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As a tester, I try to analyze things, think logically, look for clarity and create new ideas. What one skill is the greatest and most effective for an expert software Tester. Skill that is the secret of great testers? I want to become the top tester and most skillful in my career.

Also, please suggest some good testing books, material and audio programs/books which great testers read that can take me to the next level? Manual or automated testing? It dosen't matter!

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Diplomacy

The ability to tell someone they are wrong without them realizing it. You likely will have to do this in all phases and to most of the people involved on the project on a regular basis.

Communication

Being able to thoroughly explain your position while telling someone they are wrong. This encompasses both verbal and written.

Forward Thinking

Being able to see that someone is wrong before they show you that they are wrong. This is important with requirements and test planning. Being able to predict where the requirements are wrong and where the developers have weaknesses will help you.

Ability to analyze a situation

Sometimes you need to know how badly they were wrong. There is varying levels of being wrong, and we get to tell them how wrong they were.

Creativity

Finding new ways to find flaws quicker, faster, better. Also the ability to do some of the things that end users do is well, amazing. But that's how you find where people were wrong so, it's a part of the job.

Ability to adapt

Being able to overcome obstacles and blockers is huge. A good QA will not stop testing because someone was wrong with one part, instead they will adapt and try to find other places where someone was wrong. And sadly, the more you find where people were wrong the more likely you are to be moved around.

Slightly psychotic/mentally unstable

Because our end users likely are. This one is kind of a joke but I do consider it to be a great quality in QA. Having QA that are able to assume the role of your users is beneficial. The stages for me are as follows.

  1. Normal User
  2. Child
  3. Grandparent
  4. Criminal

Normal user is happy path, Child operates randomly, Grandparent is going to click on everything and Criminal is going to try and see what they can get out of it. If those 4 users works well chances are your users will be happy.

Disclaimer:

The terminology used is in fun. I do not consider people to be wrong because they made a mistake. I like to have fun at my job and part of it is talking about how horrible of a person I am for always searching for and pointing out my friends (developers) flaws.

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Most important skills which a good software tester must possess can be:

Out of the Box thinkers: A good software tester should be able to create multiple what if scenarios. S/He should be able to put him/herself in customer’s shoes and apply all the scenarios in the workflow of the application.

Excellent Communication Skills: To be able to communicate the issue to the development team is the most important job of the tester. Hence every tester must possess excellent communication skill (Oral and Written both) in order to communicate the issues faced by him/her in the most effective and efficient manner.

Quick Learner: This is last and most important quality that a tester must have is the ability to adapt and learn quickly.

Analytical: A Tester usually comes across situations where he goes fully blank & needs to decipher as to what is to be tested. In most of the cases, testers will not find proper documentation or specifications which could be a start point for them; hence he needs to use his analytical skills to decipher the requirements as to what is to be tested. A good tester is the one, who under such circumstances tries to find out the facts to ascertain as to what needs to be tested. His good communication skills become quite helpful in such situations.

Also a tester should have

Good technical skills like some qualification in IT or some good testing training.

A background of software development(if wants to go for automation).

Skill of SQL so that he can write queries and do some background testing without having to wait for someone else to do it for him.

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