Career path for a QA engineer

Aug 5, 2021

8 Min Read

We are moving towards a future governed by technology, which has become part of our everyday lives. As it advances, the need for qualified quality assurance engineers becomes high in big and small companies.

Quality Assurance (QA) Engineers make sure that the code written by other software developers is adjusted to company standards, which involves fixing or the removal of software errors.

Errors are hazardous enough to cause major issues to some companies. To avoid this, companies are ready to hire and pay professional QA engineers capable of greenlighting the best software of a company.

From this guide, we will provide you with the answers you need to become a quality assurance engineer and all the necessary information to help you make a better decision for choosing a quality assurance engineer as a career in 2021. We also have valuable sources that will let you know about the basic salaries, training programs, and all the information you need to get started.

What is a Quality Assurance Engineer (QA)?

A quality assurance engineer is a software programmer who endorses the revision and monitoring of every phase of a development process to ensure the company’s software meets its standards.

A QA engineer prevents code delays, checks the code for errors, notifies the software developers if any problem occurs, and ensures that developers meet the deadlines.

There is more to being a quality assurance engineer as its duties are different and wide-ranging. But generally, they perform the following responsibilities in common;

  • Discover errors in a software
  • Create software test plans
  • Document test cases
  • Code automated tests
  • Perform risk testing
  • Perform both manual and automated testing
  • Identify possible problems users may encounter
  • Develop standards and guidelines to ensure high code quality
  • Check out for new testing procedures
  • Track test results

Kindly take a look at our software engineering career guide now if you want to gain more knowledge on software development jobs.

Roles of a Quality Assurance Engineer

A quality assurance engineer ensures a high quality of code written by other developers is reached in every development process phase. They also ensure the quality of new software updates.

Before product production, the QA engineer further researches and checks for errors in the programming and gets them fixed.

The QA engineer will design the project plan by setting out its goals and writing down the procedures with the sections to review and check code testing before proceeding to the next phase in the development process.

After production, the QA engineer will make necessary corrections to any bugs that may occur in a final product.

Quality Assurance Engineer Career Outlook

There have not been records from The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on quality assurance engineers. However, the BLS states that software developers’ employment is now forecasted to increase by 21% in 2028.

Thus this rapid increase shows that the need for talented quality assurance engineers to review the code written by software developers will also increase in the same proportion.

Quality Assurance Engineer Salary

Since it is a diverse field of profession, quality assurance engineers get paid a wide range. Larger companies can offer higher salaries relative to smaller ones and a senior quality assurance engineer will earn more compensation than junior quality assurance engineers.

How much does a Quality Assurance Engineer make?

The answer to this depends on the type of company you are working for and whether it is a big company or a small company. It also includes your experience and location.

For instance, a QA engineer that works in Atlanta will earn more than $72,600, and this same QA engineer will earn over $95,600 working in San Francisco.

Nevertheless, the average annual salary QA engineers earn is about $82,000. And based on Glassdoor statistics, the following are quality assurance earnings:

  • Senior post: $108,000
  • Middle post: $72,000
  • Junior post: $57,000

How You Can Become a Quality Assurance Engineer

If you are aspiring to become a quality assurance engineer, the first thing to consider is how much education you need. In addition, we have three important points that can help you, and they are:

1.       Earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, a master’s degree is a plus.

2.       Do extensive self-learning on software development

3.       Apply for a short-term coding boot camps platform on software development.

Increasingly so, people are able to land jobs as quality assurance engineers through boot camps that make the career path more accessible. 

What are Coding Bootcamps?

Coding boot camps provide a practical substitute to college or university, where candidates that want to become software engineers are trained for their various careers in technology.

Unlike college where students spend four years, you will spend less than a year to complete a coding bootcamp. Some boot camps offer scholarships or a “no tuition until you land a job” type of system to make it even more accessible.

To find out more, check out StackCache’s overview of how coding boot camps work.

Bootcamps Graduates Hiring Companies are:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Oracle
  • Cisco
  • Uber

Where can You Learn Quality Assurance Engineering?

Some QA engineers enroll in a college or university to pursue their bachelor’s degrees in computer science. Some build on self-study to gain more experience in other Coding schools.

However, the most efficient way you can learn QA engineering is by attending Coding Bootcamp, which is technical training program specializing in software development and UX design. Their learning platforms aim to provide candidates the skills needed to pursue a chosen career in tech companies.

Coding Bootcamps Courses for Quality Assurance Engineering

  • Thinkful
  • App Academy
  • Rithm School
  • Flatiron School

Pros of Online Coding Bootcamps

  • Safer place to launch a career as a software developer
  • Well-designed program
  • Affordable
  • Good choices for both in-person and online Bootcamps
  • Associate with many people
  • Teach strong network development
  • Support peers and instructors unity

Cons of Online Coding Bootcamps

  • Fast learning method
  • Likely not as comprehensive as a full degree
  • Motivation and diligence are involved

Top Skills Quality Assurance Engineers Must Have

Software programming job requirements are now becoming challenging; therefore, your skillset in a QA engineering career would give you a step ahead of your competitors. There are two top skills QA engineers need to have both soft skills and technical skills.

Essential Technical Skills for Quality Assurance Engineers

Before you are qualified to become a quality assurance engineer, you must have the following technical (hard) skills:

High-Level Programming Language

You must be skilled in at least one programming language to become a web QA engineer. Although you may not need to make some adjustments to the codebase directly, you will write and make the necessary corrections when running test cases to reach a high-quality code. Your choice for a particular programming language depends on how you intend to use it. However, you must be skillful in HTML, CSS, and JS before you can become a web quality assurance engineer.

Document Test Cases

To become a QA engineer, you must have skills in creating test cases for a project and laying-out viable plans on carrying out all the tests. You must be able to detect and fix errors in each stage of the software development process correctly. You will have to adjust where needed to ensure that code reaches a standard before it is released to the market.

Automation Testing

QA automation is when you use another software to run some tests on the software you are developing. Automated testing can run many tests and also run advanced tests that are not easy to carry out by hand. So, you do not have to run a test for every line of code yourself. You must know about using automation tools like CircleCI for practicing continuous integration, Selenium, and Java as they are mostly used in projects. You can also use open-source tools with some knowledge you have in programming to write your personal script, which you can use to perform a test.

Agile Software Development

Agile software development is a method practiced by software engineers to run code through a series of phases, and iteration can be done to the code after some time. A QA engineer will test the designed code repeatedly to achieve a valuable improvement at each interval. A basic understanding of agile methodologies and software development will be a great help for your dream career.

Bug tracking

QA engineers need some excellent technical skills to press selected software hard. You can track every step gradually to find and chase down bugs. You must detect and record all the necessary data about the bugs you discover when carrying out your testing. After that, you must know how to report the bugs back to the software development team that wrote and designed the code with a deadline for fixing the bugs.

Essential Soft Skills for Quality Assurance Engineers

To become a quality assurance engineer does not solely depend on having technical skills. That’s the more reason why you need some interpersonal skills to emerge above your rivals. The “Soft” skills you need to have are listed below:

Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills are very important in any career. Therefore, a quality assurance engineer should have critical ideas for finding and solving problems for software testing. You must research and analyze the code deeply to reveal any possible situation and what causes the problem. Based on your requirements, you should analyze how to create a valuable quality assurance procedure for any organization.

Teamwork

QA always requires teamwork; the essential skill QA engineers need to have is working as part of the development team. You need to understand the project that other QA engineers in your department and other departments are doing.  Keep good relationships with other developers, be free to collaborate, and discuss technical opinions with them. You can help your fellow developers whenever they are under pressure and assign jobs to them whenever they have heavy tasks to keep up to standards.

Time Management

As a QA engineer, you need to make a plan for each day to improve and complete your work in time. As you are working with the software development team, you need to be conscious of the deadline to achieve a particular project.

Steps on How You Can Become a Quality Assurance Engineer

Besides providing you the helpful things you need to become a quality assurance engineer, we have a secret that will make you successful in your chosen career as a QA engineer. And the secret is by applying the necessary steps listed below:

  • Learn software development through a coding bootcamp, college, or self-study.
  • Develop and perfect your tech skills
  • Create your software development portfolio
  • Write your technical resume
  • Start your job research
  • Get ready for an online interview

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