This content is part of the Essential Guide: Guide: Important steps to improving your QA career

Brand new to software QA testing? Here's how to get started

It's true -- some companies still don't test their software. But of course they should. Here's what to do in a company that's brand new to software QA testing.

Every day in the software development world, there are companies that find they need to start testing their software. Customer complaints or demand for software QA testing has reached the crisis point, and they determine testing must be done. Yes, it's true there are software application companies that do not officially test their software prior to a release. I should be more specific -- they don't hire or retain the services of professional testers. Some of them may use automated unit tests executed by developers or the testing duties pass from one group to another each release.

Imagine you're in advertising and it's your turn to test the application. Test what exactly? If you're creating ads in various platforms for a company, do you know how the software functions? I supposed you'd learn, or would you?

Let's say you get hired into an up-and-coming software development company that has figured out they need a software QA testing plan. Where do you start? When there's been literally zero nondeveloper testing and only random user testing executed, there's so much ground to cover. Where can you start to gain the largest positive impact?

I'd suggest starting with a software QA testing plan. It doesn't have to be a formal plan -- a simple outline or free association drawing works. The important part is to plan it out first before deciding where to start. Once you've created a plan, spend time constructing tasks and then putting them in sequence. Continue adjusting priorities as necessary. Flexibility is often a key to success.

Get down to the nitty gritty fast. Conduct brief interviews with users who have participated in testing. Ask them what they did, in what order and for what purpose? Get hold of any recent design specifications or review user stories as far back as possible. Ask questions and find out how customers expect the software to work. The best source is often support or sales. If you can understand the basic business need that's fulfilled, you can develop software QA testing cases.

Develop a suite of manual tests cases and execute them. Meet with the development team and agree on a method or tool to track defects. Define how to report them to the team. Start software QA testing and good luck!

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