What makes a good Test Data Manager?

NOV, 2020

by Michiel Mulders.

 

*Updated MAR 2023 by Jane Temov.

 

Michiel Mulders

This post was written by Michiel Mulders. Michiel is a passionate blockchain developer who loves writing technical content. Besides that, he loves learning about marketing, UX psychology, and entrepreneurship. When he’s not writing, he’s probably enjoying a Belgian beer!

 

Testing is a critical aspect of software development, and it requires the use of appropriate test data to ensure that the software performs optimally. Test data management (TDM) is the process of creating, storing, and managing test data to ensure its quality, availability, and accuracy. Effective TDM is essential for any successful software testing program, and it requires a skilled and experienced test data manager (TDM) to oversee the process.

 

Enov8 Test Data Manager

*aka ‘Data Compliance Suite’

The Data Securitization and Test Data Management platform. DevSecOps your Test Data & Privacy Risks.

In this post, we will discuss the characteristics of a good TDM and explore the skills and qualities that make a TDM effective in managing test data. We will examine the key responsibilities of a TDM and the challenges they face in the testing process. Additionally, we will highlight the importance of TDM in ensuring the success of software testing programs and provide tips for organizations looking to improve their TDM practices. Whether you are a software developer, tester, or IT manager, this article will provide you with valuable insights into what makes a good test data manager.

What Is Test Data Management?

Let’s begin by understanding what test data management (TDM) means. TDM is the process of managing the data required to meet the requirements of automated tests. To create test data as per the needs of the tests, a test data manager can use a test data management solution.

It is crucial for a test data management solution to ensure that it provides only high-quality data. This is because low-quality data can lead to inaccurate results that cannot be relied upon. Additionally, it is essential for the test data to be faithful to your real production data, as closely as possible.

Job Responsibilities of Test Data Managers

If you’re considering hiring a test data manager for your organization, it’s important to understand their job responsibilities. Here are some of the key responsibilities of a test data manager:

  • Developing and executing a long-term strategy for enterprise test data management
  • Estimating testing-related tasks, analyzing testing requirements, designing and developing supporting tools, testing, and implementing TDM processes and solutions
  • Identifying the Type of Data required for Software Testing
  • Creating consistent and repeatable processes to support multiple functions, such as identifying and masking test data for different applications and refreshing/updating test data as needed
  • Ensuring compliance with IT security guidelines and data compliance regulations
  • Provisioning data for QA testing, user acceptance testing, and performance testing.

What Skills Does a Test Data Manager Need?

To ensure that your test data manager can handle the responsibilities of the position, they should possess the following skills:

  • Proficiency in using TDM tools to create and mine test data, as well as the ability to automate data generation to test scenarios rapidly.
  • The ability to identify inefficiencies in the test data and optimize it to improve the testing process by creating scripts or using other methods.
  • Strong engineering skills, including knowledge of languages such as Java (Hive, Apache, Hadoop) and Scala (Apache Spark, Kafka).
  • Experience in automation using tools such as Selenium and UIPath, as well as knowledge of database technologies like Big data/Hadoop, Teradata, SQL Server, or DB2 for managing data storage tasks.
  • Familiarity with data masking techniques to protect the company’s reputation and users’ data by preventing harmful data breaches.

A well-qualified test data manager should also be able to understand and process requests from test data analysts and other requesters and work effectively alongside various analysts and engineers.

Benefits of Hiring a Test Data Manager

#1. Ensures High-Quality Data for Automated Tests

One of the main benefits of hiring a test data manager is that they ensure high-quality data is used for automated testing algorithms. Without good data, even the best testing strategy will fail. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize the quality of the data you use in your testing.

#2. Facilitates Smooth Testing Process by Making Data Available

The test data manager’s role is to generate and provide high-quality test data whenever it’s needed. This ensures a smooth testing process, which is crucial for timely feedback and bug fixing. For instance, the test data manager can coordinate the creation of test data with the development of new functionality to avoid delays.

#3. Documents TDM Process for Better Understanding and Continuity

A test data manager documents the TDM process, which helps team members understand how the manager generated test data and approached the testing of application scenarios. This is especially important in case the test data manager is unavailable due to sickness or leaving the company, as the documented processes can be used to quickly pick up where they left off.

#4. Increases Chance of Catching Bugs Early

By ensuring a smooth TDM process, the test data manager also increases the chance of catching bugs early. Detecting bugs early is crucial as it reduces the cost of fixing them and prevents issues from escalating.

The Growing Need for Test Data Managers

The need for test data managers has grown due to the tremendous increase in the amount of data produced. The volume of data generated today is enormous and continues to rise, which makes the role of test data managers increasingly crucial.

Another reason why test data managers are in high demand is to protect against test data breaches. According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $9.44M in the US and $4.35M globally. Despite this, many organizations still fail to see the value of test data management and neglect to mask their data.

However, finding suitable candidates for the position of test data manager has become increasingly challenging. The role requires skills in multiple domains, such as programming, engineering, data masking, and project management. As a result, there is fierce competition among companies to hire test data managers with the right blend of skills.

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In Conclusion

In conclusion, a good test data manager plays a critical role in ensuring the success of software testing programs. With the increasing complexity of software systems, the need for effective TDM has become more important than ever. A good TDM must possess a range of skills and qualities, including strong analytical abilities, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills, among others. Moreover, they must have a deep understanding of the testing process and the tools and technologies used in TDM.

At Enov8, we understand the importance of effective TDM, and we have developed a comprehensive Test Data Management solution that can help organizations manage their test data effectively. Our solution enables teams to create, manage, and provision test data across the testing lifecycle, helping organizations to reduce testing time and costs, improve quality, and streamline their testing processes.

In summary, if you are looking to improve your TDM practices, Enov8’s Test Data Management solution is an excellent option. With our solution, you can ensure that your test data is of high quality, accurate, and available when you need it, helping you to achieve your testing goals and deliver better software products.

Other Reading

Enjoy what you read? Here are a few more articles that you might find interesting.

Enov8 Blog: Types of Test Data you should use for your Software Tests?

Enov8 Blog: Why TDM is so Important!

Enov8 Blog: What is Data Fabrication in TDM?

 

 

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