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6 Soft skills to focus on when hiring QA engineers

No matter what kind of project you are running, you need to make sure your quality assurance specialists are the perfect fit. Popular apps like Facebook, NerdWallet, Under Armour, and many others rely on QA experts to build and test applications that meet user needs.

But how could you point out and recruit top-level professionals?

Your focus should be on must-have soft skills for quality assurance specialists, but you may also add specific requirements to the list. This article will give you insights valuable for making the hiring process easy and cost-wise for you.

QA
By Dzmitry Seachouk, Senior Manual QA Engineer at Solvd
June 08, 2021
Systematic thinking
A particular skill set defines systematic thinkers in the quality assurance area and makes them capable of the following:

  • View a product as a system from different angles
  • Plan tasks
  • Decompose tasks
  • Arrive at conclusions and align personal behavior
  • Be flexible resolving issues

And above all, a systematic thinker takes a complex approach to QA processes, and that is the secret ingredient in the recipe for project success.

What are the mistakes lower-qualified QA engineers might make?

Each business has its own specific context, and each client's project is unique. A tester needs to learn and practice a lot to become a pro in a chosen niche.

QA engineers may go wrong if trying to resolve different project issues by using one-size-fits-all testing methods.

Say, an experienced specialist has years of game testing experience under the belt. But he or she with little to no specific skills is likely to get confused while testing CRM systems.

Or imaging QA specialists who test fitness devices and weight loss apps not using slimming recommendations or doing any physical activity themselves – that is ridiculous!

Unlike systematic thinkers, other QA engineers may suffer psychological difficulties at work. That could slow down the entire team and result in financial losses for a client.
Strong attention to detail
Before getting down to work, a QA specialist should double-check these two points:

  • if testing goals and expected results are clear
  • if there are any occasional contradictions in a task text

A QA professional may come up with unexpected interpretations that might later help choose a more appropriate testing environment, different from those described in requirements, detect edge cases, or unearth inconsistencies.

Having strong attention to detail, expert engineers may kill two birds in one stone: save themselves and their colleagues a great deal of time and improve personal analytical skills.
Critical thinking
A QA specialist should be curious and question task requirements and logical contradictions.

Inconsistencies may occur in application logic, project requirements, assignments, or third-party documentation. And critical thinkers would try to detect contradictions when a work is in its early stages. That would facilitate QA processes for an entire team.

A high-quality specialist would focus on system specifics rather than relying on gut feeling. Besides, he or she is highly likely to have an insider's look at a system and suggest options for improving current functionality.
Autonomy
On receiving a new task, a QA expert will try to figure out on his or her own what is expected to be done. The easiest way is to ask colleagues to clarify complicated parts. But resolving difficulties themselves, engineers learn better and gain experience for the future.

A professional would even go further and systematize new experiences to make it easy for teammates to learn from them. He or she may draw up instructions on resolving issues or create a guide for team members on setting up a testing environment. And they may use guides or notes made to refresh knowledge quickly. So, they prove leadership competencies, take care of the entire team, and benefit themselves.

Experts in QA are also good at surfing the web for relevant information. For them, it will never be a problem to filter search results by content, file type, or use other filters to yield valuable information. Pay attention to those basics yet vital quality assurance specialist's skills.
A broad range of expertise
Watch out: if not handled properly, the number of harmful defects and bugs would proliferate.

What does a QA do and what skills are needed to detect issues on time and fix them as soon as possible?

To fit in perfectly with any professional team, a QA engineer should keep up with changing technology landscape and understand some key areas:

  • The architecture of modern applications
  • Platform guidelines
  • Basic principles of object-oriented programming (OOP)
  • General business principles
  • Product lifecycle
  • Popular testing methodologies
  • Software development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Ways to apply different development tools
  • Specifics of using server environment

For example, a QA professional familiar with App Store requirements may detect inconsistency with the store requirements at the earliest stage of testing and notify the team on time. That could save a code from any regression bugs a tester might miss while fixing an app.

Being open-minded allows QA engineers to master new skills faster while sticking to the principle of lifelong learning.
Time management guru
The ability to assess time and set deadlines accurately is critical. It can save project resources and ensure the entire team works in line with the release plan. Well-versed QA engineers definitely have this skill.

A QA professional would provide a task assessment no earlier than scrutinizing all the requirements. He or she knows that either optimistic deadlines or unreasonable timelines might undermine workflows.

Inexperienced QA engineers might try to impress team leads, be overconfident, or too shy, all of which may result in poor time management. Missed release dates, low testing quality, and overtime are a handful of consequences. It doesn't matter if an engineer manages to close tasks within inadequate time limits: a team leader knowing the deadlines will hardly be impressed by a chunk of work completed within the time set at the assessment stage.

How to avoid running in a stressful environment?

Working in a crazy mode will inevitably result in burnout, chronic fatigue, and personal issues with team members and family.

Adopt a gradual growth strategy to feel comfortable at work. Remember, to err is human, and all you need is to report an error to your team leader and get down to fixing it. By doing so, you let your team leader take early steps to stabilize the situation, shift deadlines, or assign someone to assist you with the tasks.

Take care of your life and mental health and those of your teammates!
To finalize
Quality assurance engineers are at the forefront of detecting application issues and providing solutions. They make sustainable project delivery possible while maintaining the high quality and safety of code. And it is your QA team who ensures customers are happy with the product or service at the end of the day.

If you want to hire QA professionals qualified to take responsibility for all related activities on a project, you are at the right place. Check our software development and testing services, and let's discuss how we can help you create and deliver a perfect project.