What it takes to be a QA engineer

I am wondering what it takes to be a QA engineer, testing software. As a software engineer I am looking for ways to solve problems. I’m usually being told where the problem is and there I am looking for a solution. It takes me hours and sometimes days. I am trying various configurations. I am hacking the code looking for the problem.

Things are pretty simple on our end. Finding what causes the problem is 90% of the solution. The rest 10% can be difficult sometimes, but only because there may be many different solutions and it takes a little effort to find the best thing to do.

Not so with QA engineers.

QA engineer works in a totally different manner. QA guys are looking for problems. They are not looking for solutions. They are not interested in things working. They are interested in things broken.

Obviously there’s a methodology for finding problems. Every serious QA organizations have various tables and procedures that define what to test and how to test it. It seems that the more serious QA organization is, the more thorough the procedures are. Sometimes it seems like an absurd to repeat the same test over and over again, with slightly different circumstances. But this is what it takes to find bugs.

And then it goes a little further. When all the procedures has that little V on them, it is time to become creative. This is the most dangerous stage for a developer, because this is when QA engineer starts breaking things for real :-D

At this moment, a really creative QA engineer will begin doing random things, trying to break the program. The saboteur throws in everything he can, starting with random mouse clicks (assuming the victim is clickable) and ending with catching a network cable with his leg while crossing the room and seeing if it works with a couple of wires out of the plug.

These are the most aggravating kind of tests for the developer because tester is never able to repeat what he did. Usually it just “Come on over. I did something and it doesn’t work anymore”. And then they open a blocker bug in the bugzilla with your name in the assignee field. Grrr.

This makes me wonder how is it, being a QA person. I mean, doesn’t this urge to destroy things to prove they don’t work interfere with daily life? Wouldn’t such a person bring along the worst plumber in the city to fix his home piping, just to satisfy his inner monster. And I not dear to think about what could have happen at the parking lot.

Of course this cannot be for truth. QA engineers must have a switch in their heads telling them when it is time to stop destroying things. This is how it seems to work. The guy enters the office, turns the switch into destructive position and then goes and hunts some bugs. Then, when its time to go home, he turns the switch into off position and goes home.

But wait a minute, what happens when he has to use a phone, or a office computer. I mean he doesn’t have to test everything, so the switch must be very selective. Oh nevermind.

To all QA engineers out there, I would like to apologize for this post. I am full of respect to the job you do and this essay is nothing but a couple of silly thoughts that had crossed my mind. You see, a couple of your colleagues here at PeerApp annoy me a bit from time to time and I’ve chosen to express my aggravation with them through this post. Please don’t take it personally and forgive me :-)

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One Comment

  1. bayilik says:

    We started to a program as Bayilik Franchise Program. This post made help us for improve our program. We will send our program for your review.

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