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What a Professional Tester Is: A Clear Picture of QA, QC, and Testing

Submitted by on Tuesday, 26 December 20190 Comments

Improving the quality of the product, whatever it may be - from mobile games to software to launch rockets into space - every day more and more important for business. And the main role is played by quality assurance specialists. All of them are divided into various professional levels and areas, but their goal is the same - to check and ensure the standards of the manufactured product. It may seem to a person from the outside that all “testing specialists” are engaged in the same boring tasks, but this is not so. We will understand what the professional testers really do and what place they occupy in the team.

What is QA, QC, testing and What Is a Tester?

Testing covers the entire development cycle and includes the planning, design, creation, and execution of test cases. Now we will talk briefly about the skills needed for professional testers.

  • QA - product quality assurance - this is, in fact, the whole complex of processes that ensure quality, the most extensive concept. QA is integrated into all stages of development: from the project description to testing, release and even post-release maintenance. QA specialists create and implement various tactics to improve quality at all stages of production: preparation and setting of standards, quality analysis, a selection of tools, error prevention and continuous process improvement.
  • QC (English Quality Control) - product quality control - this is part of the QA complex, which is responsible for analyzing test results, finding errors and eliminating them. QC is focused on checking a specific product, it includes various processes, such as code analysis, technical reviews, design analysis, testing, and more.
  • Testing is already directly the process of checking the results of work for compliance with established requirements. A tester is a specialist who is engaged in such verification. He tests the components of the product or the entire product for errors or inaccuracies in development. Testing is one of the key processes in the quality assurance system.

Specialization of testers in software testing companies can be divided into the following areas: testing of security, performance, usability; as well as test writing methods: manual and automated testing. Now most companies are organized in such a way that the testers in them are mainly employees at the initial stage of their careers - that is, they are junior testing specialists. They perform software checks on ready-made test cases. Higher level specialists (test analysts, auto-testers, testing managers) help them at other stages of development.

Tester's Career: Development Options

A tester in almost any software testing company has three career paths: vertical, horizontal and adjacent.

  • Vertical development. The first option is to develop in the field of quality assurance in a hierarchy, that is, go into project or team management. Each testing segment has its own grades that determine the level of specialist: junior, middle and senior. The head of all specialists is a test-lead or team-lead, depending on the specifics of the company. On some projects, there may also be a separate quality engineer, head of QA. From a novice specialist, a tester can grow to any of the levels, the main thing is to constantly keep yourself in good shape. The basics of the profession are not difficult to master, but to develop further and to acquire new knowledge at each stage is much more difficult. Of course, everything depends on the person, but, for example, from junior to middle it is possible to grow on average per year.
  • Horizontal development. The second option is to develop as a specialist and pump hard skills, and in the future, thanks to them, you can choose the most interesting direction. The tester can become an autotester or a specialist in testing usability, security, performance. At the same time, there are professionals who can combine both options. To choose a narrower direction, you need a decent programming knowledge and other technical background. In small companies, it happens that one specialist is responsible for all the areas described above. He is instructed to carry out load testing and write autotests, a kind of person orchestra - this approach is common, although not entirely true.

Demand for Automated Testing

Autotesting, speaking about the skills of a specialist, requires more qualification, and therefore is paid higher than manual testing. Many companies have come to the conclusion that autotests for routine processes, such as passing regressions, are in many ways more profitable than manual testing. They try to hire employees who write autotests on those processes that were previously checked by manual testers (or even not checked at all).