Should Beta testers be Professional Testers?

Handing over the newly developed software application or system to its intended user or group of users to evaluate its functional and non-functional quality is a good move as the system’s functionalities would be executed by the end users from the user’s perspective in the real world environment and condition. This process of evaluating the quality of software quality by hands of its targeted users is generally termed as beta testing in software quality assurance process.

Beta testing phase marks the absence of professional testers and involves the participation of intended users. The primary advantage of performing beta testing both from technical and business perspective is that before the release of the software application, it is actually tested by the real users at a much lower cost compare to cost to be incurred on professional testers. Game testing is a live example of beta testing, where passionate and ardent gamers are invited to test the features and qualities of the beta version of the gaming application. Although, involvement of non-professional testers(end users) for testing the gaming application could be acceptable at some extent due to absence of multiple & larger functionalities, features and complexities, but may lacks quality testing for other types of software applications.

So, Should beta testers be professional testers?

It would be irrelevant to give judgement in favour or against the involvement of professional testers in beta testing as beta testers. Here, we are stating some advantage/pros of employing users and professional tester as beta tester in beta testing.

When beta tester is an user.

  • Evaluation and assessment of software application from user’s perspective.
  • Consistent focus and inquisitiveness to improve or correct the defects or issues imparting the need to improve quality from user’s perspective.
  • Most of the time, beta testers are the loyal users where they are affectionate by the organization or company’s brand, value or products. Therefore, they will be interested and sincere in their task of testing.
  • Less cost of testing the system.
  • Ultimately, it’s the customer who validates the system.

When beta tester is a professional tester

  • Involvement of professionalism, skills and experience.
  • Professional testers are well aware of the techniques, methods and tools to dig, explore and test each and every, minute and major features and functionalities.
  • User will find difficult to distinguish between a feature and a defect but not the professional testers.
  • Professional testers will be able to explain defects precisely and perfectly compared to user, to fix or correct the explored defect.
  • Professional testers can effectively write & describe the steps to reproduce defects, which may seems to be impossible for the users.
  • Sometimes, the user may not be available due to its commitment towards any other home or official work. However, Professional testers are bound to their roles and responsibilities with fixed hour of their duty.
  • Professional testers can make and know the usage of tools and devices to effectively and qualitatively test the system, which may seems to be infeasible from user side.
  • Professional tester helps in defining and stating the severity and priority of each identified bug, whereas a user will find difficult to relate bugs with the terms severity and priority.

Based on the above stated facts and points, you can yourself decide the answer to the question- “Should beta testers be professional testers?”

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