Various Roles In Software Testing

GUPTA, Gagan       Posted by GUPTA, Gagan
      Published: June 16, 2021
        |  

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Every organization has its own team structure, but there are a few positions that need to be filled either by role or responsibility. These positions are critical to the success of testing teams because they cover different aspects of the testing process. The software test field is vast, with different roles based on the complexity of the application. Companies make an effort to define responsibilities for their job positions and a meaningful name for each role. Similar positions across the software testing industry may have different names to best suit their career path.

Key Roles in a Minimal Test Project

Test Manager

A test manager's primary responsibility is to plan and coordinate the team of testers and test leads. The role of the test manager and test lead is often very similar. In a broad sense, a test manager can accumulate more responsibility than a test lead. A test manager may have more than one QA team to manage, each headed by a test lead. Test manager activities include mentoring testers and test leads. Activities also include managing testing requirements and choosing the test management tools to be used. Takes full responsibility for the testing project's success (or failure). The role of test manager can be optional in a relatively simple project.

Test Lead

Each test group is led by a test lead. The test lead might performs the roles of test manager in absence of test manager. Some of their responsibilities are overlapping. The basic responsibility of any Test Lead is to effectively plan and coordinate the activities for a team of testers to meet the product goals and thereby achieving the organizational goals that are derived. The test lead may also collaborate in team activities and test execution. Test lead activities include mentoring testers and managing testing requirements. The test lead is often responsible for configuring and preparing QA environments for testing.

Test Automation Engineer

Test automation developers (also known as test automation engineers) are software developers who design and write programs that run automatic tests on new or existing software. They use automation frameworks (standardized guidelines) to build these programs on and write test scripts that do the testing. Different test automation developers specialize in particular automation tools i.e. Loadrunner, Selenium, Appium, JMeter, Rapise, TestComplete, UFT/QTP etc. Their profile is quite similar to that of a Developer, but in a Test Department.

Test Analyst

The Test Analyst role is responsible for initially identifying and subsequently defining the required tests, monitoring the test coverage and evaluating the overall quality experienced when testing the Target Test Items. This role also involves specifying the required Test Data and evaluating the outcome of the testing conducted in each test cycle. They must ensure all test plans created adhere to both industry regulations and company standards. This roles main focus is business oriented. They ensure the functional readiness of the application is acceptable before it is pushed into production.

Tester

This is generally used as an umbrella term to cover many capabilities. Their main task is to perform manual testing on SUT to ensure the product quality fits specifications. Testers will raise defects when they find errors in the application and when the implementation derives from the specified product requirements. They work like a detective who knows where the bugs can hide, even where no one expects them to. Tests the system using attention, deduction, and sometimes special software.

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Various Roles In Software Testing
Various Roles In Software Testing

Test Roles in any Complex Project

The following roles are generally needed in a complex project with multiple interfaces and where various systems are interacting. These roles are often highly specialized. These responsibilities take time and efforts to learn and gain expertise in. Many companies therefore hire them on the need basis as Senior Consultants or freelancers.

Performance Test Engineer

A performance test engineer is responsible for designing, implementing, and supporting performance testing systems and strategies to ensure system capacity, reliability, and scalability. Develop Jmeter, Loadrunner scripts to performance test web services and applications; monitor services during runs to identify areas for improvement. Stress and Load Testing is often performed together. They have the expertise in debugging application performance-related issues and bottlenecks using a combination of log analysis, code analysis, and tools are key success factors in this highly visible role.

Security Test Engineer

They are responsible for testing and screening security software and for monitoring networks and systems for security breaches or intrusions. They can often resolve possible causes of security threats early on by looking at things from a security perspective and recommending enhancements to management. Role requires that they possesses detailed technical knowledge of techniques, standards and state-of-the art capabilities for authentication and authorization, applied cryptography, security vulnerabilities and remediation. In addition, they have good knowledge of web related technologies (Web applications, Web Services and Service Oriented Architectures) and of network/web related protocols.

Usability Test Engineer

They ensures that products meet the usability and reliability requirements of the companies that make them. In many cases, a person in this field also works to ensure that products are enjoyable to consumers. Often, usability specialists work on technical products, such as computer software and hardware, but companies may call on them for other types of projects as well. The usability specialist organizes alpha and beta testing of the product by consumers, observes the tests and asks participants detailed questions. They are customer service minded and keep themselves updated about the current and futuristic market trends.

WCAG Test Engineer

Web Accessibility Specialist ideally have a few years of experience in manual web accessibility audits, automated accessibility testing tools and assistive technologies. They have a thorough working knowledge of how to make web content and applications compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA Standards. They must have the working knowledge of applicable federal and state laws, policies, regulations and standards to be followed. If the company fails to adhere to WCAG compliance, hefty fines, often in hundreds of thousands of dollars are imposed. This is specially true in EU.

Test Lab Engineer

A lab engineer is responsible for the IT infrastructure of a laboratory. As a lab engineer, your job duties include conducting technical evaluations of hardware equipment and software, deploying code, troubleshooting and fixing issues, maintaining the server and network systems, and coordinating with scientists, lab technicians, system engineers, and operations staff. Its a technical role and experience with networking principles, middleware platform, and database connectivity is required. They must have good knowledge of Virtualizations like VMware and Hyper-V.

Product Compatibility Test Engineer

They ensure compatibility of the system/application/website built with various other objects such as other web browsers, hardware platforms, users, operating systems, server versions etc. They ensure to deliver a software product that works seamlessly across various configurations of the software's computing environments and offers consistent experience and performance across all platforms and to all users. Generally there are requirements by the big players that products must be certified as Compatible with their platforms before they can recommend the product on their platforms.

Firmware Test Engineer

Firmware test engineers design and implement test scripts to ensure product functionality and robustness. They also collaborate with developers and validation engineers to develop and automate test cases and tools for firmware validation. They generally have the in depth knowledge and extensive experience with embedded firmware development. The job is dependent on the industry and hardware under test.

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Test Roles in Organizations with Multiple Product Lines

Defect Manager

A Defect Manager focuses on managing the defects produced from both Infrastructure and Application testing. The Defect Manager is the point of contact for all Defect status related queries and own The Defect Process. They ensure to maintain the absolute integrity of the defect database and ensuring a full audit trail for any changes made to defect status outside of the published defect process. Possess the ability to lead and steer defect management meetings to achieve actionable outcomes.

Director

They create and own the vision and strategy to define, socialize and implement the enterprise strategy and roadmap for quality engineering and test automation, including formalization of organizational structure, operating policies and procedures and management practices to ensure department delivers operational excellence. Depending on the complexity of the organization, Director leads enterprise strategy, vision and roadmap for Software Testing and test automation. Oversees team of contractors and FTE Quality Engineers to develop tools, standards, and innovative approaches to quality engineering and test automation. Supports digital transformation and alignment with overall IT DevSecOps initiatives. Partners with leaders across IT organization to ensure quality and confirm that needs are met. They establish and assure leadership adherence to budgets, schedules, work plans, and performance requirements.

Test Subject Expert

Often aka Subject Matter Experts (SME). It is a highly specialized role only in few companies who focuses Testing as a primary domain. He is a person who possesses the knowledge and expertise in a Software Testing. SMEs are vital to the creation and revision of test items. In test development, SMEs identify the content domain, write test items linked to content, review and edit test items, and provide judgments used in setting performance standards.

Product Test Manager

As the name suggests, The Product Test Manager is responsible for the testing of products and services developed by the client and/or its technology partners to ensure they meet the specified functional, performance, security, reliability and fit for purpose. The role also includes the supervision and/or management of other test engineers and the definition of test strategy and processes. One Product Manager is generally allocated to one dedicated Product. They use customer insights and data to build a results-oriented roadmap and work hands-on with design and engineering to execute and test.

Do we still need Testing Roles

Developer-based testing is being widely adopted by small-, medium-, and large-scale companies. Software developers are now required to write/run their own unit tests in many organizations. Moreover, some are asked to write automated and integrated code-based tests. Developers can provide a significant amount of test coverage for their code, but this is often difficult to maintain if they don't do it consistently across the entire codebase.

When teams work within a small scope of the project, just like in most microservice applications, they are not able to understand the full execution flow of the entire application. This leads teams to be unwilling to test the produced code. Many do not fully understand the nuances of how every aspect of the application works together.

However, if you manage it well, in other words, if the software teams get round to testing as well as coding in their development life cycle, then the developers' testing is very productive and indispensable.

In summary

Every project is unique, every organization is different. The level of quality that can be achieved and how quickly you can reach your testing goals is entirely dependent on your testing team's ability. It is important to have the appropriate balance of different types of testers to have a testing team that effectively complements each other. A strong software testing team needs to be structured in a certain way: The hierarchy needs to be clear and responsibilities need to be well-defined among team members. Well-organized teams are capable of handling all of the work effectively.

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