Soft Skills Every Agile Software Tester Should Possess
Last updated: 08.11.21
At the moment of researching for job offers, software testers find a large list of technical requirements and experiences that are desired. In contrast, soft skills are not listed or hardly mentioned at all, although they are just as important.
A well-rounded software tester is one who possesses both technical abilities and soft skills in their toolbox.
Soft skills, also known as personal skills, are the interpersonal attributes, habits, and behaviors that shape your personality and the way you work and interact with other people.
Are you aware of your soft skills?
I am pretty sure you already have many soft skills such as positivity, open-mindedness, time management capabilities. Those abilities will persist over time, however, the following interpersonal skills are becoming crucial over the last couple of years regardless of job level, expertise, gender, or language in the software testing field and I want to provide you with some tips and resources that will help empower them.
The following soft skills go hand in hand with other soft skills. These are game-changers for every software tester! Be aware of them and thrive on them!
In our learning festival, #AgileTD 2019, we asked speakers and participants to tell us which is the most important skill any agile software tester should possess.
We got many different answers, however, curiosity was the one that kept repeating. It was surprising that most of the participants talked about soft skills rather than hard skills. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/8V2D7XuMriU
All software testers have a common trait, and it is the eagerness to discover more. It is not new that software testers love to be immersed in their work. Curiosity is what keeps testers going, as it serves as a driving force that motivates them to pursue better results. They observe and look for the differences in features and scenarios, keep diving deep to understand the behavior of the system that leads them to discover important bugs.
Software testers in that sense are like a detective in action, therefore, one has to cultivate this curiosity to keep moving.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin
Our world is dynamic and evolving constantly and software testing is not the exception. Requirements, technology, and timelines keep changing in a blink of an eye.
Testers, on the other hand, are naturally good at embracing chances, even when it is scary! Cultivating the skill of adaptability means one is open, willing to take on new challenges, and can make some adjustments, all for the best of the project.
Adapt to survive, adapt to evolve. Be part of the chance!
Discover how to embrace the emerging changes with the following blog posts and videos:
There's no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution - Betty Williams
This soft skill is connected with curiosity and adaptability.
Software testers encounter different kinds of problems, either with the testing or with the project, in other cases even with peers and some of the problems are more complex than others, that is why problem-solving is a crucial tool that one needs.
Here are some tips on how to improve your problem-solving as well as a blog post:
Familiarize yourself with common issues in your company and industry
Connect with the community to learn from them, exchange ideas, help others and ask for help.
Communication is an important skill for every kind of job and it doesn’t matter if you are working at the office or remotely, communication is crucial. Let’s divide the communication into 2 parts:
Listening instead of hearing
In some cases, you have to work with nontechnical coworkers. You have to explain things to non-technical peers.
Make a question if you don't understand, walk in someone's shoes. Ask for feedback.
Nonverbal communication is as important as verbal communication. We live now in the digital age, so non-spoken communication is crucial when talking to your peers via Slack, email, twitter, or any other social media platform.
Here are few reminders on how to improve your nonverbal communication:
Face the speakers and maintain eye contact (especially during an online meeting).
Take in mind your posture and mimics while talking to your peers, especially when doing remote work.
Try to not multitask too much while being in a remote meeting
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together”- Ratan Tata
Even if you are working alone or remotely, you need to be a team player. The same applies to the software testing field. You need to be in good condition and on the same page with your team in order to succeed and achieve the desired goal.
Collaboration is vital and it is already a common trait in this field, however working in a team is always a challenge, because you work with a lot of individuals that possess different backgrounds, speak different languages, and think differently.
Sharing your knowledge, becoming a mentor, and working together as an Ensemble Team, are just a few ways to thrive the teamwork and team atmosphere in your work.
Don’t be shy to share your ideas and inquire in a Tweet, Slack channel, or a blog post. Remember that you and your team are not alone, there is an international community of agile software testers willing to help and distribute knowledge and experiences.
Don’t see this Teamwork effort as only time-consuming, see it as an investment for you.
Empower yourself and your team by watching these talks about teamwork in the agile software testing field:
How can you show that you have a great work ethic and the above soft skills?
Most people add a section in their CV and mention soft skills on the cover letter. This is a good idea, nevertheless just mentioning it isn't very meaningful. The best thing you can do is demonstrate that you possess these skills by sharing examples of times when you used them.
Keep in mind that the recruiter won't ask you directly about your soft skills. They may ask you questions or present situations during the interview with the aim of discovering how you would react. The secret is to integrate your soft skills stories into the answer to those questions.
Here are a few ideas:
Teamwork: Don’t relate the stories always with “I”. Better replace with phrases such as: “We, My colleague and I, the team.”
Adaptability: You can talk about how willing you are to adapt and change when talking about the time when you start a new job or change job positions with new responsibilities.
Problem Solving: At the moment if sharing your problem-solving story, remember to narrate it in the STAR format
S: Start with talking about the SITUATION.
T: Tell the role or TASK you need to perform
A: Share the ACTION to took to solve the situation
R: Share the RESULT.
Let the above soft skills inspire and remind you that it is not always about technical skills. The job requirements can change over time but these soft skills mostly remain the same.
---------------------- At trendig, we not only equip you with the technical skills but also provide you with a guideline of the soft skills you need to succeed in your career.