Software Testers Remote Working

How to thrive in a remote software testing role

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Recent statistics have found that 86% of software engineers are working remotely. It is one of the industries where remote working has become the norm, with one in three wanting to work remotely 100% of the time and 80% of those surveyed wanting a hybrid approach.

While remote working offers numerous benefits to software testers, it also presents unique challenges. These can include difficulties in idea-sharing, collaboration, and cross-functional working. To help you navigate these challenges, here are some industry-backed tips on thriving in a remote software role.

The role of a remote software tester

Software testing is a pivotal phase in software development, where the software is meticulously evaluated to identify defects and ensure it aligns with the specified requirements. As a remote software tester, you play a crucial role in this process, executing these tasks from a non-centralised location, often your home.

This setup demands high self-motivation, excellent communication skills, and a robust technical setup.

Key responsibilities

Test planning and design: Developing test plans and designing tests to identify bugs in software applications

Execution of test cases: Running tests manually or using automated tools to ensure the software behaves as expected

Bug reporting: Documenting bugs and errors found during testing

Collaboration: Working closely with development teams to discuss and rectify issues

Top tips for thriving in a remote software testing role

Ergonomic and efficient workspace

Creating a dedicated workspace is crucial. Invest in a good quality chair and desk, and ensure you have a reliable internet connection. Consider ergonomic tools like adjustable stands for laptops, ergonomic keyboards, and adequate lighting to reduce eye strain and physical discomfort.

Technical workspace requirements

Ensure you have the necessary hardware and software to perform your duties efficiently. This includes a powerful computer, necessary software licenses, and access to secure servers. Using virtual private networks (VPNs) and maintaining robust security software are essential to protect sensitive data.

Staying updated with the latest tools

Continuous learning is vital in the tech industry. Keep abreast of the latest testing tools and technologies, such as Selenium, TestComplete, or JIRA. Online courses, webinars, and certifications can help you stay competitive and proficient.

Mastering remote communication

Mastering digital communication tools like Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams is essential for remote workers. These tools help maintain clear and continuous communication with your team. Understanding how to use these tools effectively can significantly enhance your collaborative efforts.

Structuring the remote day

One of the biggest challenges of remote work is managing your time effectively. To maintain productivity, it’s helpful to structure your day with clear tasks and breaks. Use tools like Google Calendar or Trello to keep track of your tasks and deadlines.

Avoiding burnout

Remote work can blur the lines between personal and professional life. Setting boundaries and allocating time for breaks and personal activities is important. This helps maintain work-life balance and prevents burnout.

Building a strong remote software testing culture

In addition to considering what individuals can do to thrive in a remote software role, it is also important to consider what the organisation can provide to create solid foundations for an effective remote working culture.

Regular check-ins

Regular updates and check-ins can help you and your team stay aligned on goals and progress. Collaboration is a significant part of software testing, so creating this regularity is essential for progress. This is also crucial for building rapport and maintaining a sense of team cohesion.

Tied into the theme of regular check-ins is the careful balance between checking in and offering flexibility. Software testers may need to focus long hours on a particular challenge while running a test in the background, which may require a less intensive approach. With this in mind, it can be important to provide software testers with the autonomy to manage their own schedule, while check-ins should be supportive rather than surveillance.

Creating an inclusive environment

Promoting an inclusive culture through virtual team-building activities and open communication channels can enhance team spirit and support. It’s also important to consider how the organisation is committed to psychological safety and that team members can feel safe voicing their ideas and opinions.

In a remote software testing culture, employees can feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas when they are met with silence in the group chat or unresponded emails. Creating a safe culture of remote communication means adopting a blameless culture where ideas are celebrated and it feels safe and welcoming to voice differing opinions.

Networking and professional development

Participate in online forums, attend virtual conferences, and connect with professionals through platforms like LinkedIn. These activities can help you expand your network and find career advancement opportunities in a remote setting.

Some professionals report feeling overlooked for roles when working entirely remotely, as there aren’t the coffee-break conversations that build relationships. However, regular tech talks or lunch-and-learn sessions can help build these relationships and encourage remote networking.

Seeking feedback and mentorship

Constructive feedback is invaluable for professional growth. Seek regular feedback from your peers and supervisors, and consider finding a mentor who can guide you in your career. Organisations can help this by implementing a culture of feedback, such as offering 360 performance reviews, peer feedback processes and regular organisation-wide surveys.

Mentorship can also be an attractive benefit for software testers, and organisations can help deliver this with an active mentorship programme, a cross-developer mentoring programme or inviting external experts to give talks and provide workplace mentoring and coaching.

Training and development

Finally, training and development can provide the skills for growth and promote a learning culture. TSG Training offers training for remote software testers via fully remote eLearning or virtual classroom learning. If you want to bring the team together, we also provide bespoke training for organisations, where our trainers can deliver in-house training to your teams.

Discover our training and qualifications for software testers here.

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