10 Characteristics of A Excellent Software Tester

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    So turning the point on it’s head, what would the key 10 characteristics of an excellent tester be?

    Ronan Healy

    Mod Note I think this might be worthy of its own discussion so I’ll splitting from the previous discussion which you can still find here

    @craig Nicely suggested. I’m not too sure myself. I found an article though here about 16 characterisitics of a great software testing. Two that stuck out for me were (i) Be Sceptical and (ii) start early.

    Perhaps @Padmaraj, @Ard,@Kasper @Kim have your own suggestions?


    I would add that a good tester does not assume anything, however there was just a great article on the topic of assumptions which made me question my point a little bit.

    Also a tester has to be good at communicating with a wide variety of people and be able to put themselves into the client’s/user’s shoes.

    Be imaginative, creative and assess risk adequately. 🙂


    In my experience, the traits that make a good tester are no different to what makes a good developer etc.

    Being able to think independently, strategize, innovate, lead, innovate, improve, adapt, communicate and all these important people skills that can make the difference.


    @ronan: Good article. Lot of good stuff in there. The part that really stuck with something I’m struggling with in the team was “Don’t think that your responsibility is just to validate software against the set of requirements”
    @kim, @martin: good points, ties back to an old issue. If a resource pool doesn’t display these as natural qualities – can they be taught?


    My pet peeve with this article (as with most testing articles) is the focus on functional testing. Even when talking about “be hacker of your project” the author is not talking about technology.
    Although I think the author makes valid points missing technology is so 2010…

    As I once talked at Eurostar with the presentation title “Imagination is more important than knowledge” I concur with Kim’s points.

    My own additional points :
    Learn to code! If you ever want to grasp the intricaties of the product you NEED at least to be able to read and understand code
    Be curious – try to find out everything about the product under test
    Be a fast learner – the ability to grasp the essence and do it quickly is very important
    Be technical, we live in a connected world – your application is unlikely to live in a disconnected universe. Grasp the risks and test for them
    Think out of the testing box. Yes requirements and the client are all very important but think beyond that.
    Learn to automate tests. If you want to be included early you will need to do something for the coders – provinding an automated test environment with automated tests might just be the ticket to inclusion into the inner circle.
    Learn to code!

    I will think of some more later on – I think…


    @kasper that sounds like a great topic for a talk! Is there a recording of it? I would love to see it and hear it. 🙂


    @Kim, I hope not! Although the talk itself was/is quite good my delivery that day was propably the worst I ever did!
    I was called in as a late replacement and was a little too self confident that I could drive to the venue (in the middle of a working day) do the presentation and immediately get back to my clients site.
    As it turned out: it does not work that way. As a result the presentation got a very mixed reaction and very average (at best) rating.

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