The role of a tester is not just being an inspector or identifying problems in the system. Within the overall software development process, the contribution of a tester is far more comprehensive than that. What kind of testers can we be described as T-shaped, and what can they bring to the condition? T-shaped testers can be defined as those who possess multiple skills and also utilize them across other domains. The vertical bar, which we see on the T, indicates the depth of knowledge, and the horizontal bar indicates the breadth of knowledge. For example, let’s say with the core strength of all the testers being functional testing, all these people can also be great technical writers, scrum masters, or product owners. All these are some of the additional skills tests that could be possible.
T-shaped skillset in software testing
Although there was a need for I-shaped testers in previous decades, T-shape software testers today have an expanded opportunity to adapt them to the evolving world for those with a profound experience of one specialty and overall knowledge. The T-shaped tester can be presented as a team member in an agile environment whose primary skill is testing and learning other tasks, such as the programming or market analysis fields.
For example, Google is responsible for tracking and coordinating the testing activities of other team members. A professional with primary research experience is responsible for monitoring and performing testing efforts (usually developers).
So we can aim for the abilities that can theoretically raise our profile in comparison to t-shaped or μ-shaped. For a Software Tester, good options would be:
- Testing of niche: efficiency, usability, penetration, etc.
- Such specialties in software development: analysis, programming, project management, system engineering, scientific writing, and so forth.
- Domain Knowledge: Dental, Insurance, Finance, IoT, etc.
- Other outside disciplines: Psychology, Teaching, Public Speaking, Copywriting, etc.
Soft skills are another different field to be developed. They positively impact personal productivity, management, and cooperation and are appreciated almost everywhere, regardless of sector, mission, or technique.
In the case of T- or α-shaped, the proportions between ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ dimensions of this skill set should also be understood. In each family of skills, the need could vary based on the setting. Many that have very profound and limited experience in the sector will become over-qualified because employers prefer not to pay for their qualifications.
The characteristics of a T-shaped software tester
The T-shaped software tester qualities are not very different from those of a regular tester, but below given are the three top characteristics that can explain the differentiation.
A tester can be helped by working on a specific component or a particular type of testing for developing their expertise. Whatever be the subject, expertise will always be the first thing in demand, but at the same time, the capacity to adapt is also a highly valued T-shaped tester attribute. Adaptability can be defined as working outside your primary specialization or on different words scheduled. A versatile person will always be the first to come to mind for the feeling of any gaps in a team.
A good communicator
Suppose a tester is being good at all the testing levels, it processes the cross-functional knowledge, it is flexible but not an excellent communicator. At times, all these skills are poorly utilized because they do not communicate well enough with the team. In this context, an excellent communicator not just indicates someone’s ability to write a proper email.
Still, it also includes their overall relationship being built with the team, their ability to adapt to different cultures, and their ability to communicate and convince others of their opinion properly. Therefore, being good at communication is one of the desired features for a t-shaped tester.
Results are driven out by motivation. A motivated tester would never leave a task incomplete, even if they have to be digging deep to finish the job or go out of their way to achieve their target. Thus, upgrading ourselves to become a t-shaped tester involves a lot of motivation for performing any job role given to us. A tester might be required to complete the testing on a module they are an expert at, or sometimes we might need them for just observing and supporting a module where they lack knowledge. Both the job roles would require the same level of motivation for bringing the task to closure.
How can we develop ourselves into a T-Shaped Tester?
Following are the points:
Testing our talents
The first move for deciding how close a T-Shaped software tester is to evaluate our skills and concerns carefully. A streamlined person focusing on only one test area could not be considered a T-shaped measuring unit.
Boosting our ability
We will become more conscious of our abilities, shortcomings, and desires by the conclusion of this test so that the next move is to develop our skills. It implies room for learning and development to properly understand the outcomes in places where we have classified ourselves as beginner or intermediate. We are now at the advanced stage in places that we feel, seeing if we can use our expertise to support our job. When we answer questions 6 to 9, other realms to which we are inclined are identified, and these interests will add to the horizontal bar of our T-shaped abilities.
Many testers, if not all, are adaptable. Some have the skills for serving as testers, but they don’t get the opportunity to prove themselves. If we feel the same, it’s time to speak to our team and talk to them about it. The T-Shaped concept is for people who are not pleased with the core abilities, who want to extend their horizons and make better use of their abilities.