Software Tester Skills: Definition And Examples

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 February 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A software tester verifies a system or a service to ensure it is fully operational before it reaches customers. A career in this field often requires accumulating demonstrable hard and soft skills. These skills can help you present yourself as a preferred candidate for your next interview. In this article, we discuss what software tester skills are, provide examples of the skills and guide you on how to develop them and present them at your job or during an application.

What Are Software Tester Skills?

Software tester skills are abilities and characteristics that, as a software tester, you may require to succeed at the job and grow your career. A software testing job involves testing the working of a software system or a service before the company releases it to the end-user. To succeed in the field of software testing, you may require a combination of hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are the technical skills that help you find defects in a system. Soft skills are those that help you perform your tasks efficiently and add value to the organisation. Some examples of hard skills for a software tester include knowledge about document preparation, database, test preparation, Linux commands, testing procedures, automation tools and issue tracking. Soft skills include analytical reasoning, communication, business awareness and organisation.

Related: How To Become A Software Tester: A Step-By-Step Guide

Examples Of Software Tester Skills

Here are some examples of skills that software testers can develop to progress efficiently on this career path:

Document preparation

As a software tester, a part of your job is to document events for the testing process. The organisation may use specific templates or ask you to create templates for documenting issues and testing methodologies. Proper documentation allows the organisation to standardise the debugging process and communicate it across teams.

Database knowledge

Most software organisations use databases, such as MySQL or DB2, to store vast amounts of information. As a software tester, your job can include verifying data from these databases. To do so, you often require knowledge of running database queries.

Test preparation

One key aspect of the job is preparing for the tests. Preparation usually requires specific skills, such as creating a testing plan, developing test scenarios and detailing test cases. Experience as a software tester is crucial for developing this skill.

Related: 40 Manual Testing Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Linux commands

Many software applications use Linux systems for deployment. Examples include web services, databases and application servers. Testing these products and services often requires the knowledge of basic Linux commands.

Knowledge of testing procedures

Software testing typically requires understanding the process behind identifying and removing system issues. The organisation may expect you to design a testing scenario based on the team's budget, allotted time, customer priorities and the type of application. Knowing the different software testing models, such as the waterfall, agile, V and spiral can help effectively design testing procedures.

Knowledge of automation tools

Software testing is of two types, manual testing and automation testing. If you are a manual tester looking to upgrade to an automated tester, learning automation tools can help you excel. Some automation testing tools include ACCELQ, TestComplete, Virtuoso and testRigor.

Related: Automation Tester Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Issue tracking and reporting

Identifying issues is one of the essential tasks of a software tester. This process includes constantly monitoring and reporting defects. One way to do this is to create intelligible reports and use tracking tools. Consistent issue tracking often helps the entire team understand the testing process and its results.

Analytical reasoning

As a software tester, your job can involve working with inconsistent data from different software development stages. Sometimes the reports from the other teams may help you understand where and how to start the testing process. In other cases, you may need analytical reasoning skills to create an organised test plan.


Talking to people from other teams, such as developers and support engineers can be part of your job as a software tester. This makes verbal communication skills important in this job profile. Teams across the organisation also typically expect that the test case documentation is easy to read and this means written communication skills also are important.

Business awareness

Although a software tester's job is mostly technical, the organisation can expect you to have a general awareness of business processes. This is because organisations often function differently, and their priorities may vary. If you understand the company's priorities well, you can align test cases to the company's goals.

Organisation skills

As a software tester, you may often work to meet tight deadlines. This is because companies develop software in specific cycles, and as the release date approaches, issue testing becomes a priority. The management may expect you to work more efficiently with faster turnarounds during this time, which requires organisation skills.

How To Improve Skills Of A Software Tester

You can learn the basics of technical skills by attending a professional course, such as a Bachelor's degree or a Diploma in Computer Science. Development of both hard and soft skills often occurs on the job. Here are a few tips that can help you develop the skills:

1. Take a professional course

You can develop many of the technical skills for software testing by joining a professional course. They help you learn specific tools such as JIRA and Selenium that companies use extensively for software testing. Some institutes also offer live projects where you can get direct experience. You can also opt for company placements at some of these institutes.

2. Communicate with seniors

This method can help develop both hard and soft skills, especially if you join a company as a fresher. It helps to communicate openly with senior testers to learn how they perform daily tasks at work. You can consistently ask for feedback on your tasks and incorporate their suggestions to develop your skills further.

3. Participate in events

You can participate in software and technology events outside of the organisation to stay updated on advances in tools and techniques. Within the company, you can try to attend organisational meetings to help align your work with the company's goals. This can also help to improve your industry knowledge.

4. Expand your skills

To grow as a software tester, you can try to learn more than what your job requires. This means attending external courses and training on programming languages, databases and operating systems. These skills can help you identify defects more easily and also improve communication with other teams.

Software Tester Skills In The Workplace

Knowing how to apply the skills you acquired as a software tester can further help you grow in your career. Here are a few tips to present and develop these skills in the workplace:

  • Being proactive: You can showcase the technical skills for software testing through proactivity. This means you can take up additional projects that require your skillset. You can also talk to your teammates to check if you can help with their existing software testing tasks.

  • Supporting laterally: A software tester's job encompasses locating defects in a system and documenting them. You can extend it further by supporting other teams in finding fixes to the defects. This can be a way to present technical skills that you acquired in addition to testing skills, such as database and programming knowledge.

  • Talking to customers: You can volunteer to join client conversations even if it is not part of your profile. This has two benefits. Firstly, you can present and develop soft skills such as communication and interpersonal skills. Secondly, you can present your hard skills to the customer, who can mentor you and improve your software testing knowledge.

Related: How Much Does A Software Tester Make? (With Duties and Skills)

How To Highlight Skills Of A Software Tester

Highlighting your testing skills during a job application can give your candidature a distinct advantage. Here are ways to present these skills:

1. Include your software tester skills in your resume and cover letter

On your resume, it can be helpful to list your technical skills first under the skills section. You can include some of your soft skills in this section, too or present them in a bullet point with an example when describing your experience. For example, if you wish to highlight your communication skills, you can have a final bullet point under a work experience section that says: Extensively collaborated with the development team to identify issues and provide resolutions.

Your cover letter can contain further examples or instances from your past jobs where you extensively applied both technical and soft skills. Here is an example: When I was working at Hemingtech Inc. as a senior software tester, I supervised communicating daily reports to the client and the development team and shared test documentation created with the help of my years of experience with Bugzilla.

2. Discuss your skills in an interview

An interview for a software testing job may include written and oral tests to help you present your technical skills. Preparing well on testing tools, databases and operating systems such as Linux can help you make a good impression on these tests. At a later stage of a job interview, you may get an opportunity to showcase your expert communication and interpersonal skills through your interaction with the interviewer.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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