Starting Your Software Testing Career
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Starting Your Software Testing Career

A guide to finding your first role as a Software Tester, upskilling so you are relevant in the job market and succeeding as a Software Tester once you have landed a role.

About the Book

Do you want to become a Software Tester but not sure where to start?

Do you want to up-skill so you remain relevant in today's job market?

Once you have landed a role as a Software Tester, how do you ensure you thrive in the role?

In this book, I will share the different paths you can take towards becoming a software tester, useful ways you can up-skill along with what I wish I knew in my first year of testing.

After reading this book you'll also be able to:

  • Understand the difference between Test Cases, Exploratory Testing and Ad Hoc Testing and when one approach is more suitable than the other
  • Write an effective bug report
  • Understand the benefits of learning test automation along with when you should and shouldn't write test automation
  • Test against implicit requirements
  • Imagine what a tester's typical day may look like
  • Prevent bugs
  • Ask for testability

(Chapter 2: Gaining Skills Before (and After) You First Role and Chapter 15: Advice From Testers Around the World are included in the free sample).

To see the testimonials, scroll down to the testimonials section.

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    • Testing
    • Automated Software Testing
    • Career
    • Computers and Programming
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About the Author

Nicola Lindgren
Nicola Lindgren

Nicola Lindgren is a Senior QA Engineer/ QA Manager, based in Malmö, Sweden. She is an international conference speaker, frequent blogger and avid learner of all things testing, agile and leadership.

Nicola started two testing meetups (one in Auckland, New Zealand and one in Stockholm, Sweden), has taught software testing courses and run workshops, coached and mentored multiple testers and written for various testing publications. She has also been a co-instructor for the BBST Foundations course multiple times.

She blogs about testing, automation, personal development and agile at

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About the Contributors

Brendan Connolly
Brendan Connolly
Shawn Shaligram
Shawn Shaligram
Gaston Marichal
Gaston Marichal
Beth Marshall
Beth Marshall
Mohamed Tarek
Mohamed Tarek
Sylvia Killinen
Sylvia Killinen
Arlene Andrews
Arlene Andrews
Cecelia Martinez
Cecelia Martinez
Ken Simeon
Ken Simeon
Alice Chu
Alice Chu
 Xavi Ametller Serrat
Xavi Ametller Serrat
Emna Ayadi
Emna Ayadi
Laveena Ramchandani
Laveena Ramchandani
Veena Devi
Veena Devi
Lateef Alimi
Lateef Alimi
Farah Chabchoub
Farah Chabchoub
Adebayo Jacobs-Amoo
Adebayo Jacobs-Amoo

Reader Testimonials

Lisa Crispin
Lisa Crispin

Co-founder, Agile Testing Fellowship Inc.

Finally, the book I can recommend to encourage people with diverse education, background and experience to consider a career in testing! Learn basic testing concepts and practices, along with links to resources for deeper knowledge. Get sound advice on highlighting your relevant skills in your CV and in interviews, even with no direct testing experience. Lots of reassurance and encouragement here.

Aaron McTavish
Aaron McTavish

Director of Engineering, UK

Really well done. I liked how action oriented you were able to make the book while still adding a lot of context and scene setting for newer engineers.

Marie Drake
Marie Drake

Quality Engineering Manager, UK

I really enjoyed reading the book and it's absolutely perfect for individuals who want to start a career in Software Testing but also to individuals who want to improve their current testing skills. The structure is well broken down into different areas and it's easily digestible. Readers can have the option to read all the chapters or just the chapters that they feel are most important to them. I think that this will be useful for software testers that have been in the industry for a while.

Beth Marshall
Beth Marshall

QA Engineer, UK

Starting Your Software Testing Career is a wonderful book. This book ties in so well with the questions I am asked as a Testing Bootcamp tutor, from "What is the typical day in the life of a tester?" to "how do I perform exploratory testing?". Everything is written with clarity and care, so is easy to read and store in the mental memory back to refer back to later. I love that the book has a huge focus on practical advice driven by real-world experience. Highly recommend!

Anna Makuchova
Anna Makuchova

Software Testing Student, Sweden

Written in a language easily understandable to anyone. Packed with strategies and practical tips on how to start and evolve in your software testing journey. I really appreciate Nicola’s tips on how to kick-start your testing career and how to stay motivated in “Chapter 3: Getting Your First Job As A Software Tester”. These incredibly helpful tips are a great way to broaden one's horizons and prepare for job hunting.

Phil Wong
Phil Wong

Test Engineer, UK

Hello new tester, Nicola has compiled this excellent starter just for you. Your new guide contains wisdom from many intellects in the industry. I hope you take advantage of this as your compass into the world of testing. My favourite section is Chapter 9, because it highlights that testing is not just a box ticking exercise (you'll see). Good luck in your testing adventure!

Elizabeth Zagroba
Elizabeth Zagroba

Quality Lead, Netherlands

So many testing resources are a flood of information. Nicola does a great job of distilling what you need to know to get started in software testing from the world’s foremost experts, herself included.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: What is Software Testing? And Other Definitions
    • What is Software Testing?
    • What is a Software Tester?
    • Test Cases vs Exploratory Testing vs Ad Hoc Testing
    • What is Manual Testing?
    • What is a Test Suite?
    • What is Regression Testing?
    • What is Smoke Testing?
    • What is a Bug?
    • What is a Requirement?
    • Functional Testing vs Non-Functional Testing
    • What is Testability?
    • What Are Oracles and Heuristics?
    • What Are Feature Flags and Canary Testing?
    • Agile vs Waterfall
    • What is an API?
    • What is a Software Testing Technique?
    • What is Shift Left (in testing)?
  • Chapter 2: Gaining Skills Before (And After) Your First Role
    • What Skills Will You Find Useful as a Software Tester?
    • Skills Many Employers Tend To Look For
    • Personal Recommendations for Courses You Can Take to Upskill
    • Gaining Skills with Crowd-Sourced Testing
  • Chapter 3: Getting Your First Job As A Software Tester
    • What Path Should You Take?
    • Applying for Software Tester Roles
    • Interviewing for Software Tester Roles
    • Managing Expectations
    • Some Myths When It Comes to Applying for Roles
  • Chapter 4: What Does a Typical Day Look like?
    • Large Waterfall Project
    • Co-Located Scrum Team Working With Multiple Releases Each Day
    • Co-Located Scrum Team Working With 1-2 Releases Each Month
  • Chapter 5: How and Why You Should Find a Mentor
    • What is a Mentor?
    • Benefits of Having a Mentor
    • How to Find a Mentor
    • How to Have a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship
    • Mentoring vs Sponsorship
  • Chapter 6: What I Wish I Knew in My First Year of Testing
    • Expectations vs Reality
    • Get Involved With The Testing Community
    • Better To Be With Developers Than Away From Them
    • Great work and Recognition
    • Others’ Opinions Of Software Testers Aren’t Always a Reflection of You
  • Chapter 7: Bug Reports
    • What is a Bug Report?
    • Why You Should Learn How to Write an Effective Bug Report
    • How to Write an Effective Bug Report
    • Common Mistakes
  • Chapter 8: Test Cases vs Exploratory Testing vs Ad Hoc Testing
    • When Are Test Cases Most Suitable?
    • How Do I Write Test Cases?
    • An Analogy to Explain the Limitation of Test Cases
    • When Is Exploratory Testing The Best Approach?
    • How Can I Do Exploratory Testing Effectively?
    • When Is Ad Hoc Testing the Best Approach?
  • Chapter 9: Testing Against Implicit Requirements
    • Explicit Requirements vs Implicit Requirements
    • Why Do You Need to Test Against Implicit Requirements
    • How to Spot Implicit Requirements
    • What Shapes Implicit Requirements
    • Heuristics and Oracles You Can Use to Help You Test Against Implicit Requirements
  • Chapter 10: Test Automation
    • What is Test Automation?
    • Why Should You Learn Test Automation?
    • When Should You Write Test Automation?
    • How Do You Gain Test Automation Skills?
    • Which Programming Language and Test Automation Framework Should You Learn?
    • How Do I Find the Time to Gain Test Automation Skills?
    • Mnemonic for creating valuable test automation.
  • Chapter 11: How To Prevent Bugs
    • Make Sure The Requirements Are Testable
    • Make Sure The Frontend And Backend Are Compatible
    • How To Have A Testing Discussion
    • Applying Heuristics To Bug Prevention
    • Additional Things To Be Aware Of
  • Chapter 12: Ask For Testability
    • Expectations Around Testability
    • How You Can Ask For Testability
    • Some Examples
    • Using Rob Meaney’s 10 P’s of Testability
    • Remember
  • Chapter 13: Preparing For Releases
    • Bug Bashes
    • The Release
  • Chapter 14: Getting Started on a Software Testing Project
    • Checklist for What New Testers on a Project Need
    • Questions You Can Ask When You Start On a New Project
    • Some Final Words
  • Chapter 15: Advice From Testers Around The World
  • About the Author
  • Recommended Reading

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