Software Testing As A Career Path: Tester Skills, Salary And Growth

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A career in software testing can be a very rewarding and lucrative one, with plenty of opportunities to grow and expand. Software testers are in high demand, and companies of all shapes and sizes are looking to invest in IT talent. In this guide, we are sharing everything you need to know about software testing as a career path.

What Is Software Testing?

Software testers work to verify programmes or applications to make sure they are meeting the requirements and delivering the correct results. They identify any bugs and faults in the software and report them back to the development team to solve. There is a lot that goes into software testing, and it is an incredibly important role that is highly skilled. Software testers are an indispensable part of a development team.

What Skills Do You Need To Become A Software Tester?

A career as a software tester isn’t for everybody, and there are various technical and non-technical skills that you need to have. First, we will look at the non-technical skills required to become a successful software tester:
  • Analytical Skills: In order to accurately test software applications, you need to have good analytical skills. These are a must for breaking down complex software into small, understandable units for test cases.
 
  • Communication Skills: Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, are necessary for a software testing role. As a software tester, you will need to produce testing artefacts like reports, strategies, and plans, which need to be easy to understand. Software testers also have to work closely with the developers to discuss bugs or other issues when they arise.
 
  • Attitude: You need to have the right kind of attitude to succeed as a software tester. Software testing professionals must be willing to learn as technologies are constantly evolving, and you will also need to be detail-oriented. A good software tester will suggest improvements and have an attitude that conveys independence and ownership over tasks.
 
  • Organisation And Time Management: Software testing is a demanding career, particularly when you are working towards a new code release. It is critical that you can manage your own time efficiently and successfully. Software testers need to have very high productivity and organise their day accordingly.
 
  • Passion: No matter the career you want to excel at, you need to have passion, and software testing is no exception. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a software tester, and if you don’t have the passion for it, you will struggle to succeed.
In addition to all these non-technical skills, software testers also need to have a few technical skills as well:
  • Basic Database / SQL Knowledge: Software systems use a lot of data, which is stored in various databases such as MySQL or Oracle. Software testers need to be able to validate this data, which means they must understand both simple and complex SQL queries. This is so they can be sure the data is properly sorted in the database.
 
  • Linux Commands Knowledge: The majority of software applications and servers are deployed using Linux machines. Because of this, software testers need to be able to understand and use Linux commands.
 
  • Test Management Tool Experience: Software testers need to be able to use test management tools, and this is an important part of testing. Test management is all about properly managing the testing artefacts, and there are various tools out there to help with this.
 
  • Automation Tool Experience: Test automation is becoming more popular than ever, and today’s software testers need to have experience and knowledge in this area. Many software testers start out as manual and then develop automation skills down the line, but today’s technology means that automated testing is essential.
 
  • Defect Tracking Tool Experience: One of the most important parts of software testing is defect tracking and the defect life cycle. These must be managed properly and tracked in a systematic way. Before you can pursue a career as a software tester, you need to understand defect tracking tools.

What Is The Average Salary For A Software Tester?

As with all positions, the salary for a software testing position will depend on location, experience, and organisation. The average salary for a software tester in the UK is between £36,000 and £41,000, with the highest paying roles being in London with an average of £57,000. As you progress and gain more experience, you can expect to earn more, with highly experienced software testers earning over £120,000 in some areas. Software testing is in high demand, and this demand is only expected to increase, so it is certainly a lucrative career to get into.

What Is A Typical Career Path For A Software Tester?

Software testing can follow various career paths, and these will vary between organisations. Typically, the software testing career path will be:
  • QA Analyst (No experience)
  • Senior QU Analyst (2-3 years of experience)
  • QA Team Coordinator (5-6 years of experience)
  • Software Test Manager (8-11 years of experience)
  • Senior Software Test Manager (14+ years of experience)
After some experience in manual testing, you can choose to become a specialise software tester in other areas. Some choose to go down the automation testing route and become an automation test engineer. Performance testing is another option, where you will be responsible for checking the responsiveness of an application. Some software testers choose to progress into business analyst roles. At TSG Training, we can help you pursue a career in software testing. We have various online and classroom software testing training courses to suit all abilities. Our software testing courses include foundation level test techniques, ISTQB Advanced Agile Technical Tester, and BCs Certificate In Software Testing. For more information on becoming a software testing professional, or to find out which course is right for you, contact our specialist team today.

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