Software Testing: Which Roles Need Coding Skills


It’s a common question nowadays if programming is a required skill for testers, and how much programming knowledge is required.

This blog post will analyze the distinct scenarios where you may need coding skills and dive further into detail about programming and software testing.

Not all roles in software testing require coding. There are functional and product-based Testing roles that require no coding at all. However, technical software testing roles require programming or scripting knowledge for developing tools and automation testing.

Type of TestingIs Coding Required?
Manual TestingNo
Automation TestingYes
Unit TestingYes
Integration TestingSometimes
System TestingNo
Acceptance TestingNo
Coding Requirements for Testing Roles

Each testing position’s role and coding requirements may vary, as noted in the previous table. Let’s dive deeper into the testing roles and testing types to determine when coding skills are required.

Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing

  • Automated Testing: For automation testing, testers need to have programming skills so they can write code to automate test cases and testing steps. Automated tests require preparation and coding, but they can be run repeatedly without requiring human effort when tests are complete.
  • Manual Testing: This type of testing is done manually by testers. Manual testing can be done at any time without requiring any development. Manual testing is most useful in the early stages of development before automated tests are developed.

Different Types of Testing Levels

  • Component Testing [unit test]: this type of testing requires coding skills and is typically done by developers.
  • Component Integration Testing: this type of testing requires coding skills and is typically done by developers.
  • System Testing: This type of test is done for the whole system, including components and their integrations. Typically, this testing phase is black box testing and does not require coding skills.
  • System Integration Testing: this type of test is done for the whole system, including high-level integrations, such as payment processing and business reporting. Typically, this testing phase is black box testing and does not require coding skills.
  • User Acceptance Testing: this type of test is also done for the whole system. In this case, testers and end-users are included to execute user scenarios to validate product acceptance criteria. User acceptance testing does not require coding.

Different Types of Systems Under Test

  • Web Applications can be mostly automated, so programming skills are always a plus. At the same time, some companies rely on manual testing, along with automation testing for functional and UI testing. Improving your skills on standard automation tools is beneficial (for example, Selenium web driver).
  • Mobile Applications can also be automated using Appium with Selenium web driver to execute test cases. As in web applications, both manual and automated roles exist.
  • Embedded Software requires flashing hardware to test software on it. Embedded software needs some level of scripting or automation so you can test timing conditions and fast reactions that are hard to be done manually. Some coding knowledge is beneficial for this type of testing.
  • API Testing: this type of testing is very suited for automation and typically requires some coding skills.

Software testing can be divided into two methods, manual testing executed by humans and automation testing performed by machines. Different testing levels such as white box, black box, or grey box testing call for a different set of skills for testers.

Black Box Testing, where the testers only need to know the product requirements and don’t need to know the technical implementation, testing can be done without any coding. Nevertheless, automating black box testing scenarios can help save time and manual effort for quicker and cheaper test runs.

White Box Testing is a method of testing at the source code level. This level of testing requires knowledge of programming and programming concepts. White box testing is designed to test the code flows and decision paths. White box testing includes testing for SQL injection and the following code coverage scenarios:

  • Control flow testing
  • Data flow testing
  • Branch testing
  • Statement coverage
  • Decision coverage
  • Decision coverage
  • Prime path testing
  • Path testing

Gray Box Testing is a combination of white-box testing and black-box testing. In gray box testing, the tester knows the technical structure and algorithms of the system. While coding is not always essential for this role, typically, some technical knowledge is required.

What Programming Language Should a Tester Know

Testers should know programming languages used for test automation. According to applitools, the most popular languages for UI automation are:

  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • Python
  • Ruby

Source: https://applitools.com/blog/language-software-test-automation/

If you have no experience with programming, I recommend starting with learning the basics of Python. Python is a beginner-friendly language for starters and can help you understand the basics of programming before moving on to other programming languages.

Let’s look at the “Hello World” program. These small code examples show you how to display the text “Hello World” in each programming language.

Learning Java

Both frontend and backend applications are developed with Java.

“Hello World” code from w3schools:

public class MyClass {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    System.out.println("Hello World");
  }
}

Head over to w3schools to try this example.

Learning JavaScript

Both frontend and backend applications are developed with JavaScript.

“Hello JavaScript” code from w3schools:

document.getElementById("demo").innerHTML = "Hello JavaScript";

Head over to w3schools to try this example.

Learning C#

Both frontend and backend applications are developed with C#.

“Hello World” code from w3schools:

using system;
namespace HelloWorld
{
  class Program
  {
    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
      Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
    }
  }
}

Head over to w3schools to try this example.

Learning Python

Python is typically used for developing backend applications.

“Hello World” code from w3schools:

print("Hello, World!")

Head over to w3schools to try this example.

Learning Ruby

Ruby is used for developing backend applications.

“Hello World” code from ruby-lang.org:

puts "Hello World!"

Head over to ruby-lang.org to learn more.

Wrapping Up

If you don’t have any programming skills, look for manual testing jobs where programming is not required. Manual testing mostly focuses on product quality and functional requirements. In this case, your most valuable skills will be attention to detail and raising functional defects or suggesting product improvements.

While no coding is required for manual software testing, programming is a useful skillset that many companies look for and can prepare you for great opportunities and higher paying job roles.

Additionally, if you know how to program or create some basic scripts, you can automate some of your daily tasks to improve your productivity and knowledge.

Johnny

Hi there, I'm Johnny! Since the beginning of my career, I have tested a wide variety of software applications. I created Tester Tips to share my experience, help you master testing, and watch your career progress.

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