My first year as a QA Tester has been an exciting learning experience. For those of you who are not familiar with quality assurance, here is a simple definition: it is a process where a product that is being developed, is reviewed to confirm that it matches and satisfies the right requirements and the correct criteria. QA is an area filled with opportunities and many career paths to choose, from manual and automation testing to test management or mobile testing. Right before I started to work in MagmaLabs, I didn't have much experience in the field except for the experience that I acquired in my internship at another company.
QA caught my attention very early in my career because it can impact immensely in the user experience when using a brand new product for the first time, and this is a make it or break it for an ecommerce site. If the users like the product and have a good experience, they’re likely to come back to use it again. This can be the difference between the success or failure of a business and it’s also one of the reasons why investing and having the best quality possible is so significant and rewarding.
I have worked in a fair quantity of projects by now where I faced some pretty tough challenges. The most common ones have been changes to the original requirements by the client including changes to the original designs as well, the scope of the project getting adjusted, having very tight deadlines to deliver the product and the removal and addition of members to the team. All of these factors can transform very easily in potential risks to a project if they’re not handled in a proper manner.
Here are some of the lessons that I’ve learned and have facilitated doing my job:
1. Have communication with your team.
This first point is essential to always keep in mind; having great relations and getting along with PM’s, designers and especially with developers is very useful because they can help you a lot when you have questions or doubts, which is something that makes things way easier as a tester. All the members are your allies, in the end, you’re part of a team searching the same goal: your project's success.
2. Put yourself in the user position.
It’s very easy to get carried away with the everyday workload of a project but it’s vital to always take into account the experience the user will have. As a tester you need to become the user when testing the system as a whole, which means that you should try to recreate all the flows the user can think of, not only the happy paths.
3. Prioritize your work.
Imagine you are assigned to a very big project, the development of it is still going, you (the QA tester) still have a lot to test in the system, the project has a very tight budget which means no other QA resources will be assigned and your deadline is coming up fast. This leaves you with only one option: distinguish which things are a priority and test these first to make sure the most critical user stories work fine. After that, you can pass to the non-critical user stories if you still have time.
4. Be creative and develop your attention to detail.
The software can never be 100% bug-free, according to the seven general principles of testing; therefore, you always need to be on the lookout for new ways to test your system. If you’re not finding issues on your site anymore, it might be time to think even more outside of the box and try to find the most unusual scenarios the user could follow in order to continue identifying issues.
This point is super important especially when you’re involved in a very complex and large project. Creating test cases will give you the opportunity of track your test coverage and they also can be the head start for test automation. The documentation can be very useful for the team and for the testers that will come to the project after you and trust me, they will definitely thank you for it.
6. Bonus! Have at least one mentor.
This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my time here. I'm very glad and lucky to have a supportive QA team because they are always willing to help you, answer your questions and clear any doubts that you might have. My advice is to try to surround yourself with people who know more things than you and whom you can learn from, you'll grow and your mentors will grow too.
These lessons have helped me grow and I hope they can be helpful to early QA testers like myself and remember, the purpose of Quality Assurance is all about improving the quality of a system and reducing risks by identifying issues since the beginning of the project if possible.