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Software QA and Testing Interview Questions

Software QA and Testing Interview Questions

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Published by iqsaqib
Software QA Interview Questions
Software QA Interview Questions

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Published by: iqsaqib on May 05, 2009
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11/14/2012

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Software QA and Testing FAQs
1. What is 'Software Quality Assurance'?
Software QA involves the entire software development PROCESS - monitoring andimproving the process, making sure that any agreed- upon standards and proceduresare followed, and ensuring that problems are found and dealt with. It is oriented to'prevention'.
2.What is 'Software Testing'?
Testing involves operation of a system or application under controlled conditions andevaluating the results (eg, 'if the user is in interface A of the application while usinghardware B, and does C, then D should happen'). The controlled conditions shouldinclude both normal and abnormal conditions. Testing should intentionally attempt tomake things go wrong to determine if things happen when they shouldn't or thingsdon't happen when they should. It is oriented to 'detection'.
3.What are some recent major computer system failures caused by softwarebugs?
In April of 2003 it was announced that the largest student loan company in the madea software error in calculating the monthly payments on 800,000 loans. Althoughborrowers were to be notified of an increase in their required payments, thecompany will still reportedly lose $8 million in interest. The error was uncoveredwhen borrowers began reporting inconsistencies in their bills.News reports in February of 2003 revealed that the U.S. Treasury Department mailed50,000 Social Security checks without any beneficiary names. A spokespersonindicated that the missing names were due to an error in a software change.Replacement checks were subsequently mailed out with the problem corrected, andrecipients were then able to cash their Social Security checks.In March of 2002 it was reported that software bugs in national tax system resultedin more than 100,000 erroneous tax overcharges. The problem was partly attributedto the difficulty of testing the integration of multiple systems.A newspaper columnist reported in July 2001 that a serious flaw was found in off-the-shelf software that had long been used in systems for tracking certain nuclearmaterials. The same software had been recently donated to another country to beused in tracking their own nuclear materials, and it was not until scientists in thatcountry discovered the problem, and shared the information, that officials becameaware of the problems. According to newspaper stories in mid-2001, a majorsystems development contractor was fired and sued over problems with a largeretirement plan management system. According to the reports, the client claimedthat system deliveries were late, the software had excessive defects, and it causedother systems to crash.In January of 2001 newspapers reported that a major European railroad was hit bythe aftereffects of the Y2K bug. The company found that many of their newer trainswould not run due to their inability to recognize the date '31/12/2000'; the trains
 
were started by altering the control system's date settings. News reports inSeptember of 2000 told of a software vendor settling a lawsuit with a large mortgagelender; the vendor had reportedly delivered an online mortgage processing systemthat did not meet specifications, was delivered late, and didn't work.In early 2000, major problems were reported with a new computer system in a largesuburban U.S. public school district with 100,000+ students; problems included10,000 erroneous report cards and students left stranded by failed class registrationsystems; the district's CIO was fired. The school district decided to reinstate it'soriginal 25-year old system for at least a year until the bugs were worked out of thenew system by the software vendors.In October of 1999 the $125 million NASA Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft wasbelieved to be lost in space due to a simple data conversion error. It was determinedthat spacecraft software used certain data in English units that should have been inmetric units. Among other tasks, the orbiter was to serve as a communications relayfor the Mars Polar Lander mission, which failed for unknown reasons in December1999. Several investigating panels were convened to determine the process failuresthat allowed the error to go undetected.Bugs in software supporting a large commercial high-speed data network affected70,000 business customers over a period of 8 days in August of 1999. Among thoseaffected was the electronic trading system of the largest futures exchange, whichwas shut down for most of a week as a result of the outages.In April of 1999 a software bug caused the failure of a $1.2 billion military satellitelaunch, the costliest unmanned accident in the history ofCape Canaverallaunches.The failure was the latest in a string of launch failures, triggering a complete militaryand industry review of space launch programs, including software integration andtesting processes. Congressional oversight hearings were requested.A small town inIllinoisreceived an unusually large monthly electric bill of $7 million inMarch of 1999. This was about700 times larger than its normal bill. It turned out to be due to bugs in new softwarethat had been purchased by the local power company to deal with Y2K softwareissues.
4.Why is it often hard for management to get serious about qualityassurance?
Solving problems is a high-visibility process; preventing problems is low-visibility.This is illustrated by an old parable:In ancient there was a family of healers, one of whom was known throughout theland and employed as a physician to a great lord. The physician was asked which of his family was the most skillful healer. He replied,"I tend to the sick and dying withdrastic and dramatic treatments, and on occasion someone is cured and my namegets out among the lords." "My elder brother cures sickness when it just begins totake root, and his skills are known among the local peasants and neighbors." "Myeldest brother is able to sense the spirit of sickness and eradicate it before it takesform. His name is unknown outside our home."
 
5.Why does software have bugs?Miscommunication or no communication
- as to specifics of what an applicationshould or shouldn't do (the application's requirements).software complexity - thecomplexity of current software applications can be difficult to comprehend for anyonewithout experience in modern-day software development. Windows-type interfaces,client-server and distributed applications, data communications, enormous relationaldatabases, and sheer size of applications have all contributed to the exponential growth in software/systemcomplexity. And the use of object-oriented techniques can complicate instead of simplify a project unless it is well-engineered.
Programming errors
- programmers, like anyone else, can make mistakes.
Changing requirements
- the customer may not understand the effects of changes, or may understand and request them anyway - redesign, rescheduling of engineers, effects on other projects, work already completed that may have to beredone or thrown out, hardware requirements that may be affected, etc. If there aremany minor changes or any major changes, known and unknown dependenciesamong parts of the project are likely to interact and causeproblems, and the complexity of keeping track of changes may result in errors.Enthusiasm of engineering staff maybe affected. In some fast-changing business environments, continuously modifiedrequirements may be a fact of life. In this case, management must understand theresulting risks, and QA and test engineers must adapt and plan for continuousextensive testing to keep the inevitable bugs from running out of control
Time pressures
- scheduling of software projects is difficult at best, often requiringa lot of guesswork. When deadlines loom and the crunch comes, mistakes will bemade.
Egos
- people prefer to say things like:'no problem''piece of cake''I can whip that out in a few hours''it should be easy to update that old code'Instead of:'that adds a lot of complexity and we could end up making a lot of mistakes''we have no idea if we can do that; we'll wing it''I can't estimate how long it will take, until Itake a close look at it''we can't figure out what that old spaghetti code did in the first place'If there are too many unrealistic 'no problem's', the result is bugs.
Poorly documented code
- it's tough to maintain and modify code that is badlywritten or poorly documented; the result is bugs. In many organizationsmanagement provides no incentive for programmers to document their code or writeclear, understandable code. In fact, it's usually the opposite: they get points mostly

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