Nobody enjoys using broken software, especially customers who value a bug-free experience.
Quality assurance (QA) teams are the unspoken heroes behind these reliable solutions. Once the developers work their magic, QA maintains a standard of excellence that people expect from their applications.
At its core, QA is about preventing software from negatively affecting customers, so an expert QA team is essential for companies that wish to uphold their reputation and retain business.
As new developments in technology push the limits of testing automation, QA testers face a new challenge. They must now demonstrate their value and bring additional benefits to the organization.
With automation improving every day, the key to a long-term QA career is to broaden your skillset and learn new abilities. Here are some skills that will take your career in QA to the next level.
Modern Methodologies (Agile and DevOps)
Trends like software complexity and tighter deadlines are speeding the adoption of DevOps and Agile, so QA professionals need to understand both if they’re to succeed in the job market.
DevOps combines cultural philosophies, practices, and tools while melding software development and IT operations. The approach aims to shorten the software development lifecycle while providing faster delivery and higher quality products.
In a DevOps model, the silos that traditionally separate operations and development teams disappear. QA can integrate into that process with a collaborative approach, ensuring quality throughout every level of the software development lifecycle.
Agile is a different approach to software development. The focus is on responding to change and focusing on people rather than the process-focus and linear development favored by more traditional software development methodologies like Waterfall.
Domain Expertise and Understanding of Business Cases
With automation leading the evolution of software testing, QA professionals need to develop industry-specific expertise to stay ahead of the curve. This knowledge helps you proactively identify and resolve issues to boost the business’s bottom line in ways that technology cannot achieve. You can also demonstrate that you bring strategic insights to the table and don’t just perform the tasks expected of you.
You can take this to the next level by learning about the client’s business model and emulating real-time business situations during testing. The process of mapping out business cases enables you to visualize complex problems and behaviors and verify the impact of different real-world scenarios on the product’s quality. These insights are extremely valuable to organizations, so learn how to provide them and you’ll go far.
Human Literacy and a User-Centric Approach
As a QA professional, you need to understand how people will use the products you help develop, as well as the impact that bugs and glitches will have on the customer.
With continuous delivery becoming more and more widespread, you can release a buggy product and fix it later. The critical skill that QA professionals need in this case is identifying whether an error is mission-critical or is fixable in a later release. To do this, you must know how to maintain a database of bugs, in addition to cultivating this user-centric mindset.
Many products are shipped with bugs because they’re not always critical to user acceptance. As a QA professional, you have the power to prevent that.
Data and Analytics
Though statistics and data have always played a role in quality assurance, analytics is becoming more and more central to this field.
QA can use data to understand users’ behavior patterns and make data-based decisions rather than educated guesses. Analytics helps you focus your efforts, highlight areas of risk, and prioritize bugs.
QA professionals who can understand and interpret this data have a clear advantage. If you’re able to take data and draw valuable insights from it to communicate with non-data-focused departments or individuals, you’ll progress quickly in your QA career.
Knowledge of New Technology Trends
Technology is evolving exponentially, and it can be pretty challenging to keep up with the latest developments. But to get ahead in your career, it’s crucial to keep informed about the latest technology trends, especially in the web and mobile domains. As technology evolves, you need to adapt quickly or risk dropping behind in the race.
As part of your professional development, regularly read industry journals and well-known online publications and follow industry leaders on social platforms. It would also be a good idea to join tech communities on Reddit and other platforms where people share relevant information and discuss ongoing developments.
Once you’re aware of the industry’s direction, you can choose what to learn more about to stay in step with the pace of new technologies. Participating in discussion forums can also help you build your brand and boost your career as you make your way up the ladder.
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If you want to learn more about testing and tools that can help you advance in your career in the QA field, read this blog post.