How to Get Started as a
Quality Assurance Engineer
Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant
Quality assurance engineers are responsible for ensuring that codes written by developers are compliant with company standards. With the help of quality assurance (QA) engineers, bugs can be fixed before they cause issues. This is why big companies want to hire exemplary QA engineers that can help them create premium software.
This article covers information on how to become a quality assurance engineer, including what paths to take, credentials to build, and certifications to acquire. We’ve also provided details on available training programs, expected salaries, and possible job interview questions.
What Is a Quality Assurance Engineer?
A quality assurance engineer is a tech professional who monitors every phase of the software development process. They ensure that the software being developed is compliant with the company’s standards.
QA engineers also ensure that the developers are meeting their deadlines. Before a feature or project is completed, the QA engineer informs the developers of code-related issues. This way, glitches and bugs are fixed before they can cause a significant loss to the company.
How Does Quality Assurance Engineering Relate to Data Science?
Both fields are related because exemplary QA engineers and testers use data to do their jobs. Data science and artificial intelligence streamline the QA engineering process. Both fields require inquisitiveness and data-driven disposition.
Furthermore, testing can be introduced in every aspect and phase of the data science process. Testing in these phases guarantees that the data values inputted into the models being evaluated or trained are all of the optimal quality.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer?
It takes around four years to become a quality assurance engineer. The most common pathway is pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Acquiring additional certifications may take a few more months, and a master’s degree would take another two years.
If you are interested in changing careers, online courses and boot camp programs can provide quick access to new information. After earning a boot camp certificate, you always have the chance to upskill or specialize in a topic to further your career and income opportunities.
Where to Study Quality Assurance Engineering
Where you study will depend on what your goals are. If you know you want to enter quality assurance engineering, you can opt for a specialized bootcamp or course. If you’re unsure, you can get a more general degree from a community college or university.
Quality Assurance Engineer Community Colleges
Quality assurance is also known as quality engineering. A good software engineering program helps prepare an individual for future posts as industrial engineers, inspectors, project managers, and quality auditors. You can choose a software engineering or computer science degree.
Quality engineer programs are a good choice for those who need to earn more qualifications for performance improvement or promotion. Associate degree programs are also best for people who wanted to enter the QA engineering field for the first time.
Quality Assurance Engineer Universities
As mentioned above, most positions in quality assurance require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. These fields include software engineering, computer science, and information systems technology.
A master’s degree in one of those fields will supply you with deeper knowledge and allow you to obtain higher positions. You can also enroll in a master’s degree program that’s concentrated in business or related to the industry you’re involved in.
Quality Assurance Engineer Coding Bootcamps
If you don’t have the time and resources to go through a degree program, coding bootcamps offer intensive classes. They can help you specialize your skills and add to a degree that you already have.
The best coding bootcamps involve rigorous learning sessions that culminate with a test or practical exam to gauge your learning. You will also complete a final project to provide hands-on experience. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Dropbox, Linkedin, and Google often hire bootcamp graduates.
Quality Assurance Engineer Online Courses
You can earn a certificate or diploma without attending a traditional university. Courses are a short-term way to upskill in your career. You can enroll in online courses offered by platforms like Coursera, Udemy, American Society for Quality, and Alison.
These platforms offer courses that are self-paced yet comprehensive. You can expect to take quizzes and exams while also completing hands-on projects. For more detailed information on the specifics of the course, you can also refer to the course’s syllabus before you register.
How to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide
The following guide offers a straightforward outline to help you jumpstart your career as a quality assurance engineer.
Choose an education pathway
The first thing you need to do before deciding is to choose which education route you should take. If you have the time and resources, opt for a four-year degree. If you already have a degree, coding bootcamp and online learning platforms offer fast-paced education options.
Decide which school or platform to enroll in
Once you’ve decided which education pathway to take, it’s time to choose an institution. It’s important to consider your personal learning preferences. You should also research course syllabi, success rates, student support, networking options, and other school resources.
Earn relevant experience
Work-related experience after graduating from a university, bootcamp, or online platform is as crucial as the degree or training itself. Relevant experience in entry-level positions or internships will give you a competitive advantage when advancing in your career.
Build your portfolio
You need to show prospective employers that you are skilled and experienced in all aspects of the role. To illustrate these, you need to create a portfolio that includes all types of industry, features, programs, and products you’ve worked on.
Upskill and become an expert
You can never go wrong in choosing to improve yourself by upskilling, attending more training, or enrolling in a master’s degree program. Specializing in a topic can make you invaluable as an employee.
Entry-Level Quality Assurance Engineer Job Requirements
Entry-level quality assurance positions require skills in software testing and programming languages. According to PayScale, the entry-level salary for a quality assurance engineer is $60,484 per year. Opportunities to upskill and further your education will provide you with more leverage and higher income.
Quality Assurance Engineer Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), quality assurance analysts and testers earn an average salary of $110,140 per year. There will always be a high demand for QA engineering and similar fields. Generally, QA engineer salaries are above the national average.
Example Quality Assurance Engineer Job Interview Questions
- What makes you a unique candidate for this position?
- Is it the QA engineer’s role to resolve production issues? Why?
- How do you prioritize and organize yourself when you have numerous tasks to complete?
- Could you share an instance when you missed an issue and how you dealt with the aftermath?
- What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on, and how did you manage it?
What Does a Quality Assurance Engineer Do?
A QA engineer tests products, assesses risks, and analyzes results. The specific role of a QA engineer depends on the kind of company they work for. They are typically tasked to track, test, and manage the product development process from beginning to end.
Their goal is to establish product safety nets to ensure their output is compliant with regulations and ready for the market. We’ve outlined some of the more specific skills you will need to be a quality assurance engineer.
To ensure that every product is compliant with standards and regulations, QA engineers discuss the possible fixes and life cycle of errors with the developers. From there, they develop a system to fix these defects.
Checks and Tests Products
One of the main tasks of a QA engineer is to test products and software before they are released. This is most relevant to QA engineers who are assigned the title of test analyst. They usually engage in static testing and checking off requirements for consistency and completeness.
Since QA engineers are responsible for the overall quality of the product, they are also responsible for assessing the risks that come with it. They usually work closely with developers to identify problem areas and establish a tracking system to measure and troubleshoot possible glitches.
Evaluates Test Results
After submitting the product or feature to a series of tests and retests, they evaluate the results. They use the said evaluation as the basis on whether or not the product has passed those tests.
Essential Quality Assurance Engineer Skills and Certifications
Universities, online learning platforms, and bootcamps offer education on technology and opportunities to network. However, if you want to be an in-demand QA engineer, you need to develop the following skills.
Quality Assurance Engineer Skills
Test scripts are used to validate app or software quality during testing. To be categorized as an effective test script, a program should include all the necessary steps for using a program and its results. Therefore, QA engineers are expected to execute and design fully automated test scripts for navigational and functional testing.
This popular programming language is all-purpose and can be utilized for web and software development. To be an in-demand QA engineer, you need to be well-versed in updating and running automation scripts following the Selenium and Python requirements.
Another skill that an in-demand QA engineer should have is proficiency in Java. Most of the time, they need to perform regression testing using a Java-based application. Here, they will evaluate the functionality of various application versions. Besides that, they will also be tasked to design, develop, and implement POM automation frameworks.
Quality Assurance Engineer Certifications
Professional certifications prove to prospective employers that you have the necessary skills for the job. Below are the top five certifications a QA engineer should consider earning.
Certified Test Engineer (CSTE)
This certification from the OAI Global Institute is ideal for new quality assurance engineers looking for a resume and experience boost. To qualify for this, you need to have a combination of education of work experience. You need to get a 70 percent score to pass the exam.
Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)
This certification, also from the OAI Global Institute, is more advanced than those mentioned above because it covers both quality assurance and quality control. However, it has the same requirements as the CSTE. This is a good certification because it focuses on software.
Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST)
This is also excellent QA training for newbies because it certifies that you have a fundamental understanding of the technical IT software features. To qualify, you don’t need as much experience as the certifications above. The CAST certification is also offered by the OAI Global Institute.
Certified Manager of Software Quality (CMSQ)
This certification ensures that the holder is professionally competent in software QA abilities, skills, and principles. Ideally, you need to have CSQA Certification and a job in the field. If you’re interested in management, this is the best certification for you from the OAI Global Institute.
International Software Testing Qualifications Board Certification (ISTQB)
This is by far the least demanding and tedious in terms of qualifications. It only requires the applicant to have at least six months of related experience before filing for certification. It can open up many different opportunities in the field. This is a great general QA assurance engineer certification.
Reasons to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer in 2021
There is a steady demand for skilled quality assurance engineers this year and beyond. You will have more career paths and a high salary when you’re a software tester. If you want to explore other career options, you can also be an automation test engineer, business analyst, or data scientist. You should become a QA engineer in 2021.
Quality Assurance Engineer FAQ
Is it challenging to start a career as a QA engineer?
It can be challenging if you are not passionate about software engineering. However, if you’re an eager learner with a passion for improving your skills, you can go far in this career.
Is QA engineering a good job?
Yes. Quality assurance engineers are among some of the most satisfying tech professions. It’s a high-paying career that can be very rewarding.
Does QA testing have a bright future?
Yes, as we rely more on technology, software testing is a necessity. Nowadays, you can quickly advance on the corporate ladder by starting as a test engineer. After a while on the job, you can be promoted to a senior QA engineer post.
How will QA testing evolve?
There will be a high demand for speed and diligence in the future, and automation will help. However, not all testing jobs can be automated. Therefore, there will still be a high need for QA testers adept in technologies and test management tools.