I work and manage a large global team of QA and software test professionals responsible for testing our clients’ localized software products. One of the most important contributors to a successful test program is to have the right team in place with the right skills set. Having spent over 20 years in the localization industry, I’d like to share some thoughts on the traits that I look for in a software test professional:
- Creative Thinker: A test professional should be able to visualize multiple case scenarios – what if? They should possess the imagination to place themselves in the user domain and culture and apply all the navigable scenarios within the application.
- Excellent Communicator: The ability to effectively describe and communicate, in oral or written form, the details of an issue or defect to the engineering or development team is a critical skill for a professional tester.
- Fast Learner: A test professional must be able to learn and adapt to new technologies and methodologies in a short time and with very little notice.
- Passionate: To be truly successful in a testing role requires passion and curiosity. For each assignment, there is a potential need to explore multiple and complex software and environment configurations, in order to gain the insight needed to implement a rigorous test solution.
- Analytical: To create smart testing solutions that are both efficient and thorough, it is necessary for the professional tester to be analytical. Once engaged in the test process, it is necessary to continuously analyse progress and re-calibrate the testing effort to gain optimum coverage and best use of resources.
- Customer-Focused: During the test cycle of a software system or application, the tester represents the end-user or customer. It is vital that the tester possesses the skills to fully understand the mind-set, cultural norms and real life usage patterns of the typical end-user. Failure to do this will result in key defects being missed.
- Domain Expertise: In addition to product knowledge and the ability to learn fast, a test professional should use their passion and curiosity to explore and learn the wider domain that the product or system under test belongs to. To test effectively, it is necessary to understand how the product or system is constructed and how the localization process could impact how it interacts with its environment.
- Proponent of Quality: The mind-set of a test professional should be that the software product or system under test is broken and the mission is to discover exactly where it is broken and make sure that it is repaired. This mind-set underpins the drive to produce a quality and sustainable solution. The test professional does not ‘test to break’, rather he or she uses the testing process and creativity to find what is broken, in the interests of achieving quality.
- Understanding of Business: The test professional must be able to mesh the natural instinct for exhaustive testing with the business need for efficiency and to minimize waste.
- Ability to Troubleshoot: This is often defined as the logical, systematic search for the source of a problem, so that it can be solved in order to make the software product or system operational again. In many walks of life, the ability to troubleshoot is essential, none more so than in the world of the test professional.
If you want to find out more about testing solutions, then take a look at my blog, “Four Key Components to a Successful Localization Testing Solution” or download our Welocalize QA and Testing Overview.