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Would You Make a Good Performance Tester? By @Neotys | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

Are you wondering if a career as a performance tester is on your horizon?

There are two types of kids in this world: the ones who spend hours meticulously building towers out of Legos, and the ones who delight in seeing how quickly they can make it all come crashing down. Which one were you? If you answered the latter, you'd probably make a good performance tester.

Performance testers revel in finding flaws in perfectly written code. They're big kids who love to see things crash and explode. Fortunately for the rest of us, however, they use their powers for good. Without performance testers, we wouldn't be able to strengthen our code and plan ahead for failures. This natural curiosity about what makes things work - or not work - is vital.

Are you wondering if a career as a performance tester is on your horizon? First, know this: the talent pool for good performance testers is pretty small. As we all know, the best in the field get the best offers! So if you think you've got a knack for it, it could be an exciting career change.

Plenty of QA engineers have lots of experience with functional testing, but what makes a performance tester different? If you happen to fit the mold, what can you work on to become more well-rounded? We at Neotys have developed a list of essential qualities in a performance tester, so you can see what you're lacking and decide if you'd make a top performance tester.

Top Traits Of a Top Performance Tester

  • You Are Highly Communicative. A good performance tester must be able to "walk the walk" within many departments, as the lines blur between modern development and operations teams in Agile environments. That means there's no excuse for a performance tester not to be able to work with both hardware infrastructure (operations) and the software side (development). In fact, your job depends on it.
  • You Are Knowledgeable. Sometimes there is just no substitute for smarts. Performance testers know the following types of tools inside and out, backwards and forwards and just about any other direction you can think of:
    • Testing tools: You'll need to be handy with tools involving scripting, test execution and report analysis.
    • Analysis tools: At times, certain testing tools don't have great analysis mechanisms built-in. You'll need to utilize third-party programs or possibly develop your own to get better means of analysis from testing.
    • Monitoring tools: Get friendly with application performance monitoring systems like NeoSense. They're necessary to keep the product running optimally.
  • You Are Consistent and Organized. Good performance testers know the value of being organized to a fault. When you're running lengthy scripts and code that can be re-used over and over again, having everything organized, accessible, and in the right folder will make life a lot easier for you and team members.
  • You Are Agile. Devices, networks and platforms are constantly evolving. You must be able to recreate the use cases and network conditions actual users will experience with several different network types and several different devices. To read more about how performance testing is evolving, click here!
  • You Are Curious and Destructive. Performance testers get a feeling of joy when the entire system being developed comes crashing down. That is because they realize that a system crash is an opportunity to make a product even better, which is the unified end goal. Their curiosity about what makes things tick and go boom is invaluable.
  • You Are a Creative Thinker. As a performance tester, you'll find yourself anywhere but inside the box. You utilize your own creativity in solving problems involving product scale and speed, and you always have a growth plan in place. You have the ability to consider what the data storage implications will be for the product in the near and distant future.

The Best Performance Testers Can Predict the Future and Learn Quickly
If you want to be a great performance tester, you'll need to be a visionary. You will need to see trends in the future and utilize what you already know to stay ahead of the curve. Not only should a performance tester keep an eye on data trends, but they also know that many things have remained true throughout the history of web development, and can plan around them. Web Sites will always crash. Developers always think they have written perfect code. Also, with ever-increasing demands from end-users for product perfection, there will always be a need for performance testers.

A performance tester knows that realistic testing will always be fundamental. Many companies do not simulate real environments when load testing and fail to find weakness' in their system's performance, before a disaster strikes. Excellent performance testers will utilize the best products on the market - products like NeoLoad - to run load tests under the most realistic conditions possible.

Performance testers always seem to know how to use new technical gadgets. They know that they cannot be the bottleneck themselves in any process because of silly things like trying to learn a new tool. They know how to embrace the latest technology, but always understand that the end product is more important than their own egos.

Beyond Legos
You've learned that being an excellent performance tester is about more than just getting a system to crash. The cream of the crop will not only be able to find the weakness in a systems performance, but they will be organized, well-informed, adaptable, and able to use the necessary tools. It's a long road to get from legos to log files, and the profession can become arduous. But, if you think you've got what it takes, odds are, nothing will stop you - not even firewalls.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.