Freelance software testing career is not only fun but also rewarding, interesting and most definitely challenging. If you think Software Testing is second rated then you are wrong.
Software testers play a huge role in project development but they hardly get enough recognition for the work they do. In fact many businesses would be suffering from poor reputation and low productivity if software testers do not find bugs and deliver a quality product.
Reasons are aplenty…
Some of the reasons why you should pursue software testing are: It’s extremely challenging; it’s very creative; it’s definitely not monotonous; it’s an important element of software delivery phase; it’s totally data-driven; it’s a demanding career in 2018; it has several paths; and it’s quite rewarding too.
Software testers today are paid and treated as equally as software developers. If you want to make a freelance career in software testing, you should read this guide.
What Involves Software Testing?
It follows measures to verify a developed program/software to decide whether the product meets the desired output or requirement. It makes sure there is no bug/ issue in the software and hence provide quality product to end users.
Educational Qualification to Get a Job in Software Testing
A software tester should have an academic background in Computer Science and Application. Some of the educational paths you would want to choose are:
- Computer Science
If you don’t have any of these degrees, then you should complete a certification course that will help you to develop enough knowledge in Software Development, Testing Methodologies and Test Life Cycle.
Technical and Non-Technical Skills Required to Become a Freelance Software Tester
Whether you choose to go freelance or work full time, every testing job requires the same set of standard technical and non-technical skills. Let’s read what you would require:
- Database & SQL Knowledge is necessary to test large amount of databases (Oracle, MySQL, etc.) used in the background of software systems. This is a process known as data validation. Simple / complex SQL queries are used in such cases to check if data is properly stored in the backend system.
- Linux Commands Knowledge is must as most Software Applications, such as Web-services, Databases and Application servers are implemented on Linux Machines.
- Test Management Tools (Knowledge and Experience) and Techniques, such as managing testing related artifacts (like Testlink) to track test cases is very important. If not properly deployed, software testing process will fail miserably.
- Automation Tools (Knowledge and Experience) is essential if you want to switch your job role to a higher paying designation, such as ‘Automation Tester’.
- Defect Tracking (Tool Knowledge and Experience) and Defect Life Cycle are primary aspects of software testing. Knowledge in this will enable you to effectively track and manage defects in a systematic manner by using several defect locking tools, including Bugzilla, Jira, QC etc.
If you need hands-on experience, you have to practice the tool you like, devotionally. To help you practice and achieve mastery, you have to gain knowledge in any one scripting language, such as Java Script, C#, Perl/Shell etc. One of the best ways to gain hands-on knowledge is working as an intern in a corporate firm for a certain period of time.
Knowledge in Performance Testing tools will also increase your scope of finding better jobs.
- Communication Skills is of paramount importance as testing artefacts (like test cases, plans, strategies and reports) created by you should have to be easily understood by non-technical people. You have to ace both written and verbal communication for conversing with developers from a remote location.
- Strong Analytical Skills is a commendable trait that’s highly respected in software testers. With this skill honed, it will be easier for you to break-down complex system into smaller parts to process and comprehend the entire system more critically.
- Team Leading and Problem Solving Skills are signs of great attitude in a freelance software tester. You should lead as well as have the zeal to learn more. You have to be independent and allude confidence when taking up new projects & allocated tasks and while adapting to latest technologies and evolving software industry.
- Organizational and Time Management Skills are very important because testing at times could be extremely demanding, especially when new codes are released. You have to systematically and single headedly manage workload and be productive at the same time as a freelance software tester.
- Passion is required at all levels of work. If passion persists, long hours of continuous data validation will also look like a favourite dish on platter. If the job doesn’t excite you, please switch to something else.
What will a Typical Work Day Look Like?
On a typical day, you will be busy creating test cases by understanding the scope and requirement of projects, execute the cases, report and re-test bugs and issues, and attend team meetings from time to time.
Average Salary range of software testers in USA is between $45,000 and $74,000 per annum. This may differ from company to company and from role to role.
How Will Your Career as a Freelancer Progress
You will most probably start as an Intern then move on to become QA Analyst (Fresher). With 2 – 3 years of experience you can be a Sr. QA Analyst followed by Team Coordinator (5-6 years exp.), Test Manager (8-11 years’ experience) and then Senior Test Manager (14+ years).
Alternate Career Paths for Freelance Software Testers
You can also pursue the following specializations once you have aced manual software testing:
- Performance Testing – Check and regulate application responsiveness (load time, speed etc.) by using Loadrunner&WEBLoad tools.
- Automation Testing – Automate time consuming manual test cases execution by using tools such as IBM Rational, ROBOT, QTP and Silk performer.
- Business Analyst –Analyseand assess company’s business models and operations and integrate these with technology smoothly.
Most software testers possess end to end business knowledge and hence you can easily opt to become a Business Analyst.
Although Certification Examination on testing field is not mandatory, ISTQB (foundation level) will help increase your chances of getting a great job. You can also think of adding it your existing qualifications.