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How to Be a Valued Software Tester

Do you think you are valued by your company and colleagues? Is it something you can control and improve? Yes, and there are some tips below.

In a modern world, just fulfilling your direct job responsibilities is no longer enough to give you a successful career. You need to build relationships, let the world know about you, and take care of your company’s interests. It is factors like these that define how much you are valued as an employee and a team member. Let’s take a look at some areas where good practice is highly valued in any profession, not just in testing.

How to Be a Valued Software Tester

Communication

Being able to communicate well is crucial for a modern (and especially agile) software tester. Among the essential skills are being able to negotiate, to build rapport, having an ability to listen and hear an opponent’s point of view, as well as knowing how to constructively confront and/or diffuse conflict. Having good writing skills is a must too. In addition to communication at your workplace, having overall good relationships with your colleagues, regardless of their level, is also highly beneficial.

In short, don’t be toxic. Find a way to set a positive tone in your daily communication, whether in chats, in an email thread or during the lunch. We often don’t realize how big an impact this part of our conduct can have on our career, but the truth is – nobody is happy having to deal with a person who attacks others and is negative about everything.

Team Work

For a tester, it is important to be able to work independently as well as part of a team, and they must remember the value of cooperation. If you can motivate and support your teammates, teach them and learn from them, as well as interact effectively and efficiently and maintain a friendly atmosphere, then you’ll be a desirable part of any team. Besides that, it is important to build trustful and collaborative relationship between the development & testing teams as they have the common goal of wanting to produce high-quality software.

Flexibility and Learning

In a fast-paced tech world, we need to learn constantly in order to remain in demand as specialists. Training your mind to be flexible and open to new ideas, knowledge and skills can be a very valuable investment in your career and personal development. Keep an eye on software testing skills in demand for the latest trends to take on, and consider your personal ratio of deep and broad skill sets.

Visibility and Ability to Present your Results

A lot of good specialists remain unvalued for the reason of their modesty and lack of understanding about how to present the results of their work. If you don’t want to be one of them, take care of two things.

  1. Make sure you have results relevant to your position, as well as those that are expected from you (ask for the feedback of your manager or, better, discuss it on your regular one-to-one meetings with him/her).
  2. Make your success visible to others. There are several ways to provide such visibility, such as speaking up at meetings and conferences, providing reports on your progress to the key stakeholders, sharing your findings and knowledge with your peers, and performing social media activities such as blog writing. (Refer this detailed post on Visibility in a Software Testing Career.)

Technical Skills

Being tech savvy is undoubtedly essential for a Software Testing Engineer. Whether it’s automation skills or the ability to deploy a new build, mastering complex SQL requests or being enthusiastic about a rare testing tool, these all play to your advantage (if those skills are applicable, of course). That said, the general trend requires having a technical mind and being able to quickly learn whatever is needed.

Proactiveness

Don’t wait to be asked to do the things that you know need to be done, just do them! Proactiveness is a key traits that sets apart a precious employee from just an average Joe. People like these have a ‘can-do’ attitude. They treat obstacles as opportunities where possible. They don’t only come with ideas, but are ready to bring them to life with their own hands. These are the people who make life around them better.

Responsibility and Accountability

If you don’t take on new responsibilities, you don’t move on. The general rule is, responsibility is given to those who take it. So, if you want to grow, strive for expanding your area of responsibility and delivering the results. If you’ve happened to make a mistake, be brave enough and admit it. We all have our faults, but admitting them means that we’ve learnt the lesson.

Reliability

If you’ve committed, deliver. If you can’t, find a way to report the issue as soon as possible and do your best to correct the situation.

Loving the Job you do

The difference between those who sit out their uninspiring nine-to-five and those who really like what they do is visible to anyone. If you do what you love, you’ll have your eyes shining, and that alone will motivate people around you. Of course, all of us have crises sometimes. In such moments we need to revisit our goals and plans to remind ourselves of those that will keep us shining.

Being a valued software tester needs some specific efforts, but it is something that can be achieved rather easily if you have an open mind and strive for excellence. Think about the value you bring to the company, team and people around you. If your colleagues were to describe you in a couple of words, what would they be? Would they recommend you to others to work with? Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, remain curious and look for ways to be helpful. This will enable you to be not only valuable, but also a highly valued professional.

Author

Alona Benko

Experienced in manual testing and team leading. Apart from QA, her interests lie in the fields of management and psychology.

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