HOW TO BECOME A
Quality Assurance Engineer

Quality assurance (QA) engineering is about evaluating computer systems, information systems, and software components. QA engineers evaluate software before it is released. If you want to become a software quality assurance engineer, you need patience, attention to detail, and excellent tech skills.

With all the hard work these professionals do, the job demand for QA engineers is high. QA engineers also earn comfortable salaries, and there are countless traditional and non-traditional methods to start this career. To learn how to become a quality assurance engineer, read this guide.

Below are some statistics to demonstrate why you should become a QA engineer.

What Is a Quality Assurance Engineer

What Is a Quality Assurance Engineer?

A QA engineer is a software tester that oversees every phase of software development to ensure it meets the outlined standards. Professionals must consider design quality and functionality when evaluating software. Before they release software to the public, QA engineers must ensure the software works smoothly and fulfills its purpose.

As a QA engineer, you will work closely with the development team as well as software testers. While many people confuse them with software testers, the two have many differences. QA engineers follow a more comprehensive set of methods and tasks, and software testers focus on bugs and code.

What Do Quality Assurance Engineers Do?

QA engineers must learn software testing to evaluate software and ensure it meets company standards. They handle every aspect of software quality assurance. These professionals track the development process from start to finish.

Quality Assurance Engineer Job Description

QA engineers manage a range of tasks in the development process. These professionals typically work full-time to ensure every component of the software is at its best. The job description can vary between companies, but many duties stay the same. Below is a list of specific duties found in a QA engineer job description.

Quality Assurance Engineer Duties

  • Designs software according to an organization’s requirements
  • Develops a strategy for quality assurance in software development
  • Collaborates with the development team and test engineers to ensure the software development process is successful
  • Researches competitive products and determines how to supersede those products
  • Writes, reviews, and configures source code for software development
  • Tests integrate, and releases evaluated software
  • Identifies issues with software and recommends the best solutions
  • Identifies the key performance indicators (KPIs) for software development and outlines these objectives
  • Updates knowledge on software development and relevant digital marketing trends
  • Creates detailed reports for management on software quality and project processes

What Are the Required Skills for Quality Assurance Engineer Careers?

To be a successful QA engineer, you will need to know coding languages and be familiar with the coding process. You should also be a critical thinker who aims for 100 percent accuracy in everything you do. QA engineers have expert skills in API testing and work with Jira regularly. Below are some of the top skills you need to do this job.

Coding Languages

Working as a QA engineer, you should know coding languages such as HTML, Python, Java, and SQL. This knowledge is essential to perform automation testing and understand the development team’s process. Without coding knowledge, you will have to utilize manual testing, which takes much more time.

Application Programming Interface (API) Testing

As a QA engineer, you should know how to perform API testing. API testing happens when you directly test an application program’s interface. This is part of evaluating individual software as a group, also known as integration testing. API testing allows professionals to determine if the software’s quality and performance are effective and efficient.

Critical Thinking

QA engineers often run into software malfunctions, errors, and bugs. When this occurs, they need to think quickly and find innovative, permanent solutions. To excel in this field, you should be an investigative, critical thinker who can solve problems and properly communicate the best ways to fix them.

Accuracy

As a QA engineer, you need to be accurate with your evaluations. From testing software to identifying problems and diagnosing solutions, QA engineers must be spot on every time. If your recommendations are inaccurate, this can easily impede the entire development process.

Jira

QA engineers handle several tasks daily, and Jira is an important tool to manage them. Jira helps QA engineers detect, track, manage, and solve bugs in software. You can anticipate bugs to prevent them, perform manual and automation testing, and develop new user stories with Jira.

How Much Do Quality Assurance Engineers Make

How Much Do Quality
Assurance Engineers Make?

According to PayScale, quality assurance engineers make $71,132 per year. The salary for a QA engineer varies according to years of experience and skills. Your pay also depends on the industry you specialize in and where you live. Read below to see different QA engineer salaries based on location.

City Average Salary
Seattle, WA $88,764
San Francisco, CA $86,606
Los Angeles, CA $77,728
Boston, MA $75,481
Philadelphia, PA $74,126
New York, NY $73,618
Minneapolis, MN $73,467
Phoenix, AZ $71,914
Milwaukee, WI $70,133
Dallas, TX $69,808
Chicago, IL $69,749
Portland, OR $69,297
Atlanta, GA $66,833
Cleveland, OH $64,155
Miami, FL $59,370

While your location impacts your earning potential as a QA engineer, so does your level of experience. Entry-level QA engineers earn much less than those who have been working for over ten years. The table below reveals the earning potential for QA engineers based on experience.

Position Salary
Entry-Level (0-5 Years) $60,552
Mid-Career (5-10 Years) $77,892
Experienced (10-20 Years) $82,354
Late-Career (20+ Years) $84,370

Quality Assurance Engineer Technologies
and Coding Languages

Automation Testing Tools

Automation testing tools are used to streamline the quality assurance process. These tools rely on scripts and software to perform software testing with limited human interaction. QA engineers must understand how to use automation testing tools. This skill makes the software testing phase quicker and easier.

Functional Testing Tools

Functional testing is a form of black-box testing to ensure software functions as intended. QA engineers use functional testing tools by supplying the correct input data and verifying the output data against software standards. Functional testing tools help QA engineers confirm that software servers are functioning correctly.

SQL

Learning SQL is pivotal for QA engineers to update, verify, and delete test data in the software database. SQL is also a vital skill for QA engineers to recognize different databases, interpret complex queries, and connect database servers. Having SQL expertise makes verifying data easier and more accurate.

Agile Testing Tools

Agile testing relies on the principles of agile software development and focuses on contentious testing. Agile testing follows a similar strategy of incremental steps, testing each software component after it is designed. Knowing how to use agile testing tools is essential to ensure all developed software satisfies the requirements.

Non-Functional Testing Tools

QA engineers use non-functional testing tools to evaluate the way a system operates rather than how it behaves. Non-functional testing tools will help you test the usability, reliability, performance, and readiness of software applications. With this knowledge, QA engineers can achieve optimal user experience.

How Can You Become a Quality
Assurance Engineer?

You can become a QA engineer with a bootcamp or college degree. Some QA engineers complete a two-year degree at a community college and begin working right after. Other QA engineers opt for a four-year degree at university, which equips them with more comprehensive skills but demands more time.

Quality Assurance Engineer Learning Paths

Quality Assurance Engineer Bootcamps

Unlike degree programs, coding bootcamp programs are short, intense programs that outfit students with the exact tech skills they need. Bootcamps are effective if you want to learn about QA engineering principles only. However, this can limit you from progressing into different roles in the industry.

Bootcamps are typically less expensive compared to degree programs, and they don’t require as much time. Many bootcamps also allow you to study at your own pace and gain practical experience. QA engineering bootcamps might not provide the same student services as degree programs do.

College/University

A degree program will ensure you have the latest expertise and access to student services to enhance your learning. Opting for a college or university also increases your chances of landing a job. Degree programs are expensive and require years of studying, but they can be well worth it in the long term.

Self-Study

You don’t have to attend instructor-led programs or courses to learn the fundamentals of QA engineering. Nowadays, you can opt for self-paced online courses and programs, YouTube tutorials, and other non-traditional learning materials.

The biggest disadvantage of self-studying is that it may be more difficult to commit to your studies. It can be harder to understand the coursework without the student support that bootcamps and other schools can provide. Depending on your choice of education, you also might not earn a certificate of completion.

What Companies Are Hiring Quality Assurance Engineers?

According to Glassdoor, computer hardware and software industries hire the most QA engineers. Other top industries that hire QA engineers are enterprise software and network solutions companies, as well as video game companies.

Becoming a QA developer means you can choose which industry you want to specialize in and how you want to learn the top QA engineering skills. Additionally, job growth for these professionals is very high. You should start your journey and become a QA engineer in 2021.

FAQ

Is quality assurance engineering a good career choice?

Yes, QA engineering is an excellent career path for individuals with an interest in tech. You can become a QA engineer through a handful of learning pathways, including QA engineering bootcamps, degree programs, or self-studying.

What is a quality assurance engineer?

A QA engineer is a quality tester who oversees the entire process of software development. QA engineers ensure all developed software products meet a company’s standards.

What’s the difference between a quality assurance engineer and a software tester?

Software testers do their work at the end of the development process, whereas QA engineers are present throughout each phase. Software testers focus on testing the final product, and QA engineers evaluate each phase of the product.

What does a quality assurance engineer do?

A QA engineer evaluates every phase of the software development process. Experts must ensure the software design, functionality, reliability, and usability fulfills a company’s requirements before releasing it to the public.

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