Usually, dev teams are looking only for savvy testers with a number of companies behind their back, as well as, a bunch of released projects, so they could not only keep up with the pace of the project but also facilitate its deliverables. Come to think of it, they do not even consider a chance of onboarding junior QAs, since, in their opinion, junior QAs are incapable of contributing core values to the team, and besides, it takes quite a while for them to get through all sorts of explanations and demos on tackling the specific tasks from the teammates. Though relying on our own experience, this is not necessarily the case, and we’re going to show that few experience may also be a feature, not a flaw. So, we’d like to run a seemingly outrageous experiment: put on a scale Senior and Junior QA engineer’s soft and tech skills, and see who will ultimately turn a scale down in his favour.
So far, it’s quite common for everyone in the IT industry to crave specifically senior QA engineers with 3-5 years of experience, a tremendous timesheet spent on manual testing, as well as a basic knowledge of SEO and API testing, and an automation background to go with it. Frankly, it’s not necessarily required for each project to have specifically senior QA engineer(s) on board. Firstly, you must thoroughly consider the project details and workflow of the team to define what level of proficiency will be the most compatible with an ongoing project. For instance, automation is quite a confusing and controversial thing in the scope of eCommerce, due to an unstable staging environment and excessive overloading as a result of customisations. In some cases, manual testing covers end-to-end flow even more efficiently than developed automation scripts. Overall, eCommerce project mainly requires manual functional testing. The accent should be done, mostly, on negative cases and optimisation across the plugins/modules installed which junior QA can easily handle, even though, some guidance from the team definitely remains mandatory. In case you’re loaded for the long run and do not mind nurturing your own QA professional, it may be reasonable to reconsider a junior QA engineer as a valuable asset for your project. After all, it may be by far more cost-effective compared to the senior QA engineer’s hourly pay rate. Also, it won’t take much time to get across basic platform features like Magento or Shopify and get down to work.
In our opinion, this has everything to do with a junior QA engineer. Perseverance and diligence appear to be the strongest qualities of a QA engineer at the beginning of his professional path. A voracious desire to embrace new tools, as well as a willingness to absorb all field-related information, makes a junior QA engineer a genuinely meticulous worker. This is exactly the case when having limited work experience enables junior QAs to take a significant advantage over their more experienced counterparts. Being unable to see the whole picture and just testing a part of functionality instead, junior QAs may detect some curious things (from their perspective) that may even reveal some gaps in projects requirements, as well as the system flaws which were on the surface, though, had been overlooked by tech specialists. Junior QAs don’t treat what they do as work, it’s much more about playing around with various apps and websites in order to catch all those troublesome bugs. Once they found a bug, they would proudly present it to the team and get credit for being highly motivated and driven. However, this feeling fades away with time, and an exciting play turns into uninspiring routing, where senior QAs know what to expect at each stage of task execution.
There is no doubt that responsibility is a strong suit of a senior QA engineer. When it comes to facing ongoing concerns and taking responsibility for the project, senior QAs are rather assertive and can take charge of whatever possible outcomes, whereas junior QAs mostly get numb in the face of uncertainty, or try to secure themselves by getting a good deal of additional approvals from project managers. Note to self: make sure that the onboarded junior QA is aware of all the task details, and show him the ropes to ensure he clearly understands the business flow. Try to be patient and let it go naturally, juniors are going to tackle this fear of responsibility by degrees.
A fresh view is a sore point for seniors and another strong suit of junior QA engineers. Having fewer projects behind their back, their vision remains fresh and enables them to see the project through the end-user perspective, and, in turn, generate something revolutionary and brand new. More experienced engineers might also contribute some features they have bumped into while working on previous projects, though, they are more likely to come up with an already known solution, rather than any breakthrough.
Force Majeure handling
This is, undeniably, a senior QA engineer’s thing. Their wealth of experience empowers them to define the most critical things among the basic stuff, and in turn, avoid getting behind the schedule or even breaking the deadlines by paying too much attention to the UAT, and not noticing the urgent things, though. Due to a lack of experience, juniors may easily get stuck on UI fixes rather than focusing on vital functionality.
Considering all this above, we may draw a conclusion that the teamwork of Junior and Senior QA engineers would be the most beneficial solution for running a project. Since both of them have their own benefits and drawbacks, only a joint work of Senior and Junior ‘in the same harness’ can truly balance the scales, and turn out to be an utterly win-win situation. Come to think of it, you won’t get such an output even from a team of all seniors. Senior QAs are equipped with a variety of tech skills and handy tools, they can set priorities, cope with deadline pressure, they can find the guts to take responsibility, and can ensure relevant work allocation across the QA team. However, Junior QA engineers will be irreplaceable testing resources, passionate about their work, fostering the company values, and growing professionally each and every day.
And the last one, we hope this will exemplify the crucial difference in Juniors’ and Seniors’ approach: While junior strives hard to find a bug, senior mostly counts on bugless software.