A QA engineer is the backbone of quality software development. He assesses every issue arising in the software solutions to avoid software malfunctions and potential security breaches.
Unlike a software engineer who is responsible for the creation of software solutions, QA engineers only work on performing quality checks and maintaining the quality standards to produce quality products.
Moreover, as it requires minimal coding knowledge, many want to become QA engineers. And if you are one of them, stick to the end of this article as it will give you some brief insights on how to become a QA engineer in 2022.
What is QA(Quality Assurance)
Quality Assurance(QA) is a structured process that ensures whether a product meets the quality standards and requirements.
If you have seen a product with an ISO code, you know that it confirms the product has passed some quality standards. This ISO(International Organization for Standardization) has set some norms and procedures to standardize a product, which is often called the ISO 9000 international standard.
QA focuses on meeting these standards by implementing effective quality-checking procedures. These QA standards enhance the reputation of a company’s product and its overall image and also facilitate customer satisfaction, which is a dire need for every company.
Apart from this, QA practices help companies identify flaws in the process and try to implement better QA procedures to enhance product quality further and stay ahead of their competitors.
What is a QA Engineer?
The role that ensures the software quality meets the standards and further improves these practices to avoid malfunctioning of any software application is known as a QA engineer.
A team of QA engineers is necessary for every IT firm because they help evaluate the performance of software solutions and production processes to polish the company’s image and attract clients to opt for its solutions.
What Does a QA Engineer Do?
A QA engineer is responsible for assessing and testing parts of software solutions, such as codes, according to standards. They plan these practices according to the development phases planned by the software development team and design a structured process to carry out quality checks.
Furthermore, QA engineers divide the QA practices into different phases and set checkpoints to thoroughly analyze software codes and their other work functions, such as networking and data handling, to find flaws and resolve them with the help of software engineers.
Apart from the software engineers, QA engineers work alongside their team, which may include a test automation engineer, QA testers, QA managers, and a QA consultant to assess complex system flaws.
QA Engineer Roles
QA engineering offers multiple roles with their unique operations, but many firms use different names for similar roles even if they focus on performing similar tasks. For instance, a QA software tester is also known as a QA engineer. Moreover, they have defined these QA roles according to their skill sets and experience levels.
1. QA Analyst
A QA analyst is responsible for performing manual testing on software solutions, which includes using the software as a normal user, testing its UI, measuring its performance, and analyzing its defects and any lags to make a report for improving its agility.
Moreover, they might also test APIs, backend data, management systems, and most importantly the front end part, which is crucial for user satisfaction.
2. Test Automation Engineer
The test automation engineer is responsible for creating automated scripts, testing frameworks, and programs to perform tests and identify whether defects are resolved. They work on designing and building the test environment to reduce human hassles. Unlike QA analysts, they use the necessary coding practices to build these frameworks.
Additionally, because these environments are created with testing guidelines in mind, the process effectively performs quality checks.
3. QA Lead
The QA lead is the head of project testing who implements effective QA strategies and manages testing practices to standardize the product quality. Apart from this, they manage and prioritize the QA tasks according to deadlines and set checkpoints for each development phase to carry out testing procedures in a particular period.
Moreover, they create a status report, track testing metrics, and keep testing devices up and running.
QA Engineer vs. QA Tester
Many people and IT personnel often get confused between these roles, but it’s not that hard to understand. A QA engineer works more on the implementation of strategies that can perform effective quality checks. Whereas a QA tester works more on manual and automated testing to identify flaws and generate reports.
Moreover, the QA engineers study further enhancing quality assurance procedures to build more agile products for greater customer satisfaction, while a QA tester tests codebases and analyzes code modules to find errors in the system.
By this, we can conclude that QA engineers do all the strategies while QA testers apply those in real-world projects to find issues in the system.
QA Engineer Job Description
A good job description always attracts potential candidates to get interested in advertised roles, but the developers who are just beginning their journey as QA engineers should be aware of what a QA engineer’s job description contains, and how it portrays the ideal candidate for the role to understand their requirements and begin their preparations accordingly. The following job description will give aspiring QA engineers a brief idea of what a company demands in a candidate.
Responsibilities of a QA Engineer
- Implement effective tests to identify flaws and defects in a software solution.
- Analyze the defects and plan effective solutions to eliminate any flaws.
- Thoroughly analyze product quality to make possible alterations to facilitate greater customer satisfaction.
- Plan, implement and manage the QA practices whenever necessary.
- Work on documenting the test results for the software development team.
- Work along with software developers to eliminate complex flaws in the products.
- Investigate QA practices and make suggestions for improvements.
- Analyze and compare competitors’ products to improve performance and efficiency.
- Gather data on product performance and present test reports and metrics to seniors.
Skills, Requirements, and Qualification
- A bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, or any other related field
- Experience in developing and testing software applications.
- Strong knowledge of various operating systems.
- Excellent debugging and problem-solving skills.
- A decent understanding of popular programming languages such as Java, Python, and C++.
- Strong grasp of SQL databases and the Agile/Scrum development process.
- Robust knowledge of QA methods and their various tools and technologies.
- Experience in writing clear and comprehensive test cases and scripts.
- Hands-on experience in operating automated testing tools such as Selenium and Katalon Studio
- Excellent communication and team player skills.
How to Begin Your Journey as a QA Engineer
One might think that academic computer science is the only essential thing to get started with QA engineering. Yes, it’s true, but to be a skilled and competent quality assurance engineer, you need more than a degree to advance your career.
It may involve learning the essentials of QA engineering, popular computer science subjects, programming languages, and practical knowledge of using various frameworks, tools, and technologies to build and test software applications.
But to give you a clear idea of how to start, we have listed the following steps.
Of course, having a background in computer science is always advantageous since its curriculum includes all of the fundamentals of computers and software programs that you will learn in your freshman years and can easily lead to a career as a QA engineer.
Although if you don’t have a computer science background you might need to learn some of its fundamentals such as database management, programming languages basics, computer networking, etc to begin a career as a QA engineer.
Learn Programming Languages and Practice Coding
You must learn programming languages such as Python, Java, C++, and others to understand how software solutions are built and how codes execute a certain task. When you learn programming languages, you will be able to find and resolve defects in a system, which is the core responsibility of a QA engineer.
Youtube and other e-learning platforms are great if you want to learn from online tutorials and courses.
Furthermore, to polish and keep your programming skills up to date you have to practice coding. You can take the help of competitive programming sites such as Leetcode and others to solve various problems. This will help you to understand how the code executes, and your problem-solving skills will improve automatically.
Learn fundamentals of Database Management and Computer Networking
One of the most crucial subjects you should get familiar with is database management and computer networking because they are used by every other application and hence you should be aware of their basics.
Database management offers efficient ways to handle large and multiple types of data, while computer networking facilitates flawless interaction between multiple devices.
Moreover, these parameters are checked by the QA team to measure whether the software solution interacts with the necessary internet protocols and shares data efficiently. Similar to programming languages, you can learn these concepts online on YouTube and other e-learning platforms.
Learn Different Testing Methodologies and Tools Through QA Engineer Courses
A QA engineer should always be aware of various testing methods to implement the technique based on the relevant system failure. By starting to learn these methods in your freshman year with the help of various online QA engineer courses, you can get well versed in their different techniques, such as unit testing, integration testing, end-to-end testing, smoke testing, sanity testing, and many others.
Moreover, to apply these methods, you need to be aware of essential testing tools that perform effective quality checks and generate accurate reports. Selenium, Jira, Appium, JMeter, and many other tools are used for unique testing operations. You can pick a few and try testing your projects to get an idea of how to use them and when to use them to further strengthen your grip on QA practices.
Projects are essential for measuring your grasp of software development and testing practices. Hence, you have to consider building projects. Start with mini projects such as a library management system and a game and move ahead to more complex projects such as building an alumni website.
The projects will indeed enhance your coding skills and will give you an edge in understanding the errors in the system.
Apply for Internships
Internships are the best way to get hands-on experience working on real-world projects. They encompass real-world problems arising in software solutions, from errors to performance lags. By working as an intern QA engineer, you will understand how IT firms work on the software development life cycle(SDLC), how they plan and implement phases, and how they set checkpoints for testing.
Indeed, it is a pool of knowledge for you and you should dive deep to understand every other aspect of QA engineering and its methodologies.
Get Professional QA Engineer Certifications
Professional QA engineering certifications may increase your wages and also symbolize that you are a verified and experienced QA engineer, increasing your demand in the job market.
Following are the most valuable certificates that every QA engineer should have.
- Certified Associate in Software Testing(CAST).
- International Software Testing Assurance Board(ISTAB).
- Certified Test Engineer(CSTE).
- Certified Software Quality Analyst(CSQA).
Build a Portfolio, CV, and Start Applying for Jobs
Building a portfolio will allow you to engage with international recruiters, and you might get jobs overseas. Hence, you should start working on creating an online portfolio and CV.
The portfolio should contain all the important information regarding your academics, achievements, projects, and personal information. Additionally, you can deploy your project codes on Github(a version control system) and attach hyperlinks to the portfolio to give other developers and recruiters an idea of how your code works and the logic behind the project execution.
Ultimately, these things will bring you the focus of potential recruiters, which can turn out great for your career. But one should always remember to apply for jobs continuously, as many other developers showcase their portfolios online, and recruiters might overlook yours.
QA Engineer Salary
Now to the most awaited part. According to some of the recruitment sites in the US, a QA engineer earns roughly around $70,000 to $111,000 per year on average. However, the salaries differ based on experience level, job location, skills, and other factors.
In Europe, on average, the salaries offered for this role range from $52,000 to $110,000 per year.
In Asia, however, it changes according to country. For example, in India, which is a third-world country, the average salary offered for this role ranges from $5000 to $10,000 per year. whereas in Singapore it ranges from $5000 to $11,000 per year.
QA engineering is one of the most important domains as it helps IT firms determine and eliminate system failures for better customer satisfaction. While the IT industry is gaining huge momentum, the required workforce will eventually increase, and so does the demand for QA engineers.
For this reason, we can conclude that QA engineering has a bright future ahead and developers should opt for this role to advance their careers. And those seeking to become software testers or QA engineers can use this content to understand its key requirements to begin their quality assurance journey.