer must be able to think systematically, be able to look at a task from different points of view, be able to abstract, not to go in cycles in a certain decision and a set of tools (a technological stack). To the question: “How do we do this?” the engineer does not have the right to answer: “I can not do this, because I can not write in Python, Java, Ruby, etc.” The correct answer would be: “I can’t do this, as this will entail a negative user experience, but I have a solution how to avoid this!” To get acquainted with this approach as an example of a well-known company, I recommend reading James Whittaker’s book “How to test on Google”. Our company, like Google, supports this engineering culture.

Now you have the necessary knowledge and experience behind you, and the next logical step will be to write a resume and enter the market. But here, not everything is so simple. How to make sure that your resume is chosen from hundreds and thousands of others and that you are invited to an interview? And how to get an interview?

In order for your resume to be noticed and chosen, it is very important to fill it out correctly. Firstly, the future quality assurance engineer in the resume should not have errors, typos, different fonts, etc. Secondly, indicate in the resume only what will help you to select the position of the tester. Third, focus on your strengths.

After the resume is compiled, it must be actively sent to all the vacancies you like. Here you can apply the following formula: by sending a resume for 50 vacancies, you will receive 15 invitations for interviews and three job offers. Another important point is that if you were refused 9 out of 10 interviews, and on one you received a job offer, then this is success. And all nine failures should be perceived only as experience, not defeat.

In addition to the correct resume, the ability to pass an interview is also important. This skill can be trained almost immediately after becoming familiar with testing. And by the time you get enough knowledge and experience, you will also be ready to go through the interview with confidence.

In testing, there is also a system of certification of specialists ISTQBwhich is divided by levels. Let’s look at what you need to know to get a basic certificate.

Basic Level Program Content:

  • Software Testing Basics;
  • Testing life cycle;
  • Dynamic testing;
  • Static testing;
  • Test management;
  • Testing Tools

If you follow the path that I described above, you will know everything that is necessary for this level.

Thus, knowledge of the fundamentals of testing, a correctly compiled resume, experience in interviews and the availability of a certificate will certainly distinguish you from the rest of the candidates!

What next? You went through an interview and got your first job as a tester!

I came to testing from another profession and received my first offer after the fourth interview. A new, interesting world has opened before me, in which at that time I did not see borders! I had a great desire to come to work and help make the product better! But over time, the question arose: “But what to do next? How much can you work as a manual (manual) tester? ” Yes, it is interesting, but I wanted to move on and develop. Although I am firmly convinced and see in practice that manual testing will be relevant for a very long time, and this will allow new testers to enter the IT world.

If we return to the diagram of the tester’s path, we will see that a novice specialist has a lot of development paths: you can either go along the path of automation, or along the path of management in testing, etc. Believe me, the choice is huge! But no matter which path you choose, you need to maintain and develop in yourself those engineering skills and mindset that we talked about above.

Once in Exness, I was glad to know that they are practicing an engineering culture that allows you to be not a tester, but a Software Engineer in the product team. We try not to focus on the separation of engineers by position (developer, tester, devops). In our team, everyone is given equal opportunities to develop and apply their skills. For me, this was the first experience. And I can say with confidence that he is very motivated to move and develop further! At the same time, this whole process does not happen on its own. The company adjusts the processes and skills of all team members in order to avoid risks. When, for example, everyone in the team starts programming.

So what will you become in the end?

So who is a tester? How to understand whether you have become one or still not? In my opinion, it is impossible to drive such an extensive field of knowledge and opportunities into one definition. Ultimately, you will no longer be just a tester or developer, you will become an engineer, owner of a product that is developing and constantly striving to improve its quality. You will cease to get stuck on some technology and will safely use the new one if it solves your current task faster and more efficiently.

And a few words about how realistic it is to get into testing now. Logging into IT through testing is no less available than before. The market is still experiencing a shortage of personnel. Even in the current, strange and incomprehensible to the market situation, more and more new vacancies appear. Also, the presence of various schools and courses for the training of testers still does not create a shaft of candidates in the market. Therefore, we can draw the following conclusion: yes, the requirements are changing, but the start in IT through testing is still available!

I wish everyone to find themselves in testing and to reveal the engineer in themselves!

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