Inside Software Testing
In my time as a Software Development Recruiter I have come to find a real niche within the testing sector and regularly place candidates into roles across the Yorkshire area. To keep my finger on the pulse I recently caught up with Matt Crossan, a Senior Test Analyst on what his experience of this market is!
For those of us that aren’t that technical, how would you summarise what the role of Senior Test Analyst is within a company?
A Senior Test Analyst is responsible for ensuring that the software delivered by the IT development team is of a high quality and will meet the needs of the business. They are involved from the initial requirement scoping process of the project through to the delivery of the product.
A senior test analyst will also look for areas for process improvements, helping the test lead to implement positive changes that will improve the level of testing provided by the test team. They will also be responsible for mentoring the junior members of the team.
Looking at your LinkedIn profile you can see that you have extensive experience within the tech sector, what is it that excites you about working in this field?
The technology sector is constantly changing and keeping up to date with the latest trends is vital. This sector never stands still, and the technology out there is constantly evolving. Virtual Reality is the current hot topic, but who knows what it will be in 6-12 months time?
What would you say are the biggest challenges for a Senior Software Tester during a project?
The biggest challenge faced by most testers is that they are often not involved early enough in a project. In an ideal world, a tester will be involved from the very beginning of a project, allowing them to spot any potential issues with requirements or designs. However, this is not always the case. There are times where the first time we get sight of a project (or at least part of the project) is when it is ready for testing. I have been in this situation before, and about 10 minutes into my testing I noticed a huge flaw in the way the product had been designed. This then had to go back to the business analyst to re-write the requirements before being re-developed. Had I been involved from the start, this would have been spotted much earlier in the process. As is well known, the later a bug is found in a project, the more expensive it is to fix.
We are seeing a lot of companies moving into an Agile way of working for their development teams – what would you say are the main benefits of a business adopting this method?
Working in an agile environment has benefits for everyone. The business are engaged throughout the project, getting regular releases meaning they get early visibility of the product and the progress being made. The Agile methodology allows them to be more flexible, as change is accepted. From a development/testing point of view, the agile way of working is generally more enjoyable. The fast paced nature of agile means that you are always busy, but rather than being busy reading long requirement documents, you are busy developing and testing the product.
In your opinion, what qualities / experience would you look for in a Test Analyst?
When interviewing for Test Analysts, here are some of the skills/qualities we look for:
- Desire to learn new skills
- Interested in a career in testing
- Follow the latest trends within the technology and testing sectors
- Good communication skills
What has been the proudest moment / achievement in your career so far?
My proudest moment so far is my promotion from Test Analyst to Senior Test Analyst within my current role. I joined the company in February 2016 and was promoted to a Senior Test Analyst in November 2016. With this promotion came the opportunity to mentor one of my good friends which has been a great experience for me.
With tech we are always looking to the future – what changes / trends do you think we will see in the industry in 2017?
One of the main talking points within the industry at the minute is Virtual Reality. This technology brings a wealth of opportunities to any companies that plan to adopt it. Being able to transport your customer in to a different world brings a plethora of options with it. From a testers perspective, the chance to test this software is extremely exciting!
If you could offer one piece of advice to people out there looking to start a career in Testing what would it be?
Learn some technical skills! In order to succeed and progress within the testing world you need to learn some technical skills such as SQL, some basic coding languages, XML, SOAP & REST requests. These skills allow you to better understand the software you are testing and increase your testing scope.
Make sure to keep an eye out for our future Searchability Insight Q&A's!