How many bugs have you found today?
A software test analyst reviews software functionality and documents the testing of that software. Essentialy, a tester will read through specifications of an application and create test conditions to check that it works as specified.
As no particular programming knowledge is required there are very few barriers to entry and therefore it has become a very competitive field. In 2012, landing a job as a software tester will require you to completely stand-out amongst other applicants. By following a few practical tips, you can easily get that interview you need to move you to next base.
Software Testing isn't for dummies
One of the first things you need to focus on is your CV, as this is your advertising medium. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your capability as the best person for the job. Moreso, you need to prove that you understand what an employer is looking for. Your services as a Software Tester are an essential element to a company’s reputation and as such they need to know how reliable, responsible and serious you are.
So firstly, don’t just go and copy any old bog-standard CV template that you find. Many of them are really appalling! Your formatting is very important here so be certain to use nothing less than 11 pt and either Arial or Sans-serif font.
Secondly, always include a covering letter. I cannot stress how important this is. Here you can focus on what the employer wants and prepare a list of your skills that matches that job requirement. Highlight these skills within your CV. State your objectives clearly but keep it all short, only one to two sentences. Be sure that any skills you have in software testing are emphasised. Avoid writing your life story and irrelevant interests in your CV. I once read on a CV sent to me “I have a dog called Muggles and just as parents love children and children love parents, I love my dog and my dog loves me” Seriously? If you are applying for a dog-walking position fine but on what planet would this be of interest to anyone in IT?
I could write a whole book on CV do’s and don’ts but this isn’t the forum for that. My final point on the matter is don’t turn yourself into a bullet-point Billy or Belinda (every one does that!) I really want to read your timeline as a tester; don’t just tell me what you did, tell me why you did it and what the result was.
Ensure software does what it says on the tin
If you don’t have relevant software testing experience, then get some by all means possible. This is invaluable; so try amd get some specific practical training working on dummy or real live projects. There are many of these available on the Internet. Look for software programs like inventory management software to work on. Download the software and documentation and follow the testing process. Get your work evaluated by other software testing professionals.
If you require a training course to hone your skills then ensure that you will be working on practical exercises just as you would if you were at work. Better still if you can find an internship/work experience scenario Even if’s unpaid take it! Some people will give their left arm for the opportunity!
OK I’ve left this last deliberately – that’s because it’s the least important of the three
(imho). Employers these days will not even consider applicants that only have a theoretical overview ISQTB qualified or not. As laudable as that may be (becoming certified), what they will need you to demonstrate is knowledge of real world Testing scenarios and solutions.
So why become certified ? To understand testing methodologies and processes. More importantly, to get your nose past the glorified gate keepers aka recruitment consultants. Yes, those agencies will throw in the kitchen sink along with all sorts of qualifications and skills that they deem to be essential for you to have before applying to their testing role. Most of them really don’t have a clue as to what their client is looking for but are continuously regurgitating the same old job template they’ve been using for the last 5 years.
So get your certification by all means but don’t rest on that as the other two are far more important. Good luck !
Femi Lana is the Managing Director of Futuretrend Technologies Ltd who run training courses for aspiring software testers via CareerTesters.com