The main skill that you need for a job in QA is self-learning ability. Often candidates tell how they want to immerse themselves in the specifics of mobile testing or automation or want to become a Team Leader while the evil and insidious employer does not allow them to do this. Therefore, they are looking for a job where they can prove themselves, and expects that like in The Wizard of Oz, they will be taken by hand along the yellow brick road and guided into the world of new knowledge and competencies.
I want a person to be interested in their self-learning. Of course, employers provide opportunities for growth within the company: conferences, meetups, attending specialized events, training budgets, etc. However, the person must also take step steps to move forward: a pet project on automation, a link to Github, could be tests based on YouTube videos or Udemy courses. This already shows that the worker is not standing still, but moving towards the outlined goal and doesn’t expect a miracle.
Secondly, the person must radiate confidence. Sometimes on the interview you meet candidates and ask them to tell about what http methods they know. In an uncertain voice, they say: “get, post, uh … patch, put … delete … options …”. You ask what is the difference between get and post, and in response, you get: “Well, I’m not sure … I think one gets, the other creates an object or something like that …”. If you can see that a person gives the correct answers during an interview, but does it very insecurely, in real work they will be eaten alive.
There is a trend that is gaining momentum in product teams: you have got a dedicated tester, and they are the only and most competent QA in the team. If during planning they talk in the same manner: “Oh, well, I don’t know, maybe it’s not worth taking, I might not be in time” – it will not work. A person must radiate confidence: this character trait will not let bugs in “good enough” QA must convince colleagues, give arguments that this should not be done.
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One more important quality is being self-sufficient at work. It’s more and more common that in product teams QA engineers work alone or in pairs. The service model has a large testing department, there are team leaders so you can hide in a corner and sit tight because the problems will be solved by a leading engineer, team leader, or group leader. In a product model, this is not going to happen. More and more companies adopt a similar approach. Therefore, you need to improve your confidence and self-sufficiency.
And hence – an initiative. You need to level it up, do not be afraid to express an opinion or highlight problems. Maybe ask to add a new status? Maybe start doing a code review? Resistance and light constructive opposition. For all this, of course, there must be an initiative. But anyway, having just soft skills won’t get you far, there must be a technical background underneath. An experienced interviewer will quickly notice if a person can only reason.