Five non-technical skills a good software tester should have

It is tempting to think that software testers require only technical skills.  Of course they do, but that’s not all.  Jennifer Lent explains what other skills are needed. SQDM shares an article detailing key competencies required of software testers.

If you are persistent, creative, curious, diplomatic and persevering then you have the qualities to be a good software tester.   The skills required in the software testing profession are well documented and dazzling: writing scripts to automate tests, increasing software testers’ knowledge of the business, and staying current with the changing set of technologies that drive a company.  The personality traits-not just the technical competencies-of a software tester can be the differentiator between those who excel in the profession versus those who perform merely acceptably.

This is a crucial set of competencies that software testers must have and that have been identified by industry experts:

A creative mind

It enables testers to think beyond the basic data and, therefore, allows them to test beyond the expressed requirements.  “Software testing professionals must think [well] beyond what is expected of both software and users,” according to the ISTQB certification exam, an entity that provides preparation resources for testers in preparation for the International Software Testing Qualifications Board exams.

A creative mind allows testers to consider all the ways in which the end user might interact with the application they are testing.  In other words, creativity can be one of the qualities of an outstanding software tester – not only for use cases but also in cases of potential misuse and/or abuse.

Intellectual curiosity

According to expert Alejandro Maderna, intellectual curiosity has nothing to do with being an intellectual.  It is an important personality trait for QA professionals because it motivates testers “to identify interesting questions about the software they test,” as he put it in a blog post published by a software testing company.

“A tester should develop intellectual curiosity to spot what others haven’t seen or to think what no one has thought of and to execute what no one has done.”  Companies that hire testers also recognize the value of intellectual curiosity.


Intellectual curiosity goes hand in hand with self-confidence-how can you ask questions and present ideas if you’re not willing to defend your own ideas? “Debating ideas congruently requires testers to have a high degree of self-confidence and the ability to share their thinking,” says Maderna.

Be persevering

It’s not often that calling someone “stubborn” is considered a compliment.  However, in an outstanding tester, it is a good thing.  The good tester is persistent and does not give up until the bug is reproduced and reported, so that it can be rectified by the developers.  Sometimes ad hoc testing can be really tricky, as it is difficult to reproduce a bug that has occurred if clear instructions are not provided. A persistent tester doesn’t give up often!

“Good testers never give up; they are patient and find all the bugs they can find,” according to the ISTQB blog.  “They explore the software, constantly try to make new improvements and take all the challenges and complexities of testing positively and patiently.”

Diplomacy counts

Persistent testers don’t tend to get far, unless they have good diplomatic skills as well.  The challenge is how to say to a customer, “Excuse me, but that can’t be done that way,” while giving a possible procedure for what can be done.  All this without irritating the customer.

Dealing with software developers requires certain shades of discretion and diplomacy.  For those who wish to embrace the possibility of becoming a tester these are recommendations worth keeping in mind, do you agree?

Read the full article here.

For years, SQDM -Software Quality Driven Management- has provided countless companies with professional consulting services on software testing strategies.  SQDM is also an official business partner of industry-leading vendors including Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, AuraPortal and Tibco.

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