How to build your reputation as a software tester

Being the person who is not concerned about other people’s opinions is often touted as being the secret to a happy life. Why spend your energy being concerned with what your neighbour might or might not be thinking about your latest actions. When you can instead use that energy to focus on yourself. Cultivating a mindset and an existence that makes you happy.

Unfortunately, when it comes to your career and those who will hire you or potentially working with you. What they think of you will often be the biggest factor that decides whether they want to do business with you, or someone else.

Your reputation is something that follows you throughout your career. Added to by the people you’ve worked with, the impressions you gave others. And the actions you have taken. While it is not an exclusive career orientated currency. A good reputation is also something to be valued throughout your life. And knowing how to keep it, maintain it and ensure it grows over time is a skill that we all need to have a bit of knowledge on.

Not only because it is much easier to find out these days what other people think of someone or the past achievements of someone via a quick Google search or a peak on various social media platforms. But also because reputations often proceed us, they can be passed around via word of mouth and reach more people than ever before.

The upside of this however is that with a more globally connected world. We can use this to our advantage and highlight ourselves to ensure we stand out from the crowd, rise to the top of the pile, and be sought after by hiring managers.

So how do we build our reputation?

As mentioned above. The only way to build something that isn’t in existence before. Is by the actions we take daily.

For software testers wanting to build their reputation to get a better job, more responsibilities. Or increase standing with their peers. The focus in their tasks should not only be on achieving results. But working with others so that collectively, you are part of a team that successfully operates together and people enjoy working with you.

After spending almost a decade testing software and learning about all the various ways that you can both influence teams and leave your mark on otherwise mundane tasks. Below I have shared a list of the most noteworthy things that you can do today to build your reputation as a highly valuable software tester.

Pay attention to details. But keep the big picture in mind

Being a details’ person in software testing will get you far. By having the ability to point out the less obvious flaws in a software product and highlight the areas in which a product isn’t perfect or easy for end-users is a critical skill.

But while being able to spot the miniature flaws in a product is helpful. It’s true that you need to have a grasp on the ‘big picture’. Help your team to understand that the flaws you are finding in one location will be felt by the user in another.

Become a mentor

I don’t think there’s a better way to improve, not only how your peers see you. But also appear to stand out from the crowd than to offer your time and wisdom to others for free.

There is no right way to do this. It can be in person, online. Or even via a blog and shared with people you don’t know!

The key here is to be open to people. Share your knowledge with no expectations and be passionate about your subject material.

Practise empathy

Empathy is a skill that doesn’t fit into one area. But is instead wide ranging that will enable you to effectively communicate with the members in your team, stakeholders, and overall be a kinder and more thoughtful tester.

If we take a real world example of a new shelf on the wall. Would you immediately try the heaviest items on your list, then complain that the shelf is not fit for purpose when it inevitably gives way? Or would you carefully try increasingly heavier items until the shelf can hold no more weight?

The advantage of this is that not only are you exposing the real issues in the shelf’s implementation. But this also enables you to work with the development team to improve the shelf. Rather than reporting that ‘it doesn’t work’.

Raise awesome bug reports

Raising bug reports is an often overlooked skill, and perfecting it is the best way to make your developers happy.

I have written the process I use in this blog post. So copy/change and personalise it to your own use.

Building a reputation can be a long process and achieved by doing a variety of different things. However, the focus for building a robust and eye-catching reputation is to always focus on serving others.

Ask yourself what you can do today to make the lives of your team even easier.

I hope this blog post was useful to you.

Reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter if you have any questions. Or contact me using my contact form.

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Posted by Kevin Tuck

Kevin Tuck is an ISTQB qualified software tester with nearly a decade of professional experience. Well versed in creating versatile and effective testing strategies. He offers a variety of collaborative software testing services. From managing your testing strategy, creating valuable automation assets, or serving as an additional resource.

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