QC Testers - Not Just Software Sanitation Engineers

A good Tester can be worth their weight in gold if you let them. Their job is to put your application through the ringer. They are also generally the first person to use your app/feature so they can provide some key insights into user experience and usability.

Off the top of my head here are some things that a good tester can check:

  • Is anything broken that worked before? (regression testing - a lot of wok here)
  • Can your URLs be hacked to get information that users shouldn't have? (security)
  • Are sql injection attacks possible? (security)
  • Is your tab order right? (usability)
  • What would the stupidest person using your app do here? (user experience/idiot proofing)
  • What happens if you double click on buttons? (user experience/idiot proofing)
  • If there is role based content/functionality what would happen if a user with multiple roles accessed this feature? (security/usability)
  • What would make this feature easier to use or easier to understand? (usablity)

Those are just a few. If you're a developer I'm sure you've asked yourself a lot of these questions and then some, but testers are different. As a tester, "If it ain't broke, you aren't trying hard enough". A good tester takes it as a challenge to out think you, to find the things that you missed when you were busy getting it working.

It used to be that testers were either inexperienced techies trying to break into development or just business people who just stumbled in and filled a need. They'd give the app a quick once over to make sure nothing obvious was broken and move on.

More and more I'm seeing testers with decent database and coding skills. They understand how the application works. They're in the database, they know how the data moves. They know how to know if things are working right and how to set everything up properly.

Bright people are now choosing testing as a career and I think the gap is quickly widening between a top notch tester and a merely competent one.

So if you're lucky enough to have a good tester don't look at them as another hurdle that has to be jumped to get your code out to production. They are a valuable part of the process; they're you're collaborators in turning out an awesome product.

P. S. Can't resit giving a belated shout out to my favorite testing blog, JW on Test... Thanks James, keep up the good posts.