How to Become a Software Tester
If you’ve been thinking about starting a career as a Software Tester, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide contains helpful information such as average salaries, necessary skills, educational requirements and more.
What Does a Software Tester Do?
Software Testers ensure the quality of any given software by testing the program and making note of the errors or bugs that they come across in the process. Software Testers can be employed as independent contractors or as permanent employees of technology companies, and can work both independently and as a part of a team.
In addition to running tests on various programs, Software Testers are also responsible for carefully recording the location and characteristics of each error, replicating each error for the software developers and presenting their findings to colleagues. Common Software Tester duties and responsibilities include:
- Running both automated and manual software tests
- Writing comprehensive bug reports
- Providing general feedback
Software Tester Skills
While being able to run a variety of tests and carefully record the results is the primary function of Software Testers, great communication skills are just as important. After all, Software Testers need to explain their observations to a variety of people involved in the project, make sure that every error they discover is thoroughly documented and understand both the scope and purpose of each project.
Other key Software Tester skills include:
- Excellent problem-solving skills
- Clear and straightforward writing style
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work methodically and meticulously under pressure
- Some level of familiarity with software programming and coding
How Do You Become a Software Tester?
Education and Training
According to our analysis of online job postings, employers are looking for Software Testers with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, information technology or a similar field, although computer science is the most commonly preferred area of study.
Additionally, some employers require potential candidates to be certified by the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB). Available certifications include foundation level, advanced tester, security tester and more. Click here for more information on becoming certified.
Finally, although knowledge of scripting or coding usually isn’t strictly necessary, it’s viewed as a significant bonus by the majority of employers and can widen your job opportunities considerably.
Finding a Job
According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for Computer Systems Analysts, which includes Software Testers, is rising by an impressive 21%. This is expected to result in the opening of 118,600 new positions between 2014 and 2024. This rapid rate of demand increase can be attributed to a steadily growing market for mobile networks, cybersecurity and computer technology in general.
Before you start looking for jobs, you’ll need to have a professional and well-written resume ready for submission. Check out JobHero’s library of Software Tester resume samples for ideas.
Once your resume is complete, conduct an online job search to find open positions in your area. Before you start sending out applications, however, you’ll want to consider composing a cover letter to accompany your resume. A good cover letter can convey your work ethic, areas of interest, reasons for applying and special areas of expertise to prospective employers. Take a look at our wide variety of cover letter samples for inspiration.
Insights from a Software Tester
In order to get an insider’s perspective on how to become a Software Tester, we spoke with Scott Sherwood, a former Software Tester and the founder of TestLodge.
What is the common career path for Software Testers?
I’ve seen software testers come from a range of backgrounds: as former software developers, former project managers and sometimes even fresh out of university. There’s no single career path [for] becoming a software tester, that’s for sure.
What should someone consider before becoming a Software Tester?
I wouldn’t consider it essential, but having basic programming skills can really help a lot when it comes to growing a software testing career, as it can help you to understand what you’re working on a little better and to essentially put yourself in the shoes of the developer who created the software that you’re testing.
What type of person excels in this job?
The type of person who is willing to learn and explore ways of improving the way that the team works. Additionally, anyone who is looking to improve the efficiency of the team–and the software that they’re testing–should do well.
What are some of the most important skills for Software Testers to have?
Perhaps the most important is attention to detail. You have to have very good attention to detail in order to do well in this role.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Software Tester?
There are a few, but the biggest ones are the fact that you’re helping to deliver quality software, and working directly with other people from other departments, which can be a really good way to see how other teams/departments operate within a company–how everything pieces together, essentially.
How Much Do Software Testers Get Paid?
Depending on whether they work as a project-based contractor or a permanent employee, Software Testers can be paid on an hourly wage basis or an annual wage basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for Software Testers is $41.25, with the lowest-paid earning $24.96 per hour and the highest-paid earning $65.12 per hour.
Top 10 States for Software Tester Salary
Software Testers in the following ten states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.
- District of Columbia: $47.77
- Virginia: $45.85
- California: $45.51
- New Jersey: $45.49
- Delaware: $44.97
- Connecticut: $43.73
- Washington: $43.40
- Colorado: $43.28
- New York: $43.14
- Massachusetts: $42.72
Software Tester Resources
We put together this list of resources to help you keep exploring your career as a Software Tester.
Association for Software Testing – The AST was founded in 2004 and now has members in more than 50 countries. It provides its members with an annual conference, a newsletter, continuing education and informational videos.
Software Test Professionals – STP serves over 50,000 Software Testers around the world. It provides its members with the bi-monthly magazine Software Test and Quality Assurance, a library of articles and webcasts, continuing education, certification courses, an annual conference and annual awards.
Software Testers on LinkedIn
Bug Free – This group of more than 30,000 members aims to provide a platform for discussion where Software Testers can share advice and techniques.
ISTQB Certified Professionals – This group has over 32,000 members and enables certified Software Testers to network, connect and discuss relevant topics.
Software Tester Books
A Friendly Introduction to Software Testing – This book covers all the need-to-know fundamentals, from theory and terminology to test plans and bug reporting.
Testing Computer Software – This book focuses on how to be an effective Software Tester in real-world situations, and explains how to work with tight budgets, strict deadlines and frustrated developers.