QAL - Keyword - quality assurance skills

12 Key Quality Assurance Skills & Competencies

For those looking to work in the QA field or upgrade their QA tester resume, it is important to get the quality assurance skills needed to be a first-class QA person. 

By QA person, I mean you could be a test engineer, quality assurance specialist, QA lead, or QA tester. QA technology and methods are always evolving so having skills and keeping them up to date is a must. QA people need both soft and hard skills that offer both interpersonal and technological expertise. 

This list gives you a better idea of what I mean. 

1. Asking the Right Questions

A QA person must know how and when to ask the right questions about a project.

No projects are identical and understanding important details before the QA process starts is vital. Answers to questions around application utilization, end-users, peak usage times, and browser/OS configurations need to be addressed so QA work is focused. Knowing answers to these kinds of questions allows for concise testing and effective quality control.

The skill of asking direct and common sense questions along with the ability to strategically ask about details is essential for those in QA.

2. The Art of Listening

Being able to listen is important in gaining crucial QA information.

QA is a team effort and the need to hear others is important. Listening to hear an engineer’s design and development plan means you can ensure an increased ability to detect defects and discover areas that may be high risk.  Effective communication as a whole is important.

3. Speak with Relevance

The skill of speaking in laypeople’s terms and not just to QA professionals is significant. 

While those working on a project want to know the small details QA has dealt with, many others do not. They want an understandable report relevant to the project and overall business picture and production timelines. Using language that is clear to the stakeholders is important so they don’t feel underinformed and overwhelmed. It increases the project quality and overall customer satisfaction.

The skill of using both QA language and lay terminology should not be underestimated for a quality assurance engineer.

4. Be a Team Player

Knowing how to work with people other than QA professionals means you need team skills.

HR departments and managers try to keep the walls of silos lowered but it takes work from team members, too. Don’t hide in the QA area but share your work, ideas, questions, answers, knowledge, and skills with development and production teams. Work with your QA team as well. Be approachable, chat, listen, and gain insight through personal interactions.

5. Have Self Confidence

The skill of being self-assured, yet not cocky, is a QA must.

Every department has different demands put upon it and those pressures can become unrealistic. QA often takes the hit for product delays and slow turn around. While meeting deadlines is important, product quality is the priority. It is a skill to be able to stand your ground and mediate rather than being bullied into an unrealistic timeline. QA can not compromise the quality objectives of an application without losing respect in the long term.

The skill of being self-confident and discussing a realistic outcome benefits a project overall.  

6. Time Management

Organizational and planning skills go hand in hand for QA testers as there is a need to meet realistic deadlines consistently. Planning and managing a project is a priority.

Having skills to keep on top of projects is important for keeping the project team moving. If one cog in the QA team trips up, the timeline flounders for everyone else. Being organized is a learned skill for many.

7. Listen to your Gut

A good QA person has the skill of working beyond technology and practices. Intuition is a significant skill to have.

Being inquisitive and working to understand and solve issues not only through testing but using intuition is a good thing. Those who can follow their gut gain insight as they gain experience. A skill to move beyond data is important as it moves a QA person from good to great.

8. Know the Process of Bug Tracking, Ticketing and Tests

This hard skill focuses on the process and knowing how to follow it.

A QA software tester needs to have a solid understanding of testing tools, opening and tracking tickets, and direct knowledge of a company’s QA process. The less internal training a company has to do, the more likely they are to hire or promote someone. Bringing quality assurance skills with you rather than learning on-site is a plus.

Technical skill is a must.

9. Bring the Required Education

A software QA engineer needs the skill of technical knowledge.

Having the designated QA technical background means your work with programmers and engineers helps your QA work. While you do not need the same background that they have, having the basic knowledge to talk the lingo and process is needed. Understanding various roles and responsibilities allows for cross-department integration.

10. Think Outside the Box

Being able to think logically as well as creatively is a significant skill in QA.

The ability to be both a right and left-brain thinker is a bonus. Obviously, testing is logical and process-driven but if you can think creatively then you can often catch end-user issues that technology might not. It helps you see the obscure.

11. Get Qualified

Gain skills through upgrading and lifelong learning in your QA job.

Once you enter the QA world, it never stops changing. You can not enter a software testing job then stop learning. It is important to upgrade skills and monitor the market as new and improved technology comes online. You need to do this throughout your career not only to maintain your skills but improve them.

12. Be Flexible

The skill of flexibility and adaptability makes QA work more thorough.

While technical QA tests work well, using the skill to anticipate user actions is important. A good QA person needs to be able to think like the end-user might. That means unscripted and with limited logic. While many users follow a designated path, not all will. It’s the outliers that need to be assessed. Adapting and working with irregular paths is beneficial.

Conclusion

If you are looking to enter the world of QA in any capacity or want to improve your QA tester CV, having quality assurance skills is the key. Sign up for our newsletter at the QA Lead to learn software testing tips that can help with career enhancement and growth.

Slack Team

Get a free copy of our 2020 QA Salary Guide
Subscribe to our mailing list below