What Makes a Good Software Tester?

Here's a list of traits that most software testers should have:

· They are explorers. Software testers aren't afraid to venture into unknown situations. They love to get a new piece of software, install it on their PC, and see what happens.

· They are troubleshooters. Software testers are good at figuring out why something doesn't work. They love puzzles.

· They are relentless. Software testers keep trying. They may see a bug that quickly vanishes or is difficult to re-create. Rather than dismiss it as a fluke, they will try every way possible to find it.

· They are creative. Testing the obvious isn't sufficient for software testers. Their job is to think up creative and even off-the-wall approaches to find bugs.

· They are (mellowed) perfectionists. They strive for perfection, but they know when it becomes unattainable and they're okay with getting as close as they can.

· They exercise good judgment. Software testers need to make decisions about what they will test, how long it will take, and if the problem they're looking at is really a bug.

· They are tactful and diplomatic. Software testers are always the bearers of bad news. They have to tell the programmers that their baby is ugly. Good software testers know how to do so tactfully and professionally and know how to work with programmers who aren't always tactful and diplomatic.

· They are persuasive. Bugs that testers find won't always be viewed as severe enough to be fixed. Testers need to be good at making their points clear, demonstrating why the bug does indeed need to be fixed, and following through on making it happen.

Software testing is a critical job. With the size and complexity of today's software, it's imperative that software testing be performed professionally and effectively. Too much is at risk. We don't need more defective computer chips, crashed systems, or stolen credit card numbers.

Look at a few examples so you can start thinking about all the boundary possibilities:

· If a text entry field allows 1 to 255 characters, try entering 1 character and 255 characters as the valid partition. You might also try 254 characters as a valid choice. Enter 0 and 256 characters as the invalid partitions.

· If a program reads and writes to a CD-R, try saving a file that's very small, maybe with one entry. Save a file that's very largejust at the limit for what the disc holds. Also try saving an empty file and a file that's too large to fit on the disc.

· If a program allows you to print multiple pages onto a single page, try printing just one (the standard case) and try printing the most pages that it allows. If you can, try printing zero pages and one more than it allows.

· Maybe the software has a data-entry field for a 9-digit ZIP code. Try 00000-0000, the simplest and smallest. Try entering 99999-9999 as the largest. Try entering one more or one less digit than what's allowed.

· If you're testing a flight simulator, try flying right at ground level and at the maximum allowed height for your plane. Try flying below ground level and below sea level as well as into outer space.

Since you can't test everything, performing equivalence partitioning around boundary conditions, such as in these examples, to create your test cases is critical. It's the most effective way to reduce the amount of testing you need to perform.


It's vitally important that you continually look for boundaries in every piece of software you work with. The more you look, the more boundaries you'll discover, and the more bugs you'll find.


SoftwareQATestings.com said...

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Anonymous said...

Very informative post and it was quite helpful to me. I also wrote something on similar lines on how to become a good software tester - http://bit.ly/1RsCwuR