This is a guest post by Nishi Grover Garg.
Learning is an ongoing process, and hopefully a lifelong one. Being a professional in any field requires you to constantly update your knowledge and continue to learn.
Software testing is a very in-demand role, so many people aspire to get into this line of work — but they may not know where to begin.
If you are fresh out of college or looking to switch careers, even if you are not from a computing or engineering background at all, you can jump-start your career in testing. Here are some tips and advice on how to become a self-taught software tester this year.
Books provide a world of knowledge, and despite shifting trends, books can never be outdated, as older ideas can give you a foundation for new information. Reading a book allows you to delve deeper into a topic of your choice at your own pace.
- Begin by searching for books on software testing, quality assurance practices, and industry leaders.
- Then seek books that can help you start applying the knowledge.
- If picking up a physical book is not your cup of tea, read online — there are many great portals with awesome content, articles, and ideas.
Read about the latest tools and technologies on a regular basis and subscribe to your favorite newsletters and forums.
Diversify Your Knowledge
Software testing is not a singular skill; it requires a number of skills, both technical and non-technical. When beginning your quest to learn about software testing, delve into various areas of the domain and look for what interests you the most.
- Check out performance testing and try your hand at a simple open-source tool to learn its ins and outs.
- Explore security testing and read about the required concepts and tools.
- Learn about agile testing principles and how they differ from traditional test practices.
- Study the concept of test automation and look at automation tools, and then attend a training class, ask questions on open forums or sign up for free online courses.
- Don’t limit yourself to testing — learn a programming language, the basics of algorithms or about unit tests, and practice those skills too.
Check out the latest testing terms, technology, tools, and techniques. Knowing a little bit of many things will let you find your interest and know where you want to expand your horizons.
Engage with the Community
Being self-taught does not mean you won’t need help. The online resources you will encounter are developed by specialists and people using their experience and expertise, so if you intend to use these free resources, why not also engage with their authors and the community around you for guidance?
- Read and contribute to online forums for discussions and interaction with other people in the industry.
- Connect with experts and specialists in the area of your interest through social media to ask questions and begin discussions.
- Go to conferences or read about the speakers and their talks to learn about the latest trends and developments in software testing. Even if you cannot afford to attend a conference in person, presentation content and slides are often available online, and you can contact the speakers if you have questions.
- Attend local meetups related to software testing. These are typically free events where you can meet testers from surrounding areas. Attending helps you learn from passionate speakers, network with testers from various companies, and make friends within the community.
More often than not, people are glad to share their work and experiences. By being respectful and asking in the right manner, you can find answers to most of your questions and ask for guidance about your self-taught journey and career choices from experienced professionals.
Use What You Learn
In any tech space, just learning is not enough. You need to practice and put to use the concepts you gathered.
- To get started, begin with personal projects and practice using the tools and techniques you have focused on learning.
- Become a member of online crowdsourcing platforms that pay for testing clients’ short-term projects. This helps you gain real-time experience in testing different types of applications and finding and reporting issues while learning — while getting paid for it!
- Apply for an internship, if you can find one in your area.
Building an online profile also speaks volumes about your commitment, your learning and your stance on various technologies. It works as a living resume for potential employers to find you or check out your profile if you apply for jobs.
If you are interested in software testing as a career, you can start now! With ample information, resources and people available, there is no reason you couldn’t start your journey on your own in 2020. Make it your goal this new year to become a self-taught software tester.
Nishi is a corporate trainer, an agile enthusiast and a tester at heart! With 11+ years of industry experience, she currently works with Sahi Pro as an Evangelist and Trainings Head. She is passionate about training, organizing testing community events and meetups, and has been a speaker at numerous testing events and conferences. Check out her blog where she writes about the latest topics in Agile and Testing domains.