What are 10 things you should never say to a junior tester/QA?

This is an interesting post so I thought we could come up with 10 of our own as a testing community. We can come up with more than 10 if you like. :wink:

10 Things You Should Never Say to Junior Developers

Thinking about the early days of your career, what are some things you’ve been told which on reflection weren’t helpful?

If you’re in a leadership position what are some absolute no-go unhelpful things to say to a junior tester/QA?

And bonus points for those of you who have made some “here’s what I regret saying to a junior tester” mistakes along the way and are willing to share what happened.

Let’s use this list as a heuristic to protect and support those awesome people starting their exciting careers into the world of testing/QA.


Thankfully I’ve never been told this but if I had been told “you need to automate everything” at the start of my career I would tried to, not knowing any better.


You’ve been here for a week, you should already know that!


anything that implies in any way that QA is a lesser career path

anything that implies that a defect in production is their fault and is anything more than a learning experience.

Anything that implies a defect report they filed might not have been worth making.

IMO, these are the quickest ways to create a timid tester who wants out of the role ASAP.


The amount of bugs you have found this week has gone down compared to last week


Why is QA perceived as a lesser career path compared to something like Development?

Is it because people perceive manual testing to be easy?


You need to be certified.


A tester must be able to use automation and have an interest in coding.

(Admittedly not having automation experience can sometimes be career limiting, but we all know we’ll never lose manual testing).


How was this missed in test?
probably the most unhelpful comment I heard in my junior days


Statements like-

  • You should have known that already

  • Just figure it out on your own

  • That’s not how we do things

  • It’s not a big deal, just do it quickly

  • Why didn’t you catch that bug?

  • You’re too junior to understand this

  • That’s a stupid question

  • You’ll never make it in this industry

  • That’s not important right now, focus on something else

  • I’ll take care of the major stuffs, you handle the menial tasks.

these can be demoralizing and discouraging for juniors. Instead, its important to provide constructive feedback, guidance and encouragement to help them grow and succees in their roles.


For a junior, it might be helpful to go through the process using someone senior.

I think this is useful most of the time. I do that to myself whenever I miss a bug.
It triggers an inspection of one’s potential weaknesses which sometimes can be improved.

…But I’m not sure you’re referring to the part where the testers question themselves on how they might have missed a bug, but probably on the blame side(why did you?..)

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Are those things that should not been asked tester or more human-specific?
I’ve encountered those questions asked to developers, product managers, and business analysts.

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Yeah this was missing a bit of context. where I first worked, testing was looked at as a catch all of all possible defects before it made it’s way into production, so it was more of an accusatory “how could possibly have missed this?” rather than the more constructive “what can we do to check for this in the future?”


These statements can be detrimental to anyone in a junior position, regardless of their role in the team.
While they are commonly associated with interactions involving testers, they can certainly be damaging when directed at developers, product managers, or business analysts as well. Creating a supportive and nurturing environment for all team members, regardless of their level of experience, is crucial for fostering growth and success.


Oh man so much this. And its one that will continue to happen throughout a QA career both overtly and by implication.

Ive been doing this for over two decades and even a couple years ago I had a particularly toxic engineering lead pull that routine on me in a design review. “Hey. Its literally my job to ask stupid questions. Its my damned role to play out the scenarios in which obvious mistakes are being made” Yeah probably a bit over the top as a response. But more to the point I encourage more junior QA people to understand that its part of the job and even a luxury to consider even the obvious questions


Testing is about breaking things.

Here’s a test case, follow the steps

Testing is easy

Don’t cause a QA bottleneck

There are no bugs in this code, right?


the most important thing is be honest, even in job interviews.
If your product and eco system is complex, just say it but all your colleagues are there to help you.
there are no dumb questions.
we can better rephrase it to " what are the 10 things you never say to a new colleague, which is new in your organization.

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it depends on who this is coming from and the tone of the message. I can understand this line of questioning when i am among fellow QA and we are trying to identify possible gaps in testing.
However, when a BA or leader asks the question? it hits differently.

I think the worst thing you could say to any tester, specially to a junior one, is: “Avoid using your brain”. This comes in many flavors, and usually is not so obvious that that is what you are saying.

But, when you encourage the use of detailed test scripts instead of analysis and test design, when you mandate a bug template that no one should break under any circumstances and when you insist on 100% automation (making your only “tests” checks), you are just using a more complicated version of “Avoid using your brain”. And that is a really damaging thing to say to a newcomer


Great examples, @thepoplipo. Thanks for sharing.