Think about the programs on your computer. There are games and calculators, web browsers and spreadsheets, word processors and photo editing software, and a whole lot more. Add in some of the complicated applications that businesses run, and it’s easy to see why computer software jobs are expected to grow both in the United States and around the world.
Did you realize, though, how much work it takes to build just one program?
One of the integral parts of perfecting new applications is software testing: making sure the product does what it was designed to do and that it is easy to use.
What Does a Software Tester Do?
Making sure a program works seems like an easy job, but consider all that this sort of examination entails. Every single aspect of an application must be tried out, no matter how simple it is. An example is the “Save” button that all word-processing programs have.
If you click it, does it save your work?
Does it exit the program, leaving the work unsaved?
Or does it totally crash your computer?
In a well-designed, well-tested program, it should save your work. The other two options would be considered “bugs” by a software tester. These flaws are noted and passed on to the software development team to fix. (Normally, a software tester does not fix the program flaws he or she finds.
If this is part of the work, the job title usually shifts to software developer or software engineer.) Another part of software testing involves causing the program to fail so the effects on the computer running it can be assessed.
Finding bugs is only part of the software tester’s job. It is also important to test how easy the program is to use and how well it does its job.
Are features hard to locate or unnecessary?
This too would be noted. In fact, documentation – compiling information about the program – is just as vital as finding flaws.
What Skills Will I Need?
A good software tester needs to have a sound knowledge of computers. If he or she works for a company and is part of their in-house software development team, having a firm grasp of the aptitudes and needs of the prospective user is important. So are clear communication skills.
No matter where a tester works, the ability to ‘get inside the user’s head’ and understand what they expect and how they will run the application is essential. Being determined, detail-oriented, and immune to boredom – a lot of tests are routine – is required. Finally, a well-organized, methodical, and logical mind is an asset for any job in the computer industry.
What Education Should I Have to Get a Job Testing Software?
Some companies prefer a software tester have a two- or four-year college degree in computer science or a related field. Others require certification or a certain amount of work experience. Regardless of the various requirements, a software tester needs to be very knowledgeable about computers. Whether this is acquired though college, vocational training or real-life experiences it is the most important part of a career in software testing.
Is a career as a software tester right for you?
If you are a logical, patient, computer-literate person who is comfortable with routine, you will be a good fit for the many (sometimes tedious) hours of testing and refining. Good communication skills are vital, and a tester who can anticipate how a user thinks is invaluable. If you like the idea of “testing till it breaks” and finding the flaw that caused the catastrophe; software testing could be the job for you.