Domain knowledge for QA engineers

Why is domain knowledge is important for software testers?

It’s similar to asking: Why is knowing the language of the application vital?
It is as vital as knowing Hindu if the application is in Hindu.

Though just knowing the language syntax may not be enough, - knowing the culture is important too. The interactions, relations and the communications of the “domain” helps the tester to understand why and how the application is used.

Then again, you might get by without it - but it’s definitely helping.

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Well this is a pretty broad subject. I would say: it depends on the type of testing that they do.

If they do functional testing or requirements engineering, yes, domain knowledge does help. Especially if the position involves working with large datasets, or writing programs that generate test data.

But if they do technical testing and/or test automation, knowledge of the technologies involved in the system design is a lot more critical. How could anyone do code reviews efficiently if they do not really know the programming languages and frameworks involved? How could anyone do security testing on a web application if they have no idea how a web application works, or no insight about the communication protocols that are used by the application? It would be madness.

There are many types of positions in testing. Before hiring someone for a testing position, the right question to ask is not “Has that person worked in the same domain before?” but “What type of testing is that person expected to do?”. Because if you want to do API testing on banking systems, you should not hire a former COBOL programmer who has a lot of knowledge about bank accounts but never heard about SOAP and REST. It would be the perfect recipe for failure…

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  1. Because context defines the value of everything you do. Defines.
  2. Because models that link observation and inference strongly influence the value of your findings. Those models are strengthened by understanding your domain.

It is not literally vital. But it’s really important to do good work.

I have a video coming out about this, hopefully soon.

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Having the knowledge of different domains is very essential for every QA. If we talk about the real world, there is no doubt that every QA should have the basic testing skills like Manual testing and Automation testing who works for any quality assurance company. They are having the good hold to find most of the obvious bugs in the software but it is not sufficient if we talk in today’s world because you will certainly have a product look by the domain expert before the product goes into the market. So, it is important for testers to balance all the skill activities so that all product aspects will get addressed.

If we talk about the top software testing companies, they hire those professionals who have domain knowledge along-with technical skills. This is the main reason that many professional developers and other experts are moving into software testing.

QA can become more creative with mind than a tester who has zero knowledge of software testing domains. So, it helps in increasing the value of software product. With good domain knowledge, it assists every tester in improved manner to have a better understanding of the testing techniques which is required by the client or which meets the client requirement. Being the knowledge of multiple domains for every QA also opens the door of multiple jobs as sometime some clients required people who have domain expertise in specific domain (like Legal, Health, Finance and Banking etc).

For example, if a product is based on banking domain, then QA with previous experience in banking domain will have the following advantages against someone with no knowledge on the same:

  • Will learn the product at a faster pace
  • Will be knowing most of the the banking terms already
  • Will be able to uncover bugs in many areas by applying his experience from previous projects.
  • Can suggest improvements in the product based on his past experience

Same way a QA with knowledge in Legal, Medical/Healthcare or Insurance will be more productive on the project that is based on these domains.

Hope this information is helpful for you.