It’s a general perception that manual testing is not a challenging and tough job. Anyone can become a manual tester, I don’t agree! Automation testing can never replace Manual Testing. Manual Testing is an un-paralleled activity in software development life cycle.
With my exposure to this field let me put down some characteristics which I feel a manual Tester must have:
Focus: When an application is given to a tester, it happens quite often that he will slip from one feature to another before completely testing one. So a manual tester should be focussed and shouldn’t get drifted easily.
Analyzing Skills: A tester need not be an analyst but should possess some analysis skills. He should be good at analysing the application behaviour. Apart from the application, a manual tester needs to analyze the failures/errors and impact of the failure on the system. He also needs to analyse the features before testing and come up with varied set of data required to test.
Prioritizing: A good manual tester should be proficient in the art of prioritizing. He should know which features to test first and which to test later. Which bugs needs to be fixed first and which can be de-prioritized or fixed later? Also he should be proficient in prioritizing the test cases to be executed.
Diversified Testing Style: A good manual tester should have a right mix of test cases while testing the application. “Right Mix” depends on the project requirement. One should not always ‘test to fail’. Manual tester should focus on testing the functionality first rather than jumping on to he negative test cases to break the system. A good manual tester should have a diversified testing style.
Self Motivation: Sometime Manual testing job becomes repetitive. One see the same application i.e. same UI, same features for over a long period of time. So one is bound to get bored over a period of time. But a good manual tester needs to stay focussed and keep improving on his/her testing capability.
There are many more skills which a manual tester should possess in addition to the above mentioned items. I will try cover the rest in my next article.
Disclaimer: The above mentioned skills are solely based on my experience of manual testing.