How to Become a
Quality Assurance Engineer
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
If you are interested in software quality testing, becoming a quality assurance engineer might be for you. As technology continues to advance, more opportunities for software engineers emerge. This means that the need for quality assurance also increases.
Our comprehensive guide can help you learn how to become a quality assurance engineer. Read on for necessary skills, education pathways, and job outlook. You can become a quality assurance engineer in just a couple of years.
What Is a Quality Assurance Engineer?
A quality assurance engineer is a tech professional who monitors and tests software. They are also known as QA engineers. They make sure software meets industry and business standards throughout the development process. They also identify bugs, find design flaws, and provide feedback to their respective teams.
What Does a Quality Assurance Engineer Do?
A quality assurance engineer makes sure software is optimized and working well. QA engineers are like copy editors. They make sure everything looks good and makes sense according to client needs. Read below for some more QA engineer roles and responsibilities.
As a quality assurance engineer, your goal is to ensure that the final product is working efficiently. Therefore, you need to identify errors and bugs in the software. You should test the program throughout the development process and inform the team of any issues.
QA engineers also create software test plans and sometimes conduct automated tests. The tests are conducted from the perspective of the business and from the point of view of the future user. You will use data management systems to document test results.
Coordinates with a Team
Quality assurance engineers need to prevent defects before they happen, which involves teamwork. You should coordinate with the rest of your team to set goals and make sure the development process runs smoothly.
Team coordination includes meeting deadlines, creating extensive tests, monitoring progress, and writing reports. The whole development process should be documented so your whole team knows what’s going on.
Follows Industry Standards
Quality assurance engineers are also responsible for making sure software is up to industry standards. This also includes testing it for business and government standards. These standards can vary based on the project and your place of work.
QA engineers play a big role in assuring the financial success of the product. A good quality product is more likely to succeed in the market.
Quality Assurance Engineer Education Pathways
You can follow several educational pathways to become a quality assurance engineer. These include both long-term and short-term commitments. You can choose the pathway that suits you best. Below are three popular education routes that can help you become a quality assurance engineer.
Quality Assurance Engineer Degrees
One of the most straightforward ways to become a QA engineer is with undergraduate and graduate degrees. Today, most employers prefer hiring engineers with at least a bachelor’s degree. You can get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Systems, and more.
These degrees help you become proficient in code and familiar with the tech world. You can also get a master’s degree after your bachelor’s to become a QA engineer. With a master’s degree, you open yourself to senior roles in the industry.
Quality Assurance Engineer Bootcamps
If you’re wondering if coding bootcamps are worth it, they definitely are. A coding bootcamp is shorter than a degree and provides industry-relevant skills at a cheaper price. You can become a quality assurance engineer within a matter of months at a bootcamp.
There are tons of highly rated software testing bootcamps, including Alchemy Code Lab, Epicodus, and Hack Reactor. Coding bootcamps offer job training services, flexible schedules, affordable payment methods, and even job guarantees. If you’re new to the tech world and want to learn fast, try a coding bootcamp.
Quality Assurance Engineer Courses
Plenty of QA engineers are self-taught. Coding bootcamps and traditional college degrees don’t work for everyone, and you can find lots of resources for learning on your own. You can learn QA engineering with massive open online course (MOOC) platforms.
MOOC platforms offer short online courses that are usually free. You can begin by enrolling in beginner coding courses and move onto advanced QA engineering ones. You can choose from many popular MOOC platforms such Udemy, Coursera, edX.com, and LinkedIn Learning. They can help you build a portfolio and get a job in QA.
How to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide
You can take many steps to become a quality assurance engineer, so it might be hard to keep track. No QA engineer follows the same path, but there are some vital skills to learn. Follow the general steps below to learn everything you need to know to become a quality assurance engineer.
Learn to code
Every QA engineer needs to learn to code, so this is an important first step. You can enroll in online courses to teach you coding basics. Even if you want to enter a degree program, coding on your own is a great place to start.
Learn software development
Get certified in QA engineering
The QA engineering industry values certified professionals. After learning the tech skills you need, you should get certified. This can look good on your resume and help you get a job.
Build a professional portfolio
To become a desired candidate in the job hunt, you should build an impressive portfolio. Include the projects and certifications and apply for freelance jobs to enhance your portfolio. You can work on personal projects and learn as you go.
Apply for QA engineering jobs
This is the most difficult but most important step. You should prepare for technical interviews, take practice tests, and work on your personal presentation. You can use your bootcamp’s career assistance program or alumni network to meet people in the field.
Top Quality Assurance Engineer Skills
To become a successful quality assurance engineer, you need to know some essential skills. These include both technical skills and soft skills. As a QA engineer, you work with several departments, so being a team player with good communication skills can help you. Read below for some more essential QA engineer skills.
Quality assurance engineers sometimes use code automation to test software. Although they do conduct manual testing, automation has become a norm in QA. Therefore, you should understand automation software. You should be familiar enough to create your own automation scripts to track bugs and overall quality.
QA engineers work with big data, and test results and progress are stored in databases. To perform efficient testing, a QA engineer needs to have data skills. Some of the most popular databases include Oracle and MySQL, so learning those will help make your job easier.
Quality Assurance Engineer Salary and Job Outlook
Quality assurance engineering is a promising career because technology only continues to improve. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for software developers will grow by 22 percent by 2029. This number indicates a good future for QA engineers.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a QA engineer is nearly $81,000 per year. This makes it one of the highest-paying and most lucrative jobs in tech. The salary can change depending on your experience, company, and location. The average QA engineer’s salary is roughly $75,000 in Atlanta and about $95,000 in San Francisco.
Entry-Level Quality Assurance Engineer Job Requirements
Entry-level quality assurance engineer job requirements change according to the company and location. However, you can get these jobs with coding bootcamp certifications, bachelor’s degrees, and other essential certifications.
The primary requirements include software development knowledge, analytical skills, and QA engineering skills. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary of an entry-level quality assurance engineer is $50,400 per year. This is a great starting salary for any tech professional.
How to Prepare for Your Quality Assurance Engineer Job Interview
The best way to prepare for your quality assurance engineer job interview is to read the job requirements and take note of the required skills. This means if the position needs plenty of automation, you should emphasize your automation skills. Below are popular QA engineering interview questions to help you practice.
Quality Assurance Engineer Job Interview Practice Questions
- Tell us about your experience with software testing.
- How do you maintain quality while meeting deadlines?
- Why did you decide to enter quality assurance engineering?
- Describe your typical quality assurance testing process.
- Tell us about how you identified and fixed a bug.
- How do you communicate issues with the software development team?
Quality Assurance Engineer Certifications
Quality assurance engineering certifications are a great way to improve your resume. You can stay up-to-date with new standards as well as get more attention from hiring teams. Below are the most popular QA engineering certifications you can get.
Certified Test Engineer (CSTE)
The Certified Test Engineer certification proves your foundational knowledge in quality control. This is available for QA engineers with an education and some work experience. This certification exam costs between $350 and $420. This is a great option for new engineers because you only need a 70 percent score to pass.
Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST)
The Certified Associate in Software Testing certification also proves your basic background in quality assurance and IT. Unlike the CSTE, CAST requires less work experience and is priced at $100. CAST also expects 70 percent or more to pass. If you are a true beginner, this certification is a great place to start.
Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)
The Certified Software Quality Analyst certification covers advanced quality control subjects. This certification comes after CSTE and is ideal for more experienced QA engineers. It requires several years of work experience which varies depending on your background. The certification costs between $350 and $420.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer?
The time it takes to become a quality assurance engineer varies according to your education pathway. The shortest path to becoming a QA engineer is with MOOCs and coding bootcamps, which can take a few weeks to a few months. However, to become prominent in the field, you will need to spend lots of time enhancing your portfolio.
Many QA engineers also opt for a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes four years. A bachelor’s degree will help you get an entry-level position in QA engineering. You can also get a Master’s Degree in Computer Science to get a senior position, which can take you an extra two or three years.
Why You Should Become a Quality Assurance Engineer in 2021
You should become a quality assurance engineer if problem-solving and software testing interest you. The job possibilities include everything from freelancing to working at companies like Google. You can get a lucrative job with just a few years of education.
Moreover, this field provides many career paths in IT and computer system analysis. Software is here to stay, so quality assurance engineers have a bright future ahead.
Quality Assurance Engineer FAQ
A quality assurance engineer is judged on both technical and soft skills. Some popular QA engineer interview topics include bug identification, coding languages and tools, and the development process.
Yes, quality assurance engineers are in high demand in 2021. The job outlook for software developers is higher than average, which increases the demand for QA engineers.
Although both QA testers and QA engineers work to ensure software quality, their job descriptions differ in many ways. A tester usually works at the end of the software development life cycle, but an engineer is part of the entire process.
Quality assurance engineers monitor quality during the software development process. They work with the development team to make sure the software is up to standard with no bugs.