How to improve junior QA skills

Be proactive. Remember Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?

The first main habit is proactivity. There is no doubt that you can get your stripes for seniority, get under the arm of a manager at the right time, and rise sharply. However, you cannot get the knowledge and skills this way. The project is ending — and suddenly, you cannot get a job as long as your only professional experience is sitting in a warm place.  

What are the must-have skills for the average junior QA?

  • Knowledge how to describe test scenarios;
  • Defects formatting;
  • Black box testing awareness;
  • Understanding the difference between regression and functional testing.

Less important than the technical skills are written and oral communication skills. The crucial skills for a junior are directly related to functional verification.

Middle QA, unlikely to a junior, in addition to technical skills, needs to have an idea of the process, planning, estimation, timing, and priorities. He or she must be able to differentiate risk and problem as well as have a clear understanding of how to act, having identified the risks, and faced the problem.

Besides, it seems to me that a compulsory feature for Middle QA is the ability to say about a lack of time in time. The Junior QA often cannot recognize when this moment comes and may behave in two different ways: either state that he or she does not know what to do 15 minutes later, or miss a deadline and still wait for a suboptimal request fulfillment. Naturally, the signor must be able to complete the task himself or herself without the outside help involvement. All the above is purely my subjective assessment, as the realities of your company and projects may be completely different. Therefore, I am not talking about leveling knowledge in the domain area. Sometimes you need to understand the peculiarity of web applications testing, and sometimes — what a swap is and how many legs does it have.

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