- What does a software tester do?
- Software tester career path
- Software tester salaries
- Qualifications and training
- Software tester skills
- Pros and cons of being a software tester
- Software tester work-life balance
- Software tester employers
- Related jobs
- More information
Are you looking for a career that combines your keen eye for detail with your technical understanding? Do you want to break software to make it more robust? If you want to bring your interest in software into your work without being the one to make the software, a career as a software tester could be for you.
Are you interested in a career as a software tester? Explore IT and software development graduate jobs available to you right now.
What does a software tester do?
Software testers are responsible for conducting checks to make sure software is up to standard and works well for the user. There are many checks that a software tester makes when testing a product and the ones you do depend on the type of software, company and your seniority.
Here are some tasks that you may be expected to do as a software designer:
- Attend briefing meetings. These will help you understand the software and what to look out for when testing it.
- Quality assurance. You do the quality assurance process throughout the designing stages to make sure that the software runs smoothly and doesn’t need any basic changes or improvements.
- Testing. The final stage of testing checks for bugs in the software and makes sure it runs smoothly.
- Reporting. Write out a report of the tests you did and the suggestions you recommend to improve the software including any bugs you find.
Software tester career path
Software testers have a good career path and you have the potential to reach great heights in a company. Here are the levels that you might expect to go through as a software tester:
Entry-level roles in software testing include junior software tester. In an entry-level position, you identify bugs in the software and report them to your supervisor. You discuss with clients or external stakeholders. You may use software to track the bugs that you identify.
With experience and a positive track record, you are promoted to mid-level software tester. Your work increases in complexity and you work on projects which are more difficult. This may be more sophisticated software or larger projects.
From a mid-level software tester, you could become a senior software tester. This includes speaking to clients, writing reports on the software and mentoring and training junior colleagues. By this level, you’re expected to set your own work and competently complete it yourself without direction.
Your future career could reach high levels in a company. A test manager organises and oversees the testing process and everyone in their department. Your work includes setting the standard for the work your department completes and making sure there aren’t any mistakes in your department’s work.
Software tester salaries
Your salary as a software tester depends on the region you work in, the company you work for and your experience. Here are the salaries you may expect when working as a software tester:
- In junior or entry-level positions, £24,000 per year is the average with some jobs paying between £20,000 and £30,000 per year.
- Mid-level software testers earn an average of £30,000 per year.
- Senior software testers earn £40,000 per year on average.
- Test managers earn between £50,000 and £57,000 per year.
Qualifications and training
While you may not make the software yourself, you still need a high-level understanding of how it works and how to fix it. Here are the steps that you should take to gain this knowledge and secure your job as a software tester:
Your formal education begins at the undergraduate level. Software testers need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. Having a master’s degree in computer science or software engineering is also necessary for software testers. You need the knowledge that you gain from your degrees to perform a software engineer job well.
Having some relevant work experience could improve your chances of securing a software tester job. Ways to get work experience could be volunteering for a software company or shadowing an employee. You could complete an internship in software testing to understand the daily tasks and get a feel for office work. In your undergraduate degree, you may have the opportunity to do some time in the industry which means working for a software company as part of studying for your degree.
If you’re interested in gaining software testing work experience, consider these internship opportunities.
Whilst your degrees teach you the overall knowledge that you need for working with software, there are qualifications that you can gain to teach you the specific art of software testing. The Chartered Institute of IT offers a Professional Certification in Software Testing teaching you the skills that you need to be a successful software tester.
Professional qualifications aren’t necessary for securing a job, however, they do help you demonstrate your experience and skills. In most cases, professional qualifications are intended for people who already work within software testing and want to improve their skills.
Software tester Skills
Software testing is a highly technical job. You need a combination of hard skills (which help you understand the software) and soft skills which help you complete the job well. Here are the hard and soft skills that help you with your work:
- Coding. To work successfully as a software tester, you need to have a working knowledge of at least one coding language. You should be able to code and identify issues in code.
Interested in coding? Learn Python with this Bright Network Academy course on starting to code in Python.
- Empathy. Software testers need to approach the software with an analytical thought process through the eyes of both the software engineer or development team and also as the customer using the software. This is to understand the requirements of both so you can make good suggestions for improvements but also to recognise any bugs that a customer might notice. Having a good level of empathy helps software testers view the software from different perspectives and produce a product to more effectively meet the requirements of the customer.
- Patience. Your work is often repetitive. It requires a high level of concentration when looking over code for long periods of time. Having patience helps you stay focused and continue looking for errors and bugs in the software.
- Communication. Having good communication skills improves your work as a software tester. Verbal communication helps you discuss the work you’re doing with your team so you can delegate well. Written communication helps you write out the issues with the software in your reports so the software engineers can effectively make changes and implement your suggestions.
- Problem-solving. Your work is entirely based on your problem-solving skills. If you identify a problem, you should find the source of the issue and suggest how to resolve it. If you have good problem-solving skills, being a software tester could be a great career for you. Take this creative problem-solving Bright Network Academy module to help you learn how to solve problems more effectively.
Pros and cons of being a software tester
- Software testing is, overall, quite a relaxed job with long deadlines meaning you have lots of time to complete your work and relatively little overtime.
- It’s a good career for people who don’t want to build software but still enjoy working with code.
- There is lots of work for skilled software testers available.
- Finding bugs can be challenging and it’s possible to miss some if you’re not very experienced or if you’re not very careful.
- You need high-level qualifications to work as a software tester.
- The work can be repetitive which some people may find difficult.
Software testers typically have a standard working day of 9am to 5pm. You may start between 8am and 10am and finish between 5pm and 6pm depending on the company and its culture. Some companies may give you flexible working times so you can complete your work at the time that suits you. Checking the type of culture that a company has will help you decide whether it’s the right place for you.
You may find that you have some overtime around deadlines. Besides this, maintaining a good work-life balance is relatively easy for software testers.
Software tester employers
Technology companies need software testers to make sure their software works efficiently and there are no bugs that users may find. Many companies have graduate schemes as an entry into the career. Here are some top companies that you could work for as a software tester:
Related jobs to software tester
Are you interested in a job in technology and want to explore more options? Learn about the types of graduate roles in the IT and software development sector which you could get.
If you’re interested in a career as a software tester, explore current graduate opportunities available to you right now.