The origin of software programs came with a chain of processes where they were tested according to some industry standards, this automated testing and software quality checking was briefly introduced to the world as SQA. Previously it only involved debugging and configuring the software application but as software development enhanced its capabilities to deliver effective software solutions it rose with tremendous demand. Software quality checks became a necessity of the development cycle as they helped resolve complex development issues, over time they evolved and got influenced by new approaches which made them more agile. Many freshmen year computer science students are unaware of its work function and how does this process operates hence, we have brought this article to explain what and why software quality assurance is important, where we will heavily discuss what is it and why is it crucial, what are different SQA models and much more so stick till the end to find out as it will benefit you in knowing how software applications undergo quality checks and how they become error-proof.
What is SQA and SQA Activities
SQA Stands for software quality assurance which is a method for analyzing and monitoring the software development processes and product development approaches that ensures whether the necessary industry standards are followed or not. You can consider the SQA process as a food inspection process where the inspector monitors if the food is being made in a hygienic environment.
It plays an important role as it helps define the process of software development, what approaches should be taken to develop softwares, what precautions should be followed while building the software solution, and much more.
SQA activities encompass many activities but some of its examples are, SQA management planning, setting multiple checkpoints, using multiple testing approaches, checking change impacts and keeping healthy relations. These activities were designed to develop a robust development cycle that developers can follow to build software solutions effectively.
Software Quality Assurance Examples
1. SQA Management Planning
- i) First things first before any SQA team makes any decision they have to plan activities as per the scope of the project and perform them accordingly.
- ii) Afterwards, they need to make sure which activities are best for respective projects to know its specification and how those particular activities will figure out the flaws.
- iii) Another major factor here is considering having juniors as well as seniors engineers in the team to get different ideas on different project aspects.
2. Setting Multiple Checkpoints
- i) The SQA team needs to set checkpoints for quality checks at different levels which will allow them to complete quality testing at the particular phase preventing overburdening of the project quality check in the end.
- ii) This also allows them to point out any flaws at different phases so the team can take action and interact with the development team to resolve the issue. Moreover, this evaluates the performance of the software solution and helps the SQA team on determining the direction of the software development.
3. Using Multiple Testing Approaches
- i) SQA teams may have to test solutions with the help of different testing approaches as sometimes one tool might not be able to point out any bugs or software fixes.
- ii) Multiple testing approaches are the best if SQA teams want to deliver effective software solutions to the clients. Because one of them will be able to identify some crucial flaws that may affect the backend and frontend parts of the system.
4. Checking Change Impact
- i) Checking change impact is a crucial point as it affects the flow of the program and creates some new errors which might get overlooked.
- ii) Whenever the SQA team finds an error or a bug they interact with the development team for necessary fixes, and after a few days when they receive the update on the fixes they tend to accept it and move forward, this shouldn’t happen as that fixes might affect other codebases and create new bugs or problems.
- iii) These problems will only get noticed when they perform quality checks in the end, which creates uncertainty because they won’t be getting enough time to fix these errors, hence it’s important to take measures of these changes.
5. Keeping Healthy Relations
- i) Keeping healthy relations with the development team is the top priority of the team as they may run into arguments regarding bug fixes and other software development issues.
- ii) The development team works on the development cycle round the clock while the SQA team checks its performance and bugs to get them fixed by developers, if the deadline is tight then the situations may arrive where one team might pressure the other to get work done on time, these troublesome situations must be addressed by both the team leads to keep good relations and follow work ethics effectively.
What does a Software Quality Assurance Engineer Do
A software quality assurance engineer is responsible for monitoring every other development phase of software development to ensure the development standards are followed for quality product development. They test the whole development cycle and software solution ecosystem, find out flaws and work with the development team to fix the issues, this allows them to help build a quality product for the client’s use.
Responsibilities of an SQA Engineer
- Plan SQA management and carry out different quality checks accordingly.
- Use different testing tools to find out any flaws such as Testim, and Kobiton.
- Define checkpoints throughout the development cycle and implement necessary quality checks.
- Review resolved errors and re-check them to identify further flaws.
- Manage team members and assess their work.
- Interact with the development team to find out any issues in the development cycle.
- Research on different aspects of projects to implement new strategies for quality checks.
Required Skill Sets and Qualifications for SQA Engineer
- Bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, or any other circuital branch.
- Strong understanding of SQA methodologies.
- Must have basic knowledge of different QA models.
- Basic Knowledge of testing and automation tools such as Testmi and Kobiton.
- Robust knowledge of Programming knowledge, SQL database and scripting.
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Time Management Skills.
Why Software Quality Assurance is Important
We have been discussing the introductory part and some basic insights on SQA for a while now. Let’s move ahead and see why it is important, so you can understand why it has become the necessity of the software development cycle.
1. Detects Bad Development
You might think why do we need SQA, we have developers who can also check for bugs and fix them and move forward with the development cycle right. Well yes, developers do check for bugs using IDEs but it’s not only the codes which get reviewed by QA. Their area of focus goes beyond the development as they perform necessary analytics on every other factor like how well the software solution is equipped for network functionalities to get a better understanding of communicating issues with APIs, testify its security functions, and contact network engineers for any resolutions regarding network issues.
2. Allows Faster and Stable Development
No doubt developers work round the clock to deliver the solution within the deadline and since they are occupied with their tedious tasks they won’t be able to perform SQA tasks and even if they did they will miss out on convention which reflects their occupation. SQA engineers speed up the process of production by introducing strategies for quality checks that enable getting aware of possible misconfiguration, and other defects to monitor the performance of a system. Doing so they bring a great deal of quick functioning as they interact with the development team regarding bugs and solve them effectively in compliance with project deadlines. This lets them deliver a stable version of their software solution to their clients at a faster pace.
3. Elevates Company’s Reputation
No client would want a defective solution that runs into errors and crashes every time and not to forget this gives a huge bump to your IT company’s reputation, hence the assurance team makes sure that the developed product performs well and won’t run into any issues to provide clients with smooth operating experience and keep good relations. Providing clients with the optimum solution can greatly improve your company’s reputation which again will spread your product’s robust features bringing international clients to your doorstep.
Software Quality Assurance Model
Several SQA models are used for effective product development, these models were designed to introduce the strategic implementation of standards for quality production. Following are the different SQA models that help standardize your projects.
- Capability Mature Models(CMM).
- Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination (SPICE).
- ISO 9000 Standard.
Software Quality Assurance Course
Considering the demand for software development worldwide the SQA has a bright future ahead and if you want to become an SQA engineer then you have to start off with the help of some basic to advanced courses that will enhance your knowledge of SQA and help you make an elite SQA engineer. Below are some of the best software quality assurance tutorials and courses that will help you learn the SQA essentials so you can begin your career journey in this field.
Udemy- Software Quality Assurance by Micheal Cesino.
Coursera- Information Systems Auditing, Controls and Assurance by Garvin Percy.
Software Quality Assurance Jobs
SQA jobs are important to quality check the software development procedures such as its management, setting checkpoints etc. as there are millions of software companies each of them requires these SQA engineers for all these assurance activities. For this reason, SQA jobs are forever in high demand as they control the whole process and do necessary alterations for effective quality checks.
According to research data, the SQA jobs are expected to grow by 22% by the end of 2030, this is a huge percentage and it shows how much the IT firms are in need to hire these roles. Around 185,000+ jobs are posted per year to get talented SQA engineers and elevate their product standards, for this reason, quality assurance is one of the best careers that offers huge job opportunities.
Software Quality Assurance Salary
According to Glassdoor, In the USA the average median salary of an SQA engineer ranges from 53,000K to 110,000K per year. Also as demand for software development surges, the salaries are likely to increase soon. So if the salary is the thing that motivates you then you can consider pursuing this career where you will be a part of a professional team who helps deliver quality products for enterprise needs.
Software and mobile applications have become a necessity of our everyday life as we depend on them heavily and if we want them to be error-proof then software quality assurance is the method to do so. If you are an aspiring software developer or SQA engineer who wants to enter the world of quality assurance then this career is ideal for you, with that being said if you don’t know anything regarding SQA and its basics this article contains all the necessary information that you want, to further elevate your knowledge. QSA has been around for almost 3 to 4 decades and as it goes under further technological enhancements new models will shape the future software development cycle to a greater extent.