I love to break things – that’s what makes me a great software tester

Published Apr 20, 2023, 7:00 AM
Written by Priti Padmawar

My job as Symbiote’s Quality Assurance analyst, is to try to break things so our developers can fix them to deliver a high quality product.

My job as a software tester is to find anything that’s broken or not quite right

I’m currently part of the Symbiote team testing improvements we’re making to the myki card website used by travellers on Victoria’s public transport system.

We’re making it even easier for people to add credit to their myki card, manage their online accounts and enjoy extra convenient features like setting up favourites for the things they do often.

As a tester, it’s my job to use the website and apps the way a customer would, trying to do the tasks they want to do and finding anything that doesn’t work the way we’d planned. My job is to find anything that’s broken or not quite right, so we can fix it and deliver a high quality, user friendly product.

I step through everything a user would try to do

I work with our business analyst to look at and test each flow that describes what people who use the system should be able to do. For example, if you want to add credit to your MYKI card, you should be able to do this in several ways. It’s my job to step through every possible way you could do this task, and make sure each method works from beginning to end.

Automation is great for routine testing, but human testers look at the entire experience

Accessibility is an important part of our products. We want everyone who uses the system to get the information they need from the website or the app. Part of my accessibility testing uses screen reader technology to read out all the relevant information on a page, so I can test whether users can complete all the required tasks using the site or app that way.

I test for logic, accessibility and usability and also keep a keen eye on the look and feel of the application and complex scenarios such as CAPTCHA and visual testing. 

These kinds of things don’t get picked up by automation testing.

Manual testing allows me to experience every aspect of the product the way a customer would. I pick up things that aren’t possible through automated testing. That said, though, I’m currently updating my automated testing skills, because that method’s essential to quickly test any new releases for a wide range of use cases and making sure each release does everything previous releases could do. There’s a place for both methods.

Testing enables me to be learning constantly

I like variety in my tasks but I also enjoy deep-diving to learn things quickly. It’s very stimulating to multi-task and work on different projects at the same time. Agile development keeps everything interesting. 

As I know how challenging it can be to learn things by yourself, I’d like to eventually move into a team leadership role to help people in this industry to develop their technical skills and get more knowledge quickly. We all learn so much more when we’re teaching others.