This article is for freshers and experienced Software Testers who want to be effective in Software Testing Job search or who want be more successful in clearing most of the Software Testing Interviews they attend. I will touch upon some of the aspects like, what to highlight in CV / Resume, channels available to search for Software Testing jobs, interview preparation, HR interview questions, and some tips on clearing interviews successfully.
For the benefit of freshers, I would start this article by explaining importance of Software testing, how much clients value Software Testing services and later explain how to increase chances of getting a Software Testing Job as a fresher or as an experienced Software Test Engineer. The intent of this article is not to bias freshers or anybody to choose Software Testing Career but to make them understand the importance and value of Software Testing in IT Industry, so that freshers can decide for themselves.
Incase you are fresher or less experienced software testers, I would strongly recommend to read article on What is Software Testing?, which explains what software testing is all about, why software testing is required, Cost of Quality, risks associated with softwares with defects, before you continue reading this article.
Software testing jobs in the past, about more than 5 years ago, was perceived as a profession that was easy to get into, boring, repetitive, lot of documentation work, more of data entry, apt for people with less IQ, job suitable for non IT graduates, and Software Testing is a stepping stone to move to development roles, Software Testing means only black box testing etc. I would say, these are all myths of the past and it’s time to provide awareness to people who still think on those lines. The reason I say so, even developers have to create documents, like high level and low level design documents, document unit test cases, log unit test defects, so even developers spend roughly about 30% to 60% of their time in documentation and testing like unit testing and component testing depending on the technology, SDLC, Process followed and complexity of the project.
Companies always like to hire freshers or experienced people who really like, understand importance of Software Testing and who want to stick to software testing career and not choose Software Testing job as a stop gap arrangement. It is imperative that during introduction or while answering to questions like “why you want to take up Software Testing Job as a fresher”, your answer should express your interest in Software Testing and highlight some of your qualities and strengths that will help you to be a good Software Tester.
Software Testing Jobs are in great demand at present, there are lot of Software Testing Job openings, at the same time there are more people willing to pursue Software Testing career than the number of Software Testing Jobs available. In the recent few years, I have seen developers choosing Software Tester roles, as they want to be experts in a particular Business domain and work in niche software testing types like Security testing or Performance testing or Usability testing etc.,
In many of the Pre-sales or client delivery visits that I have supported, clients always asked more related to Software Testing and Quality Assurance and they were eager to know more on Software Testing Capability and Software Test Process maturity of the organization, Software Testing Tools expertise, Metrics and Software Test Certifications before they decide to outsource or increase the scope of outsourced work. Below are some of the questions that are usually asked during client visits.
- What is the organizational and Project capability and Process maturity ?
- What is the Software Testing processes followed ?
- What is the Software Testing Life Cycle being followed ?
- How many software testers were certified ?
- What are the Software Test Tools organization has used or has expertise ?
- What is the capability of organization with regard to Software Test Automation ?
- Requirements traceability to ensure all the requirements are tested
- What are the Test metrics captured ?
- Organization capability to carry out different types of testing and test application built on different technologies like Web, Mobile apps etc.
Now, I would like to explain some of the topics related to Software Testing Jobs for freshers, like Campus and Off-campus recruitment options, points to highlight in CV / resume.
Software Testing Jobs for Freshers
Finding a Software Testing job as a fresher is really hard compared to an experienced Software Test engineer. I would strongly advise freshers to first thoroughly understand what is software testing? why Software Testing is required ?, Qualities and skills required to be a good and successful software Tester, get to know about software testing career paths, get a overview of different types of software testing and software testing tools available in the industry.
One should not blindly prefer Development or any other IT Job, just because their friends or college mates chose. I have seen people opting development blindly by following footsteps their friends or college mates and later realizing that Software Testing or other profession would have provided better career prospect for them, late realization does not help. So, you should choose Software Testing if it’s inline with your aspirations, strengths and if you want to hone skills required to take up Software Testing as your career.
Why there are few Off-Campus opportunities for freshers?
Most of the software companies go for campus recruitment rather than Off-Campus recruitment, as it is more beneficial for the company in terms of Training, meeting their recruitment targets and faster way of hiring large number of talented people.
Campus recruitment: Companies call for campus recruitment when it is targeting for hiring freshers with good grades or percentages in their academics. Candidates are expected to be good in oral and written communication (in English), good problem solving and analytical skills. Large or mid sized companies prefer Campus recruitment, as the fresher intake is high, they handle larger projects and maintain good bench strength. Also, it would be easier for them to conduct trainings for a sizeable batch. Hence, large or mid sized companies prefer campus recruitment.
Off-Campus recruitment: Companies call for off-campus recruitment when the number of intake is less. Mostly, small companies opt for off-campus recruitment than campus recruitment as their hiring numbers are usually low. Even large or mid sized companies may call-in for Off-campus recruitment when the intake numbers are less or outside campus recruitment timelines. Companies may also prefer off-campus when they do not have time or budget to train freshers. Hence, freshers who have undergone training from reputed professional institutes and finishing schools will have higher changes of getting selected in off-campus rather than a fresher who has not undergone any training.
Point to remember as fresher:
a) Qualities of good Software Test Engineer: You should choose Software Testing, if you feel you have the below qualities or you can enhance on the below qualities.
- Attitude to find faults to make things better.
- Attention to detail.
- Interested to understand business domain(s) and be a SME (subject matter expert) of one or more business domains.
- Good analytical skills.
- Programming Knowledge, required for Test Automation.
- SQL Knowledge, required for functional testing or Test Automation.
- Good oral and written communication.
- Good people skills.
b) Choose right Software Testing Job: If you have options to choose among multiple Software testing jobs, prefer the one that provides at least basic training covering Fundamentals of Software Testing or Software Testing Process or Software Testing Tools (QTP or Loadrunner or RFT) or provides an opportunity to learn popular Business domains like Banking or Telecom or Insurance or latest or niche Technology like Mobile application Testing or Security Testing or Usability Testing.
c) Software Testing Trainings: If you are searching for off-campus Software Testing Jobs, then it is very much required for you to get trained from a reputed institute on Software Testing and Software Testing tools etc., reputed institutes like NIIT or APTECH etc. that provide best Software Testing trainings.
d) Highlight achievements and strengths: Highlight your achievements and strengths which are required to be a good Software Tester (refer to point (a) for list of qualities) in your resume / CV. Also be prepared for follow-up questions that might be asked to provide citations that would prove your achievements and strengths. If you had completed development or testing project as part of your academics, highlight on the different types of testing performed, Software testing tools used etc.,
e) Be flexible on pay: I would personally advise freshers to be little flexible on the Salary part over learning aspect, while choosing between multiple Software testing job offers.
How to effectively search for Software Testing Jobs as a Fresher ?
a) Job portals: Submit your CV in all the job portals irrespective of whether they are popular or not. Also, submit your CV in job portals that are exclusively for freshers like FirstNaukri and FreshersWorld.
b) Job placement by Training Centers: As mentioned people who undergo software testing trainings are preferred in Off-campus recruitment, good training centers also provide placement services.
c) Apply for internships: Actively seek for internship roles in a company, internship provides window to fresher to learn and demonstrate his/her capabilities. Usually, internship pay is not lucrative (with some companies as exception) compared to on payroll jobs but provides industry relevant experience for a fresher. Internship will help candidates to get into payrolls of the same company or gain experience that would help to get jobs in other companies on regular payrolls. In simple words, internship is a stepping stone to on-payroll jobs!!!
d) Learn Software Testing Tools: Download some of the Trial Software Testing tools like Loarunner, QTP or RFT and highlight your knowledge of these tools in your CV / Resume.
e) Software Testing Concepts: Understand software testing basic concepts and should be able to define them in own words, terms like Blackbox testing, whitebox testing, Testing Automation, test scenario, test case, defects, defect report, test bed, Unit testing, integration testing etc.,
f) Database concepts: Understand database concepts and should be able to define them and write SQL queries when asked, terms like Relational database, Object relational database, View, index, Joins, DDL, DML, synonym, PL/SQL etc.,
Software Testing Jobs for Experienced
Unlike freshers, experienced software testers need not have to be worry about your grades and percentages of their academic years with an exception of very few companies that still consider academic grades while hiring experienced people, I do not want to mention names of such companies here though ?. However there is lot of preparation that an experienced candidate needs to do before applying for Software Testing Jobs or attending Software Testing interviews.
How to be more successful in getting Software Testing Jobs ?
a) Prepare for technical interview: In most of the software testing interviews for experienced, interviewers expect candidate to be through in software testing concepts, defect reporting, database concepts and SQL queries.
- Experience or good understanding of one or more popular domains like (Banking, Telecom, Insurance, Retail or Mobile applications).
- Experience or training or self learning in niche areas of Software testing like Usability Testing , Security Testing , Performance testing, mobile application testing, adds weight to CV / resume.
- Understanding of how to writing better test cases, test scenarios and good bug report. During interview candidate may be asked to write test scenarios for pen , test cases for login page , test cases for ATM etc. So, it’s better to be prepared for such common questions.
- Test case techniques (like Boundary Value Analysis , Equivalence Partitioning and Error Guessing ) and sound understanding of software testing methodologies .
- Good understanding of Software Test Plan and Software Test strategy .
- Understanding of Entry and Exit Criteria for Software Testing Phase.
- Importance and experience in creating and maintaining Traceability Matrix .
- Good understanding of Test metrics and formula’s related to Defect Removal Efficiency , Defect Density , CPI (Cost Performance Index) and SPI (Schedule Performance Index).
- Experience or knowledge of one popular Functional test automation tools like QTP or RFT or Robot.
- Experience and good knowledge in at least one test management software like HP Quality Center or IBM Rational Quality Manager.
- Experience or knowledge of one popular performance testing tool like HP Loadrunner or IBM performance tester.
- Should be able to write SQL queries that involves Joins and should be able to write queries related to inner join, outer join, self join, left join.
- Should be able to explain syntax or with examples for some of the popular Unix or Linux commands like GREP command , FIND command, CAT command , PS Command and CHMOD command .
b) Work on presentation: Being knowledgeable does not necessarily that mean one can present effectively. I have seen people who are very knowledgeable but unable to answer questions straight to the point, they either beat around the bush or they often seem to be at loss of words and unable to express what they want to tell. So, it is very important to prepare and rehearse for answering Interview questions. Best thing to do would be to prepare and answer questions on Software Testing forum which would serve as rehearsal. More rehearsal would increase your confidence level, confidence and correct answers are required to clear interview successfully.
c) Be thorough with your Resume/CV: At least 30% to 40% of the interview questions would be asked from candidate’s CV/resume. So, read your CV at least 2 to 3 times, each and every line of your CV and jot down probable questions that can be asked based out of your resume and rehearse for the questions. Candidates are outright rejected if they cannot answer even 1 or 2 questions that were based on their resume/CV.
d) Highlight Trainings, Certifications and Achievements in your CV/Resume:
- CV/Resumes are screened and filtered even before candidates are called for interviews. So it’s imperative that you highlight Certifications you have completed in your CV/Resume which is visible, probably on header or during initial part of the document. I would suggest highlight professional or industry acknowledged certification(s) like CSTE, CSQA, ISTQB, CSTP, CSQE, ISEB etc., that you hold and any other certifications, even though it is not industry acknowledged.
- Every organization wants to hire trained or experienced resources. However, some of the trainings can be quite expensive, training on Software Testing tools, Usability, Security Testing etc., Highlight the trainings that you have undergone in current organization or externally.
- Every organization wants to hire best talent in town, highlighting your achievements or the value you have created for current and previous organization on top section of your CV will help in getting your CV short listed for skill interview.
e) Prepare for Technical Interview: Usually first round of interview would be Technical round, prepare for every possible Technical Interview question on Software Testing, types of Software Testing, Test Automation, Testing Tools, Defect, Metrics and Business domain on which you have worked. Go through exhaustive list of Software Testing Interview Questions available on this site.
f) Prepare for Interview with management: Usually second round of interview would be with leadership team like senior manager or director or CEO or CIO etc., depending on the position candidate is being considered for. Interview with leadership very very crucial as the candidate’s designation gets decided and flagged to HR. Leadership team always looks at 4 areas (in following order), Value created for past organization(s), candidate’s Potential to operate one level higher, Achievements and experience.
g) Prepare for HR interview: HR interviews are perceived be pretty simple and quick, however candidates may be asked few tricky questions as well like “what are your 3 weaknesses?” or “what are the 3 things that you don’t like about your current company?” etc.,. HRs usually assess candidates on stability, people skills, genuineness, retention factor and Salary expectations of the candidate. Go through HR Interview questions, prepare and rehearse by answering the questions to best of your knowledge.
How to effectively search for Software Testing Jobs with experience ?
a) Job Portals: Submit your CV in all job portals, keep an eye on the new jobs being posted on the job portals, and apply for job openings. Most of the companies do post job openings on job portals. Keep updating/saving your CV in job portal every 15 days or at least once a month, as recently uploaded or updated CVs are usually listed on top, infrequent updates will lead to listing of your resume at the bottom of the list, which means lesser visibility to recruiters and HRs looking for candidates on job portal.
b) Make most of Social Network: Employee referral is one of the most reliable channels for any company. Companies believe that their employees can influence talented, like minded and experienced friends, ex-colleagues and acquaintances to join the company. On an average 25% to 30% of the company’s recruitment needs are fulfilled through employee referral. Plus referrer will earn a referral bonus!!! So it’s time to socialize, expand your professional & friendship network, get to know more people, share knowledge so that they would in turn help you at some point of time in future, when you need help in finding a Software testing Job or help with a particular tool or domain etc. Remember “A friend is need is a friend in deed”. Do you like this post? Then share it with your friends, peers or ex-colleagues or on social networking sites, remember what I said “Expand your network and make it stronger”, also “sharing is caring and sharing is being social“. share this article with people whom it would help and socialize.
c) Contracting or body shopping agencies: There are quite a few contracting or body shopping agencies that hire experienced candidates on their payrolls and place them on contract with other IT companies. Over a period of time, depending on the contracting agency policies and contracts, they allow contractor to employee conversion. Contracting companies is a faster employment option; when somebody is desperately look out for a job. Most of the larger companies have at least 15% to 30% of their workforce on contract in Indian companies, as it helps them for a quick ramp up or ramp down based on the project or companies growth needs. Percentage of contract depends on skill and geography. Contractor to employee percentage is in countries like USA, UK and countries in Europe compared to Indian companies, like if contractor to employee % in US or UK is (60% to 80%), in Indian companies it would be .1 to .3 (i.e. 10% to 30%)
We are very grateful to our guest author Hari Iyer for contributing a detailed and useful article that would help fresher and experienced people in searching for Software testing jobs. Hari, is working as software Test Manager in one of the reputed Software companies in Bangalore (India). We are positive that this article will help freshers and experienced people alike in Software Testing Job search and preparing for Software testing interviews. Wishing Good Luck to all of our blog readers on their software testing job search and for interview preparation!!!
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