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What is a Software Testing Engineer?

What is Software Testing?

Testing is a specialized niche of software engineering that involves just what you might think when you hear the words: testing the software for errors. Under controlled conditions, software testing involves verifying that the program is carrying out the tasks that it is meant to for the customer or target audience and validating that it is doing so correctly. It is an aspect of software engineering that many people might not think of, but it is an important step that can be thought of as quality assurance.

"It is just what you think it would be, testing the software for errors." ~ K. Weil

Because software is so complex, testing, while simple in concept, can also be very complex. And faults in software do not result from manufacturing defects, but result from errors in design. Software does not get subjected to physical wear and tear, so generally software errors and bugs will not become obvious until it is activated. Therefore it is important that the software manufacturers identify any errors before their product hits the market or is tried by the customer. Testers usually need a very strong attention to detail, very good communication skills, and will have to understand different modes of testing. The average salary for a software tester is $77,000, according to, and can vary greatly depending on the type of tester you are.

Software Testing

Testing is generally done after the needs of the target audience have been identified and the coding is complete. Testing rarely identifies any and all bugs in software, but it can assess general performance, especially in comparison to similar products. Testing checks functionality, such as correctness, reliability and integrity. It also checks the engineering and the adaptability. There are different methods of software testing. Static testing consists of examining or inspecting code, while dynamic testing refers to running the actual program. Static testing is generally less detailed, and is considered a verification process. Dynamic testing runs the software and has different methodologies, and is considered a validation process.

Because software bugs can be very cost-inefficient and create major financial losses for companies, software testing is and will continue to be an important job in the field of computers. And because software is only becoming more and more complex, therefore making it more vulnerable to errors, testing will be an important part of this growth. As it gets more specialized, it will also require specific training and/or experience for testers to do their job well.

Software Testing Training and Education

Software testing is ultimately highly specialized, and can be considered an art. If you are studying software engineering or plan to, consider testing as a future career option, but you will have to possess the necessary technical skills. Ideally, you will earn a four-year bachelor's degree, although a two- year associate degree would also be acceptable, and may enable you to gain employment and begin earning experience. You should earn a degree in computer science [Find a Computer Science Program], information systems, or software engineering. You could also earn a related degree, such as in mathematics, but you will need very strong programming skills. Many undergraduate programs offer specific courses in software testing to introduce experienced programmers to basic testing and various types of testing tools. [Find a Software Engineering program in your state]

Software Testing Certification

There are software testing certification programs as well, which can provide software testing career training for those already working in the field or recently graduated from a related field. Getting software testing certified will demonstrate that you are trained to reduce errors, improve quality, and ultimately help create a better product for your future employer. Software testing certification programs are available through various professional organizations, such as The American Software Testing Qualifications Board, Inc. (ASTQB), or the International Institute for Software Testing (IIST). However, some experts assert that testing skills are difficult to certify and prove, and that you simply need to possess the necessary technical skill. So to break into this specialized career with a future, be sure to get started now on your education or training so that you may have this option.


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