Guide for Newbie Software QA Engineers: Paths of Development Within the First Two Years

Software test engineering plays a critical role in the software development process. As a result, the need for qualified and continuously improving software test engineers is increasing. The main purpose of this article is to convey to newly-started software test engineers what they should learn within the first one or two years, which tools they should use, and which aspects they should improve.

Basic Testing Concepts and Methodologies

Everything without a foundation is weak. For newcomers to software test engineering, the first step is to learn the basic testing concepts and methodologies. Understanding fundamental test terminology, test planning, test scenarios, and test cycles is essential. Additionally, they should learn various approaches to software testing, such as white-box and black-box testing.

Automation Test Tools

An important area that software test engineers should learn within one year is automation test tools. Automation test tools are used to automate test scenarios and expedite the testing process. Some popular tools to be learned at the beginner level include Selenium, Appium, Cucumber, JUnit, TestNG, and Robot Framework. It's important to learn how to write and implement basic automation test scenarios using these tools. Basic knowledge is sufficient at this stage, and as you progress, there will be opportunities and experiences to further develop these skills.

Bug Tracking and Issue Tracking Systems

Software test engineers should use bug tracking and issue tracking systems to effectively monitor and follow up on the bugs they find. These systems facilitate bug reporting, tracking assigned issues, and managing the resolution process. It is recommended that new engineers learn and use at least one of these systems (e.g., JIRA, Bugzilla, or Mantis).

Test Automation and Software Development Skills

Developing test automation and software development skills is crucial for software test engineers. For this, they need a basic understanding of programming. Gaining proficiency in widely used programming languages like Python, Java, or C# at a fundamental level is essential for automating test scenarios. Additionally, it's important to learn methodologies like Agile or Scrum to comprehend the software development process and collaborate effectively. You can learn these concepts from free online training programs like BTK Academy or find resources among my previous writings.

Communication and Collaboration Skills

To be successful, software test engineers need to possess excellent communication and collaboration skills. As they will be working within a team, it's crucial to report issues accurately, collaborate with other team members, and contribute to teamwork. Improving communication skills involves enhancing effective communication, teamwork abilities, problem-solving, and time management. In my opinion, a competent test engineer should excel in communication, as effective communication significantly contributes to problem-solving. You can strengthen these aspects by participating in various personal development training programs.

Embracing Innovation

Though innovation may seem intimidating at first, it is beautiful. Constantly improving yourself and being open to innovations are essential. In this regard, I've tried to outline the topics that newcomers to software test engineering should learn within their first one or two years. Basic testing concepts, automation test tools, bug tracking systems, test automation, software development skills, as well as communication and collaboration abilities, are crucial for becoming a successful software test engineer. Continuous improvement, staying updated with industry advancements, and practicing are vital steps for your career. Additionally, taking ISTQB exams to certify your knowledge can be beneficial for your career.

Software test engineering is a field that requires continuous learning and development. Acquiring basic competencies within the first two years is important, but throughout your career, you should continue to improve yourself. Wishing you success in your testing endeavors.

Author: Melih Can Demirtel