Many employers look for software tester candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, math or engineering, although it’s not always required. If you’ve got a lot of experience, a stable work history and solid references or letters of recommendation, it’s possible to land a job without a college degree. An intermediate-level position typically requires three to six years of direct experience in software testing, or some combination of education and experience.
Regardless of how you prepare for a software testing career, here are the skills you should have or plan to develop:
Create and document automated and manual test plans and procedures, execute tests, analyze results, and report on test problems and anomalies (document bugs)
Perform software testing in all phases of the design-develop-test-release-maintain software life cycle
Understand various development methodologies, such as Agile and Scrum, and software testing platforms or environments
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Possess thorough knowledge of several testing tools
Be fluent in UNIX, Linux and/or Windows as well as scripting and command-line tools
Be a multitasker
Be an excellent communicator (written and verbal) with development, operations, product management and customers
Some positions require programming skills and an understanding of databases. You don’t necessarily need years of programming experience to be a tester, but it doesn’t hurt.
Many government or military jobs in national security and intelligence, as well as some federal contractors, require a TS/SCI clearance. TS/SCI is short for Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information. It’s sometimes referred to as a “TS/SCI poly clearance” because a polygraph is usually part of the process. If you already have a TS/SCI clearance, that gives you a significant competitive advantage in the software tester job market.