In this article, Jon takes a look at a list of the most in-demand software testing skills across the industry right now.
As in all industries, there are so many different skills and specialties, that it’s tricky to know where to go next in your personal development. You want to find something that’s interesting, but that will also add to your CV and help with that next pay review.
Below is a discussion about the most sought-after software testing skills list, according to data collected by IT Jobs Watch, where they’ve analyzed public job adverts across the UK.
Software Testing Skills List
Automation is found in many different forms, from UI to API automation, and it can utilize various programming languages and libraries, depending on both the company needs and personal preference. Each job will likely require different combinations of skills and technologies, but a solid understanding of just a couple of these would set you in good stead for learning more.
Agile Software Development
To some, it’s the fix-all approach to software development, but to others, it’s just a bunch of buzzwords distracting from the same old problems. Whatever your opinion of agile (with or without an upper-case ‘A’), you can’t deny the enormous popularity of the approach.
Ever since seventeen developers came together in 2001 to devise a leaner way of developing software, resulting in the creation of ‘The Agile Manifesto,’ the approach has gone from strength to strength. There’s no shortage of books and online resources available, and getting up to speed on this skill will no doubt add value when you’re looking for a new role.
Structured Query Language (SQL) has been the standard programming language for database management since the late ’80s, and it doesn’t look as though that’s going to change any time soon.
Being able to query and manipulate data are massively useful skills as a software tester, with the added benefit that it’s pretty easy to become proficient enough at both in a short space of time. And even if you’re not, it’s pretty simple to reference sample queries online and fill in the blanks.
This one may seem a little obvious, but at a time when half the articles online seem to be stating that automation is replacing manual testing, it’s important to remember the significance of manual testing and the benefits of continually learning and improving in this area. Whatever type of manual testing you do, it’s likely to be a massive part of your job, and nearly all testing roles will still be looking for this skill, even when it’s not the primary focus.
The roles of Test Analyst and Test Lead are often seen as interchangeable, but the ability to plan and execute a test strategy is essential to both positions. Testing isn’t just a case of cracking on, clicking about, or writing scripts. You need to be able to look at the project, evaluate the variables and make important decisions about what needs doing, and how.
As an example, one project will require extensive test automation to guard against regression, whereas another project may just be a proof of concept, or is supported for only a limited amount of time, so automated regression tests wouldn’t be worth the effort.
User Acceptance Testing
Many would argue that UAT shouldn’t fall under the remit of the tester, but what’s clear from job descriptions out there, is that this features often enough to be worth considering. User acceptance tests should be defined early in the development lifecycle, but should not be too prescriptive. This is to primarily set out the goalposts to ensure everyone is on the same page when the tests ‘pass’ when the software is delivered.
Every job requires a range of different skills, and it would be impossible to write an exhaustive list of potential job description aspects – but this list will hopefully have given you a good idea of the common skills asked of software testers. Making sure you hit a few of these beats will set you in good stead, but don’t let this drive what you do and learn. It’s much more important to focus on the areas you’re both good at and enjoy, but with a base understanding of the skills list above.