Custom Software Apps & SharePoint Consulting
Developing Tech Skills

When I started my business analyst job here at Entrance, I quickly realized that the soft skills I’d developed in college weren’t going to cut it — simply being able to communicate just isn’t enough for a business analyst when it comes time to performing quality assurance testing on the software you’re building for a client. Though it wasn’t impossible, testing complicated scenarios coupled with the time it took to stage the scenario was a cumbersome and time consuming process for me. I found that I was doing these more and more frequently, so I decided to flex some unused muscles and pick up some tech skills.

Almost overnight, testing the software my team built for our clients became a more effective and efficient process for me, which led to reduced turnaround time between releases. This is great for the clients I serve.

Creating the data necessary to test the more sophisticated use cases was time consuming, but validating all relevant data was also a chore. It wasn’t as simple as running a report and cross checking some numbers. It’s important to know the specific attributes you’re testing, instead of just whatever values you see on the screen. Those may be the only ones relevant to the client at the time, but you also want to make sure there’s no data loss as you’re covering your test cases.

As a BA/QA, it’s very important to provide detailed steps for developers on your team so that they can properly reproduce bugs in the codebase. But, if you can provide them with even more detail, you might as well. Picking up those tech skills is the only way to understand what’s happening enough to provide them with more assistance.

Learning how to troubleshoot and triage bugs myself using Devtools has drastically decreased the turnaround time in bug fixes since I can provide developers with exact steps to reproduce and a likely culprit, e.g. duplicate key insertion in the database or a null reference error.

Browsers have developed tools that make it much easier to troubleshoot web applications today than it was even a few years ago. Personally, I use Devtools since a lot of our web applications are built to work with Google Chrome anyway.

It’s important to note that picking up a basic set of tech skills won’t make you an expert. Unless you have some coding background yourself, you probably won’t be able to discern the stacktrace into anything meaningful, but through practice and repetition you’ll start to become aware of useful errors vs filler.

Benjamin Smith
Senior Manager @ Entrance
Since 2012, Ben has been helping clients address their most critical needs with great software. He is a proponent of business done the right way; efficient, but full of human connection. As a University of Houston Bauer MBA, he understands both the technological and business sides of any project.
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