Whether you’re an app developer, a product manager, or even a startup founder, you know that testing is an important step in the development of a successful final product.
As such, the people who test for you — a professional team, a group of beta testers, or even taking a fine eye to your own work — are an important part of the process, too.
So how do you find the right people to do that testing?
There are important technical skill sets to look out for in any professional tester, of course — at PLUS QA, we hire QA testers who are also developers, engineers, and college professors, too. In other words, testers should be well-versed in the technical work, development processes, and industry changes that our clients are navigating every day.
We consider that experience and expertise to be a given, because our company offers professional testing services — but there are certain personality traits that indicate whether you’re working with a solid software tester, technically-savvy or not.
Here are some of the important traits to look for in the QA testers you may add to your team:
Attention to Detail
Testers are responsible for spotting mistakes — often, the very mistakes that have escaped your eye . . . even and especially on your own work! Attention to detail — being able to spot every instance where an app doesn’t work as it’s supposed to or a bug potentially hinders the user experience — is probably the most important skill for QA testers.
PLUS QA Project Manager, Katie Heynderickx, appreciates the opportunity to put this skill to use every day: “I’m somewhat of a perfectionist so my attention to detail is considered a value, not a neuroticism,” she says. “I enjoy always working towards bettering a product and ensuring that all of the components meld together just right.”
While attention to detail is arguably a skill people can work to develop, the best testers (like Katie) are those for whom the trait comes naturally: They can’t help but notice what’s wrong, because they’re focused on making sure that everything’s right.
Curiosity is an inherently human trait — especially noticeable early in life, when the most common words out children’s mouths are “What?” and “Why?”
Perhaps because curiosity tends to fade with age, it’s considered a highly-prized trait and core value for employees within most companies. And it’s an especially valuable trait in QA testers.
Think about it: As a developer, you know exactly how your app is supposed to work. You started with a vision, and have worked hard to bring it to life — toiling away at every important feature and update. This is important, foundational work, but after a certain point, it gets hard to take a step back. It becomes harder to get curious about what might make your app even better.
Curious testers think beyond the list of features and potential user actions — they consider the entire user experience, offering feedback and suggestions to improve your app or product, and thereby the experience of your users too.
While a QA tester will, of course, check (and double-check) that your app does everything it’s supposed to, an innate curiosity is what will help them think outside the box — outside of your initial vision — and take your app to the next level.
Good (Written) Communication
Testers, developers, and product managers share a special relationship — one in which everyone is working toward a shared goal (though sometimes with different strategies) and shared success.
And, as with any important relationship, communication is key.
In QA testing, effective written communication can mean the difference between quickly fixing an important issue or spending valuable time going back and forth to clarify feedback. It can also make or break collaboration — exhausting efforts at compatibility by increasing misunderstandings.
As a visual demonstration of intelligence and responsibility — whether through natural writing skills or the inclination to proofread and perfect what you’ve written — written communication is an especially valuable professional skill. And when a tester knows how to effectively communicate feedback, they build stronger relationships with the team tasked with creating a great app.
As an app developer, you’re likely pretty attached to your end product. You have a good idea of what it should be, what it should look like, what it should do — and while a certain sentimentality is key to investing in and building a quality product, objectivity can help provide better analysis of what your target audience actually wants and needs from your app.
QA testers can offer that impartiality — their invested interest is not in the particulars of an app or a company, but rather in the overall successful experience of interacting with either. This is especially true when you hire an external QA testing partner (like PLUS QA) or work with a group of beta testers.
At the end of the day, this objectivity allows testers to consider how an app actually functions best and delivers on its promised benefits — with the ultimate benefit being an optimal overall experience.
While we did just extol the importance of remaining objective as a tester, perhaps the most valuable trait of a QA tester is empathy — a skill that can be somewhat subjective.
Kari Ponto, a QA analyst at PLUS QA, has spent her entire career in QA and considers this insight and understanding to be one of her most important assets: “You have to care about the experience. You have to represent the end user and try to shortcut any issues they might have—any crashes, any visual problems. If you’ve done that, you’ve done what you could.”
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Technical experience is important in QA testing, of course. Every tester at PLUS QA has been trained to work as a professional software tester — whether internally through our proprietary tester training or through outside education.
However, soft skills like communication and empathy complement that technical experience, establishing more well-rounded personal and professional expertise — and highlighting the type of QA tester you definitely want to join your team.
Interested in working with the experienced QA testers at PLUS QA?