What skills must a performance tester be capable of?
Performance testing is defined as a testing practice that measures the quality of a system which performs under a particular workload. By executing a performance test, one can determine the scalability, endurance, and stability of a software product.
In order to do performance testing, test engineers have to develop particular skills. Some of these skills are technical while some of them are non-technical. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.
Here are the most important technical skills for a performance tester!
Scripting, scripting, and scripting
Basic Understanding of System Architecture
Performance testing requires you to learn development languages, libraries, and frameworks which are used in building this software. You need to understand how Garbage Collection works, in case you work with a Java or .NET project.
Memory, CPU and network bandwidths might be the root cause of a performance glitch in an application. So hardware architecture and network layers are components that need to be analyzed during a test.
CSS and XPath Selectors
Most of the time, during a project, performance test engineers deal with HTTP requests and validate some data in its responses. In order to extract or validate data from a response and build another request, CSS and XPath Selector are used widely. In case if they don’t work, regular expressions have to be used to extract data. Test automation engineers can be considered as candidates to work on a performance test project as they already possess the required skills and have the necessary knowledge.
Understanding the User Behavior
User behavior can vary greatly and they often turn out to be completely unexpected. That’s why performance test scripts might be different than automation scripts since they need to reflect the user experience on your software. In order to understand your user and scenarios thoroughly, you need to get in touch with and learn more about the business user, product owners and even with people in marketing. They will provide you the necessary information about user behavior at peak times, the workload and other useful pieces of details. It’s impossible for a single software developer to reflect the user behavior during a Black Friday, the only thing you can gather from developers is; statistics of transactions.
A Good Problem Solver is a Good Performance Testing Expert!
If horizontal and vertical scaling in hardware architecture would be a good solution for any type of performance problem, anyone could be a good performance engineer. But that’s not the case, therefore you need to analyze the bottlenecks carefully, understand where the problem is and warn the responsible team about the issue.
Finally, you should love coffee as you might have to spend many nights to solve your application’s performance issues:)
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Happy load testing! 🙂