How to Go from a Good QA Engineer to a Rockstar Professional
So you want to become a rockstar QA engineer, what’s next?
Well, there are a few things that differentiate a good QA engineer from a rockstar. First and foremost make this Henry Ford quote a mantra:
“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”
Indeed, it’s easy to be a perfectionist when your boss is around checking on you. The true quality assurance is making things perfect, even when no one is around, even if no one asks about the work.
It’s important to be passionate about the product quality under test. So let’s go over the points that throughout our experience we’ve observed to matter the most in QA work.
Negotiate & Communicate
First things first, if you need more information, explore the product deeper, ask the right questions and get the information necessary. Never put in doubt the necessity of asking questions. There’s a lot of anxiety involved in this. Many might fear that the person in front will think that they are not knowledgeable enough. Essentially, it doesn’t matter what their assumption about you would be — what matters is the quality of the product you’re testing. In our office, we often say that if a QA Engineer is not asking questions then something’s going wrong.
If the task at hand demands a “fight” with a neutral attitude — go for it. If you’re truly passionate lead the fix, don’t observe from the distance.
Work on positioning yourself in a team so developers trust you and listen to what you have to say.
If you need a defect fixed, don’t wait for someone to push the process forward — do it yourself.
This point is usually in the center of many arguments. Many QA Engineers put that responsibility on the Product Owner and don’t pursue the issue. But as a QA Engineer, you also can assess if the issue is important enough to bring to release manager’s attention and push it forward.
Present Problems — Don’t Push a Solution
Be passionate about solving the problem and not pushing a solution.
Jumping to the solution is only natural for the majority of people. We see the problem and if it’s our job to solve it we get too fixated on pushing our solution forward. But it’s important to look at the issue from all sides and leave space for discussion. If you’re striving for the best quality assurance, you need to put to the side the need to prove your solution right. Adaptability and flexibility are two very important soft skills for a QA Engineer. If the problem at hand requires a change of behavior or even a mindset — change it.
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” — says a Chinese proverb. There’s not a lot to add here, asking questions is essential for a QA Engineer.
The ability to ask the right questions in the right manner to the right person is one of the most essential aspects of gathering information, composing the big picture by putting pieces together, just like a puzzle.
Before you ask, do your research. It’s not a good feeling when someone points out that the answer to your question was on the surface, or just a google search away.
Timing and tone matter a lot when asking a question. Read the room, see what’s going on with your colleagues. You can ask the right question to the right person at the wrong time and basically get nowhere. How you ask the question is just as important. You can ask the right person, the right question at the right time, but your tone might affect not only the answer but also your ongoing relationship with the person.
Never stop learning
Always be open to change and to new tools. Be that soft or hard skills, the industry is changing every day and so should we.
Connect with the desire to learn about the organization, the domain, the technologies, architecture, and specifics of the software under test and do it with enthusiasm! Follow your “nose” and it will lead you to new philosophies, insights driving your testing skill to new heights. Be passionate about the hunt
And to help you learn, here are a few resources that have helped us in our journey.
This blog is based on Lilit Ohanyan’s “The Art of Testing” presentation.