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Top 5 Software Testing Activities for Beginners

In our Q&A with industry experts we have chatted to people in different software testing roles, to discuss the day-to-day activities that they tend to carry out. We recognise that if you are new to the industry or looking to take a step into this line of work, you might find an overview of the typical tasks you’ll be carrying out in the early days of your career helpful.

Below is a quick introduction to some of the common activities new testers carry out on a regular basis.

Reviewing Requirements

At the start of a testing session, you will review your project requirements to get an overview of what your objectives are and what you’ll be testing. This might be going through a document that you need to analyse, or you might have a meeting with others in your team to discuss what needs to be done.

At this stage your main focus is on information gathering, but as you become more experienced at reviewing requirements, you’ll start to spot defects at this point too, such as inconsistencies within documentation.

Running Tests and Investigating Software

The next key task is where you start delving into the software. This may involve checking pre-written tests against the software or using your experience to investigate the software being tested. The focus is on looking for unexpected behaviour, whether it's a button not navigating the user to where it should or an image appearing blurry. You must be detail-oriented and diligent, considering both the most common journeys through software and the scenarios that are less likely to occur, which may affect the user’s experience.

Man in shirt typing on laptop

Recording Results

When you run a test or investigate software, you should be recording the results of that test in some way. The level of formality for this will vary. For example, sometimes you might just write ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, in other situations, you might have to write a sentence or two summarising what you’ve seen.

Raising Defects

Raising defects is one of the most common testing activities. When you see unexpected behaviour, you raise a report about the issue that’s been observed. This is also known as a bug or an issue report.

This report should have all the information that’s been gathered about the issue, such as: a title, a description, how serious the issue is and details on the environment in which the problem has occurred. Anyone else involved in the software development process, should be able to read this report and have all the information they need to either resolve it or determine what the next steps should be towards resolving it.


One of the final aspects of a tester’s day or at the end of certain testing activities, is the creation of a report to inform others as to what testing has been done, your observations during testing and any high priority issues that need to be considered moving forward.

This is often a written report to provide traceability of results and is designed specifically to include the information that is important to the reader. For example, a company CEO may want a high-level overview, whereas a project manager involved in the day to day running of the project, may want more detailed information.

These common testing tasks are the ones that you’re most likely to learn when you first start testing software. Even as you develop other skills and carry out other activities, you will find yourself revisiting these on a regular basis. This means that having a good understanding of these core activities is vital to ensuring that you have a strong foundation in the basics.

We discuss all of these aspects and others in more detail in our ‘Beginners Guide to Software Testing’ courses, check it out here.