Primarily, the main role of a quality assurance tester is to assess the software for quality purpose and to find out any problems with the software and report those defects. This is the primary responsibility but depending on the support required by the team and the organization, for whom the QA expert is working, there may be certain other responsibilities. However, one thing to keep in mind is that QA testers working in smaller teams usually have number of responsibilities, because there is no one else to take care of those things. On the other hand, testers working in bigger teams may have lesser responsibilities because there are sufficient people in the team and different responsibilities are allocated to different people in the bigger team. Other responsibilities of the QA tester shall include the following:
Analyse the requirements: The first role or responsibility of a QA tester is to analyse the requirements, which may be available in the requirement documentation, and make sure that he or she understands all the requirements mentioned in those documentations/guides. Analysing the requirements would mean reading the requirements with a critical point of view in order to fully comprehend them. It is quite possible to find out certain problems with the requirements, for example, there may be two requirements which are conflicting with one another or it is possible that a particular requirement is not testable. Hence it is the responsibility of the tester should bring all the problems with the requirements, to the knowledge of the concerned business people, so that the requirements can be corrected.
Explore the system: the second responsibility of the QA tester is to explore the system that he or she is going to be testing. This means getting comfortable with the system.
If there is a previous version of the system available, install it.
If it is a website, navigate to the website, login to the system, and do certain tasks in order to become familiar with what is already there.
Explore not only the system but also the related software.
If the system uses a relational database, the QA tester should also log into the database to see what are the different tables views and what stored procedures are there in the database.
If the software uses certain built-in libraries, explore those software libraries too.
Understand the project plan and test plan: The next responsibility of a QA tester is to understand the project plan. Because the tester would be working in a team and the team shall consist of many different roles including developers, business analysts, testers, technical writers etc. therefore, the tester should be aware of the different testing related activities and their schedules in the project plan. Sometimes, development teams also have a document, called test plan which contains additional such as:
What is the approach that should be taken during the software testing?
What are the riskier areas of the system?
Where more attention should be put?
How certain things should be done?
What shall be the reporting structure of all those things? Etc.
Design Test Cases: Another most important role of a tester is to write or design test cases based on requirements. For every requirement, there should be a test case. A positive test case to see whether the requirement is satisfied by the system or not and a negative test case to see if any invalid input is given to the system, would that handle it correctly. Similarly, he can make test cases on other items like certain standards that the system has to follow, norms for the system, similar system/competing systems in the market, or regulations governing the system etc.
Create the Test Data: the next role of the QA tester is to create the test data, which he/she can use during the test and the comparison data comparing what is expected with what is actually shown by the system.
Create the Test Environment: Another important role of the tester is to set up the test environment, also known as the QA environment. It is an independent environment where the system is deployed with all its prerequisites and then the testing is done on the test environment. because the developers have already developed the application in the development environment and once they are satisfied with it they release it for testing. Now, the tester has to set up the test environment ahead of time so that when the system release is ready they can deploy or install the system, release onto the test environment and start the testing.
A QA tester plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality of a software or application and locating all the defects before it is released to the end user. A QA tester checks, assess, tunes, detects bugs and make suggestions to improve overall quality of the end product. He/she tests a program or software in a controlled test environment, use it in an organized way and assess the functionality of that program, application or software against the developers' intentions and users' perceptions. A QA tester is also considered as the application's primary user, who analyses its functionality and reports on any glitches for improvement in overall quality.