Testing is a major component of software development for assuring the reliability and quality of the software. This field is very vast with a plethora of opportunities for both freshers and experienced individuals. A person aspiring to be a tester should be well-versed with the different concepts and terminologies of testing. Besides, one needs to possess certain skills and tenacity to be successful in this field. Below given are some of the key aspects of software testing and how to go about for beginners. These will give you a fair understanding of the actual process.
Before you Venture into Software Testing
Before you enter the field of software testing you need to gain thorough knowledge about the subject. For people with a background in IT, it should not be that difficult as you already know the different technical jargons and terminologies, though it would be better to take a course in software testing to get an in-depth knowledge about the concepts. However, those who are not from a technical background, it indeed can be quite difficult for them to understand the relevant terminologies.
The field of computer science and software engineering is very vast, you have to go through the basics to help you get started. Learn about the various terms used in software engineering and programming domains. Getting familiar with different technical jargons like, software, instructions, program, execution, bug/error, development and testing life cycles, etc. will help you gain enough momentum for working in the testing field. You should also get an overview of the various development methodologies such as waterfall model, spiral model, incremental integration model, etc.
After you finish the first step, start reading some books on the various concepts and fundamentals of testing procedures and how to put them into practice. Understand the various types of testing, strategies, methodologies, etc. Even though most of the definitions/terminologies are simple and quite easy to interpret, you should try to create a small definition directory, which will be handy for you anytime you wish to go through. It is always a good idea to join a training institute to help you get a better understanding about the testing methodologies. Beginners can also choose to get a diploma in software testing from a recognized institute to take their career to new heights. At this point, you will have enough knowledge to be able to take a plunge in the field of software testing.
Overview of Software Testing
As a software tester, you need to design test cases and scripts and execute them to evaluate the results of different methods. For this you have to know what is a test case, the objectives of testing, testing methods, testing levels, and testing approaches. Let us try to understand them one by one.
Objectives: To check if the software meets the needs of customers and conforms to the requirement specifications, and ensure the quality and correctness of the application.
Testing Methods: There are two popular methods of software testing – white box testing and black box testing. In white box testing, the internal code structure or algorithm of the program is taken into consideration. The test cases are designed keeping in mind the internal structure or working of the program, whereas in black box testing the tester is not required to have any knowledge about the code or algorithm of the program. It tests the functionality of the system i.e. what the system is supposed to do based on the requirement specifications. The test cases are generally built around that.
Testing Levels: Testing levels are classified into three categories: Unit testing, integration testing, and system testing. In unit testing the various units or components of the application are tested to check for the functionality of the code. In integration testing, the testing is carried out by integrating the different modules, whereas in system testing the entire system is tested for both functional and system requirements to check for the behavior of the system and how it functions at different levels.
Testing Approach: It is of two types, top-down and bottom-up approach. In top-down, the top level components are tested first going further down to the lower levels, whereas in bottom-up approach the lowest components are tested first gradually proceeding to the higher levels.
Test Case: A test case is a set of conditions that are used to determine whether an application is working fine or not. Test cases can be positive or negative. Positive test cases are designed to check if the application functions the way it is expected to be, whereas negative test cases are designed to check how the system responds to unusual sequences of actions or unexpected values. Every requirement to be tested in an application must have at least two test cases – one positive and one negative.
How to be a Good Tester
» Expand your knowledge and understanding of the subject, depth of thinking, and be creative.
» Ensure that all the problems are identified and dealt with in the initial stages to save time.
» Develop your analytical and technical skills, and try to learn new tricks which will help you stand out in the crowd.
» Test the system to find more and more bugs, giving the best results. Improve the process by giving suggestions to the developers.
» You need to have excellent people skills and maintain good relations with the developers. The main aim is to develop a quality product.
» Looking for defects/errors in a system requires curiosity, a critical eye, good communication with the development team, and experience.
» If something doesn’t work, troubleshoot to find out the reason. This will develop your confidence and help you move forward in your career.
» Develop your interpersonal skills and be tactful. Communicate the defects to the developers in a constructive way.
» Learn to work independently. This helps one to be more effective in detecting errors or defects.
» Be organized and maintain your files and documents to record your findings.
» Keep up with the latest testing tools and techniques.
» Be ready to take risks and find errors or bugs which would not have been detected otherwise.
» Learn from your mistakes so that you do not repeat them in future.
Is it Necessary to Learn Automation Tools?
The software testing field is growing at a higher rate. Though manual testing helps find bugs it can be time-consuming. So a good knowledge of the automation tools will help you test the application faster making it more reliable. The more you know about automation tools, the better chances you stand to mark your presence in the industry over others. It also depends on the type of project you are working on. If your work demands you to understand and use an automation tool, you will have to learn it.
Few Pointers for Beginners
» You should have a fair idea about the requirement specifications before you begin with testing.
» Do not test a system without knowing the requirements. The reason is simple – you don’t know what should be there in the system and what should not be!
» If you really want to test a system no matter what the requirements are, then you surely can go ahead and do so. But then you will have to use only monkey testing. The reason for this is again the same. You don’t know anything about the system! So whatever you LOGICALLY think can be a potential bug in the system, you can report it.
» You need to be aware of the software and hardware requirements of the application you are working with.
» Do not assume anything while testing a particular application.
» Follow the procedures and standards set by your organization in terms of testing tools and procedures, file maintenance, documentation, etc.
» Test the application from the customer’s point of view.
» It is not possible to test a system completely as the requirements may be subject to change.
Software testing is a wide domain with ample career opportunities. However, know your abilities, interests, and skills before you decide to take the plunge in this field.