4

Context: As been involved in QA hiring positions from last couple of years in different companies, I have been seeing the trend as QA is getting more and more technical.Now it is reaching to a point where line is getting blurred between QA & Developer in teams working on cutting edge technologies.On the other hand communication has always been and will be important for QA in fact for any position in the agile teams.

I have always observed a strong co-relation between communication & technical skills. In general candidates with higher technical skills are not super communicators and on the other hand excellent communicators are generally not very good technically.Although exceptions always exist but they are few and nobody doubts hiring them!

Dilemma :A lot of times been in dilemma situations where between two candidates it becomes hard to choose where one is excellent communicator vs. other is technically superb but not vice versa.

Question: How to take a call when get into these difficult situations of selecting QA candidates where one is excellent in communications and other is technically expert?

  • 1
    A reminder to close voters to ensure you've considered Good Subjective, Bad Subjective before closing as primarily opinion based. – corsiKa Apr 16 at 1:22
  • Not so much about 'opinion based' but the question seems fairly clearly to be "it depends on what you want, based on what your company needs" no? – Michael Durrant Apr 16 at 11:13
  • The fact I can't either "answer" or pick the 'right answer' is fairly telling to me – Michael Durrant Apr 16 at 11:13
  • Much as I respect Vishal who has made great contributions here in other questions and answers – Michael Durrant Apr 16 at 11:14
  • Michael thanks for the comments.I respect you as senior in this forum.Please feel free to suggest modification to make it useful for all. – Vishal Aggarwal Apr 16 at 21:18
3

It depends, mainly on the current skill gaps of the team. I would map them, before you make an decision. You could try the Agile Skills Project as it covers all needed skills for a software engineering team.

Technical skills are becoming more important for Testers. I believe we can teach technical skills to everyone who is smart, but not everyone enjoys them. So you want to hire people who like programming, scripting and or dev-ops like work. If your testers need to convince developers to do more test-automation they need the tech-skills for credibility as well.

Communication skills are important in any cross-functional team. I agree they are harder to train, so having a bit of talent here might help.

User-centric skills I do think a third skill is more important. A more high level overview skill. Understanding the domain and how combined features benefit the stakeholders. Bringing a user-centric mindset versus the building mindset of the other engineers in the team.

Personality: We also tend to take personality categories into account. Teams with a lot of different personalities tend to be more successful than teams with a lot of the same type people. We use the short 16personalities test during inteviews. This is not a hard requirement, but it influences our hiring decisions.

  • +1 for user centric skills to add a third dimension to the role. – Vishal Aggarwal Apr 16 at 0:45
3

In my point of view, the communication skill is more important than technical skills, if a person has a lot of technical knowledge but does not know how to express or communicate with others is merely waste. Because he doesn't know how to express his thoughts or how to enable others to understand his thoughts and the person who has communication skills can able to express his thoughts and make others understand he can gain technical skill later, it´s not a big deal for that person.

3

It depends who you are looking for, what skills your team needs. In my experience soft skills are much harder to learn then technical skills. Especially if you start to learn those later in your career. One of prominent example Linus Torvalds.

I always choose people who are willing to learn new things(I test it) and who know difference between good and bad. Basically it is about mindset and ethics. If candidate covers those two requirements, I hire even if person has no work experience. Important: do not mix promises with potential.

  • 1
    How do you verify if the candidate knows a difference between good and bad? – dzieciou Apr 14 at 16:42
  • 2
    @dzieciou basically it is about personal ethics, things you learn as a child in your family. How you test it - everyone has own ways. I "read" a lot during an interview - how candidate greets everyone, how introduces with her-/himself, how answers to questions, how reacts on challenges etc. – kriscorbus Apr 14 at 16:58
  • +1 for "soft skills are much harder to learn then technical skills." – Nitin Rastogi Apr 14 at 17:12
  • 1
    Do you really consider technical skills as quick fix?I remember hiring a guy who convinced from his comm. Skills that he would learn the technical skills in no time. Eventually after 3 years company had to fire him as he still couldn't learn the required technical skills and was not adding 'promised' value to the team. – Vishal Aggarwal Apr 14 at 20:38
  • hi @VishalAggarwal I believe, if a bear can learn to ride a bicycle, then a human has no limits. if she/he WANTS to learn. I give tasks to everyone who I interview to test how exactly person approach problems. I do not hire based on promises. – kriscorbus Apr 14 at 20:51
1

Actually it depends on the roles and responsibilities of the post you are hiring for.

However, if a person is passionate, dedicated and quick learner, he will improve on the area in which he lacks(technical or communication).

But you also have to keep in mind that any of the above skills will take some amount of time, so if it is feasible then you can make decision accordingly.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.