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Why are QAs always sceptical? Is it a good thing?

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Why are QAs always sceptical? And who is a sceptic? A sceptic, therefore, has high standards for what they believe to be true—they don’t just listen to anything anyone says as gospel. That’s why it’s important that a good quality assurance job demands impartiality and independence in their work: they’re more likely to identify bugs and provide constructive criticism when their freedom from personal bias allows them to do so.

A good QA is sceptical and critical. A bad QA is a cynic, not a sceptic.

The word sceptic comes from the ancient Greek word “skeptikos.” It refers to someone who doubts or questions the truth of an idea, opinion, or statement until it can be proven true (or false).

Why are QAs always sceptical?

QAs should be sceptical because they’re the ones who have to find the bugs before they cause problems in the product, and they have to do it when there’s not enough time or resources to find them before those problems occur.

But there’s an important difference between being critical and being cynical. Criticism helps you improve or change what you’re doing, but cynicism is just destructive—it suggests that all your efforts are useless, so why bother?

The goal of QA is to make sure software works as expected, so you don’t want someone who is dismissive of bugs as merely “annoyances” that can be ignored.

The true sceptic demands proof and validation.

As should be sceptical, ask questions, and check things over and over again for accuracy until it’s confirmed to be true. But QAs should never forget that the real purpose of their job is to help the product succeed—not just to find bugs, but to find them before they cause problems. Even if there are no time constraints in your particular situation, you’ll do a better job if you have someone who’s critical (but not cynical) looking over your work as you do it.

What does this mean for a good QA?

You can’t be critical all the time, or you’ll end up with a product where everything’s been done right, and there’s nothing wrong with it. You need to bring your critical thinking skills to the job when they’re necessary while remembering that they’re not valuable unless they help you make the product better.

In traditional software development, bug fixing is one of the most important activities. A bug is any unexpected behaviour in the software caused by something missed in design or implementation. A feature is any behaviour that should be consistent across all users of your application (for example, how many different ways can your application delete a file).

Conclusion

The goal of QA is to make sure software works as expected, so you don’t want someone who is dismissive of bugs as merely “annoyances” that can be ignored.

You can’t be critical all the time, or you’ll end up with a product where everything’s been done right and there’s nothing wrong with it. You need to bring your critical thinking skills to the job when they’re necessary while remembering that they’re not valuable unless they help you make the product better.

Read more about common automation testing challenges here.

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