Should tools dictate test engineering?
I saw a LinkedIn post about tools like it is the only thing that testers have to learn to do. It got me thinking about the newer generation of testers and their love to learn tools.
Should testers be married to tools? Of course tools are means to an end. But I think testers must be fully focussed on honing their skillsets that will help them work with the tools. If you are testing a Wallet - learn accounting (the fundamentals). Of course I use tools too but unless I knew what I want to achieve with it "a tool is only as good as the hands that wield it -Kevin Sands", right?
This is what I have learnt in my career so far and I hope this helps you keep a leg up:
-> Be eternally curious - Prick and prod the system you are about to test. Read about it and clarify your doubts asking questions. Look for test ideas.
-> Think critically - Think what a customer would do. Does a feature 'actually satisfy a user's requirement'? Think from a product, technology, project, process and people perspective.
-> Be a strategic wizard - Not many actually emphasize the fact that a test engineer must employ strategy at various levels of her career. While a junior engineer can use test strategy to plan and execute their testing, when they become an architect or a manager they can think of strategies that will take the organization forward.
-> Solve problem using your creativity and curiosity - Curiosity and creativity are two sides of the same coin. With curiosity you can identify problems and creativity helps you solve it.
-> Be diplomatic and tactful with your colleagues - At the end of the day if you cannot sell your bugs or strategy, your work is of little use. Building a relationship with all stakeholders including developers without letting your work come in the way requires some amount of diplomacy and tact as an innate skillset.
-> Continuous learning - Upgrade and upskill yourself continuously. Most test engineers hit a plateau once they are elevated to a managerial position. Even people management requires continous learning on cultivating leadership qualities.
-> Learn to present in a simple manner and communicate effectively - Keep it simple stupid. 'It was awesome', 'what a terrific bug' is not communication skill. Learning to explain and express one's thoughts in a concise manner requires practice.
-> Be proactive - Get things done even when it is not expected from you. Own the testing, test process, product, your client. Be driven and drive the organization.
-> Understand the fundamental test basis - The Technology Stack, High Level Design, Environment Setup, CI/CD etc...
-> Improve your domain knowledge by understanding the business -Think how businesses are run or how to handle customers when things break. This will help in identifying the risks associated with a business and help come up with better test ideas.
-> Last but not the least, Impart knowledge - Blog, Write posts, contribute to open source, build a tool.