For life-changers: should you be trained as a junior automated software tester OR as a junior software developer

The world today is in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution where there is a fusion of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain, robotics, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and multiple other technologies. These products, and services are becoming indispensable to human life.

According to Klaus Schwab, writer of the book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, founder, executive chairman of the World Economic forum mentions that just as the other industrial revolutions, the fourth industrial revolution holds a massive potential to raise global income levels as well as improve the quality of life of people across the world.

With the digital revolution encompassing almost all the business sectors, digital products and services are developing at a breakneck speed triggering a rising demand for trained professional software developers and testers.

The lucrative career opportunities in technology are attracting professionals from other non-technical backgrounds to venture into the field of Information technology.

Are you looking to break through the barriers and enter the technical field despite having little or no prior experience?

Do you want a job in Information Technology but do not have a computer science degree?

Are you familiar with a bit of coding but have no idea how to break into this industry?

If it’s a yes, then you are at the right place! Keep reading to find out more!

Based on your interests in software development, there are various roles available, right from being a tester, developer, systems administrator, product manager, business analyst to even being a technical writer or a tech marketer.

The possibilities are endless, but in this blog, we will focus on the roles of junior software developers and junior software testers.

So, what is the demand for a junior software developer and a junior software tester in the current job market?

As reported in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program, the employment opportunities for software developers, software quality assurance and analysts, and software testers are projected to grow by 22% from 2020 through 2030.

The above statistics clearly define the higher demand for software developers and testers compared to all the other occupations in the U.S. economy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections program, the increased use of digital platforms across all business sectors will necessitate the hiring of nearly 189,200 developers, testers, and analysts on an average annually over the next decade.

A quick search on indeed.com for entry-level software developer and software tester jobs in the United States reveals approximately 9000 job opportunities for entry-level software developers and 900 job opportunities for entry-level software testers. It is observed from these job portals that the job market expands as you advance from an entry-level junior to a senior developer or a tester.

Let us begin by discovering who is a developer and a tester.

A developer helps build software based on consumer requirements, and they create this software using several tools such as programming languages, data structures, staging servers, integrated development environments, etc.

The developer writes and maintains the software source code and performs unit testing to ensure the software is structurally sound and is performing well. With unit testing, developers can catch any bugs at the development stage and then send them to the testing stage for subsequent testing cycles.

A tester then applies various use case scenarios to the said software to check if the software performs as intended. Any bugs discovered during this stage are reported back to the developers. The tester tries different approaches to perform the same operations and uses the software just as a regular user would in order to discover any errors, program crashes, or other unexpected results.

Once the tester communicates with the developer regarding the series of actions that led to the error, the developer then changes the software further before shipping them to the consumer.

In short, the developer builds the software whereas the tester ensures that good quality software is delivered, and ultimately both these roles are crucial in the software life cycle.

What are the responsibilities and expectations of a junior software developer?

● Their general role is to assist the development manager with complete software coding and design aspects.

● They must write and maintain codes along with fixing minor bugs

● Monitor the technical performance of the internal systems

● Any requests from the developer team should be responded to immediately.

● Gather consumer information regarding program functionality.

● Write reports and conduct development tests.

A junior software developer is expected to know and understand coding languages, understand how to use version control to make necessary changes and submit them, document these changes, learn how to test the code, and be open to any code reviews from their peers.

They must understand the concept of time management since even a minor lag can postpone the addition of essential features to the software, which can delay the software release. Most importantly, a junior software developer must be enthusiastic and open-minded to continuously learn all the new tools, code languages, technologies to stay ahead in the game, discover the consumer needs, and try their best to satisfy their needs.

What are the responsibilities and expectations of a junior software tester?

● Test software systems for stability by performing regression, platform, integration, and performance tests.

● Communicate with Clients and Stakeholders by presenting demos and answering important product-related queries at the end of every sprint.

● The Report and solve any Bugs, and also use programs like JIRA to track bugs

● Junior quality assurance testers conduct testing by collaborating with Q.A., development, and business groups.

● Junior Q.A. testers generate automation metrics, and they perform extensive research to identify tools that can ultimately increase automation.

A junior-level software tester must know how to use SQL and other database languages since their job entails them to query the databases used by the particular software they are testing and update and modify these databases to prepare data.

Basic knowledge of programming is essential for automation testing positions where they must recognize the tasks to automate and when exactly to execute this automation.

They must be able to write test cases to communicate the test results to the non-testers and elaborate on what exactly needs to be tested. They must be adept at using application life cycle management tools to track the entire progress of application or web development and testing.

Though the hard skills mentioned above are important, we cannot disregard the weight of soft skills and the attribute-based skills that a person brings to the table as a developer or a tester, as these skills can make or break your career and growth as a tech professional.

So, what are the soft skills that a future entry-level software developer must focus on?

A software developer’s job is more than just coding; they are constructing the fabric of their society with their new inventions, whether it’s security software that protects government data or a car software that monitors occupants’ safety, and even minor glitches in these platforms or poorly designed interfaces can have substantial political, social, or ethical ramifications.

Given the complex state of affairs, a software developer must strive to learn and develop a few skills mentioned below.

● They must acquaint themselves with the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice and must be open to learning subjects besides technology such as political, philosophy, sociology, science, ethics, and arts.

● They must have the ability to think and analyze the implications of their work to the society as a whole and be responsible as a developer to design and implement software for the greater good.

● Having good communication skills can help convey your ideas better, and at the same, you must be a good listener too.

● Empathize with the customers and colleagues, allowing you to see what they see and the challenges they face while tackling a particular problem.

● Effectively manage time, people, and projects and stick to schedules to ensure that projects are delivered on time.

● As a developer, you are constantly solving problems, and it helps to develop critical thinking and creativity to fix these problems at hand.

What soft skills must a future entry-level software tester focus on?

Software testers play an important role in delivering quality I.T. projects, and their role does not end with reporting bugs; it is a complicated job that calls for a variety of soft skills.

● They must know to differentiate between what functionality needs to be tested immediately, what can be given lesser priority, the task that must be tested automatically or manually, and so on. Thus, as a software tester, it helps to understand and master priorities.

● You should learn to question everything from customer requirements to the changes done, the bugs fixed, product perspectives in the eyes of different stakeholders, which can be helpful to understand the complete picture of a product.

● Be open to learning since software testing is a constantly developing field with new automation tools, new technologies, etc., that can throw you off the curb if you get stagnant.

● Learn to be innovative; though software testing can be performing a set of routine tasks, think about how software can be used in different ways and generate new ideas to test as it helps you stand out among the crowd that writes just ordinary test results cases.

● Teamwork is especially crucial when communicating with non-testers who do not understand the value of software testing.

● As a tester, you must be highly detail-oriented to catch any and every error that has the potential to turn into a giant bug.

● Since a tester’s job involves having an eye for detail and catching all the different risks, defects, errors, etc., it helps to be disciplined where you will not allow yourself to be easygoing with the product or the software’s quality.

Now we have understood that there is an apparent demand for a developer and a tester job and the roles they play in the software life cycle, your next big question will be how do I get trained for the role as an entry-level software developer or tester??

Are a few months of boot camp enough to land that big break in the tech industry??

Boot camps are the best way to begin learning if you have transitioned from another field or are starting from scratch; with coding boot camps, an aspiring developer or a tester can acquaint themselves with essential job-ready skills that can help them start out as an entry-level professional.

Most of these boot camps are 3 to 6 months courses that fit the work schedules of working professionals, are cheaper than conventional courses, and are highly flexible where you can choose virtual, in-person, or weekend classes to suit your specific needs.

A basic Bootcamp can be a stepping stone to learning to code as a software developer. Still, it is definitely not enough to become a developer since boot camps focus on teaching how to use different tools rather than how web development works with different tools and technologies. There is no focus on teaching basic algorithms or their implementations.

A good coding boot camp must cover most programming languages and data structures but fail to deliver because one, they are challenging to teach, and two, it is next to impossible to cover all these topics in such a short period.

Before starting to learn programming in one of the boot camps, an aspiring developer must first understand that bootcamps are just the first step and involve impeccable commitment, dedication, and hard work to become a developer.

As a tester, these bootcamps can help you break into the field as a junior tester. While testers need a basic understanding of programming languages, it is not entirely necessary to understand the complete workings of software as a beginner.

A tester must possess good communication skills, keen observation, analytical and questioning skills, and express their opinions openly, which will go a long way in refining the software at hand.

Transitioning from a junior software tester to a junior software developer

You are hired as a junior software tester. Still, somewhere you get into the company hoping to make a switch to a software developer, there can be several reasons to it, there might be more exciting technologies to learn in the development field, salary packages might be lucrative, or you just aspired to be a developer, to begin with.

Though the transition is not easy, it’s not impossible. Here is a great life-story example to check on! Let us look at how we can make that transition.

The first step to focus on is to choose the area of development you are interested in; it can be front end, back end, full-stack, machine learning; the list is endless.

Once you have chosen the area, identify the popular technology for the role you are aiming for.

Try to learn these technologies by enrolling in coding bootcamps, self-study, online classes, etc., along with doing projects on the side to gain overall expertise of the chosen technology.

Concentrate on gaining maximum expertise and experience in the technology and then move on to develop problem-solving skills since a considerable part of a developer’s job involves problem-solving and not just writing codes.

Adding to these skills is your inherent skill as a tester that will go a long way to succeed as a developer. Your experience as a tester will mean that you will not be overly defensive of your code, and you will be naturally more open to testing your codes. You will understand the potential risks helping you develop solutions to mitigate these risks.

A developer with testing experience is an asset to the company, making it a win-win situation for both the employee and the company. The employee can reap many benefits from such a transition.

If you are ready to change your career path and are unsure whether to become a junior software developer or a junior software tester or if you are a novice to the tech industry, I hope this blog has provided you with the necessary insights you need to make the right decision!

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