A Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer is someone who tests software products throughout the whole development process. They ensure that the product meets high quality standards before releasing it to the public.

But how do you become a QA Engineer? In this article, I will talk about the qualifications and process for becoming a QA engineer.

What is Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

When a product is being built, stakeholders have expectations and requirements. It is important that there is a process put in place to ensure that those high quality standards are being adhered to and mistakes in the product development are spotted and reported.

Quality Assurance focuses more on proactive processes while Quality Control focuses more on reactive corrections that need to be made.

Quality control also focuses on inspection and testing whereas Quality Assurance involves documentation, audits, and management.

Core skills needed for becoming a good QA engineer

Attention to detail

The role of a QA engineer involves being detail-oriented and thorough in order to spot issues or discrepancies in quality standards set for the product.

Good communication

QA engineers will be communicating with stakeholders, management, and developers for the product. Effective and clear communication between all parties involved is really important for the development process of a product.

Good time management

Since a QA engineer will have to balance multiple tasks throughout the day, it is important to have strong time management skills to ensure that you stay productive and are able to meet your deadlines.

Problem solving skills

Throughout the life cycle of a product, issues will arise. It is important that QA engineers have strong problem solving skills and are able to develop a plan to solve those issues.

Strong listening skills

A good QA engineer not only needs to be able to communicate but also listen to their development team, management, and stakeholders to ensure the successful launch of the product.

The ability to write a test plan

A test plan is a document detailing the objectives and testing processes that will be applied to the software product. QA engineers will work with other developers and stakeholders to develop this testing strategy.

An understanding of test automation tools and manual testing practices

It is helpful for QA engineers to be familiar with different automated testing tools like Selenium. They will also need to know how to effectively manually test products in order to identify bugs.

Strong understanding of the Software Development Life Cycle

A good QA engineer should understand the full life cycle of software products in order to effectively plan and test them.

Here are the 7 phases of the Software Development Life Cycle:

  1. Planning Stage
  2. Analysis Stage
  3. Design Stage
  4. Software Development Stage
  5. Software Testing Stage
  6. Implementation and Integration
  7. Operations and Maintenance Stage

Do you need to learn how to code become a QA engineer?

Learning programming fundamentals can help QA engineers build automated test suites to save time on manual testing and provide a better understanding of the development implementations by the software developers.

Some widely used programming languages to learn would be Java, C#, JavaScript, and Python.

Choose one language to learn to get an understanding of the programming fundamentals.

Do you need a Computer Science degree to become a QA engineer?

Having a Computer Science degree can help you when it comes to finding your first Quality Assurance job because a lot of employers still prefer a degree. If you have the time and money to pursue that path, that can be a viable option.

Other options would be to go to a bootcamp or teach yourself through online resources. If you are considering a bootcamp, please read through this helpful resource first.

Do you need certifications to become a good QA engineer?

QA certifications can help boost your resume and knowledge base. A lot of these certifications do require that you have degree from an accredited university or a few years of experience.

Here are some QA certifications you can look into:

  • Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST)
  • Certified Test Engineer (CSTE)
  • Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)

How to get a job as a QA engineer

Once you have learned programming, testing, and QA fundamentals then you can start looking for junior level positions. Make sure to build out a strong résumé and prepare for the QA interview questions using free online interview guides.

If you are self taught, it would help to have a little bit of experience through small contract work. If you are in a degree program, students will have access to internship opportunities and other career resources.

Salaries for QA engineers

Salaries for QA engineers will range depending on experience and location. The average base US salary according to payscale is $72,000.

I hope you enjoyed this article and best of luck on your software journey.