Software Tester Skill Matrix with Levels

  • I would like to know if there's a standard Skill set for Skill Matrix for a Software Tester of different levels, like for example, what are the skills needed for an Entry level tester as well as what technologies and responsibilities he needs. And for the Mid Level tester and Senior Level as well.

    Note that I am working in a company who designs and develops websites.

  • There is no standard anything in testing.

    In very broad terms, all testers need to be observant and good communicators. Outside that, it depends.

    First, there are several broad fields of testing, including:

    • security testing
    • manual testing
    • performance testing
    • automated testing

    Expertise in one area is no guarantee of expertise in another.

    Second, there are multiple business domains where testing is needed, including:

    • games
    • medical software
    • storefront software
    • ticketing software
    • payroll management software

    Many organizations, particularly those in highly regulated areas, prefer to hire someone with no testing experience but a strong business domain experience.

    Then there's the different skill-set focuses that are demanded by different software life cycles and development methodologies:

    • testers in an agile environment usually need to be more flexible and contextual than testers in a waterfall environment
    • testers in a waterfall environment with a well-understood, mature product may be expected to follow detailed test scripts

    That said, some of the more common duties I've seen listed for the different levels include:

    • Entry level/Junior - following someone else's test plan or test charter; some experience with automation may be preferred but usually isn't required; independence and the ability to work without constant direction is usually preferred.
    • Mid level/Intermediate - writing and/or defining test plans and charters is pretty common; following your own plans or someone else's; automation experience can be required at this level, but not always; independence and self-directed is always preferable; mentorship of junior testers may be preferred.
    • High level/Senior - often writing/defining test plans and charters for large, complex projects; experience with automation is pretty common in job postings at this level; mentoring less experienced testers is another very common one; leading project test teams starts to show up at this level; building and maintaining automation frameworks and test tools can be involved.
    • Lead - test lead job postings usually start hitting the lower-level management skill-sets, like mentoring, managing work allocations, training, setting the team direction and so forth.
    • Manager - will cover everything from the lead list, plus hire/fire responsibilities (which requires having interviewing skills, being able to evaluate someone's performance, and so forth).

    In my experience, security and performance testing have separate skill-set listings and are usually defined separately because of the specialized knowledge and skills involved.

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