A rise in tech companies often brings a rise of software engineers, including engineers that specialize in software quality assurance (SQA or QA). While every company works differently with quality control QA engineers (ex. some have an independent QA team, some have one or two people within the company, and some embed QA personnel with every development team), it's safe to say there is need for these kind of software specialists.
In fact, according the Stake Overflow Blog, QA was considered one of the fastest growing targets in 2017—meaning, in their opinion, there is high demand for QA engineers, and not enough qualified people to fill these positions. Ready to start your QA engineer career?
A QA engineer's job is to prevent bad software from being seen by customers. How customers interact with software determines their relationship with whatever product is being sold. That means QA engineers need to find every possible way to break software, and then report where the software testing failed to developers for a fix. Without QA engineers, there are clunkier workflows and broken processes. Being in the tech driven world we live in today, tech companies that want to remain in business really can't afford the absence of QA engineers. The software tester job outlook is looking good.
If breaking things for a living hasn’t already persuaded you into a Software Quality Assurance career path, maybe CareerBliss's list of happiest jobs in the nation will. SQA professionals have made this list more than once in recent years. (Apparently breaking things can make for a happy life.)
There are three types of QA jobs along with their related activities, though different companies will name them differently:
This is one of the most entry level QA jobs. Software QA testers use an existing software test and tools to find bugs in software for developers to fix.
This is the next level up in QA. As a software developer in test, you will not only run tests, but you may also be involved in the software development and fix some of the bugs yourself, cutting out some of the back and forth between developer and test.
With a director title, this QA professional will have more involvement in software development than the others. From management to planning, to development, piloting and beyond, the QA director makes sure their teams are meeting the needs of the company and their customers.
The QA tester average salary is $65,480, but can vary significantly depending on experience and region. Naturally, with time, effort, practice, and certifications, an entry-level QA tester can progress into a more seasoned position, perhaps even someday becoming a director.
QA lead instructor AJ Larson expressed, "Perhaps the most rewarding part of being a QA engineer is seeing the result, or impact, great software can have on a product."
Becoming a QA engineer, or tester, will require some education. Larson says you can get QA training with one or more of the following ways.
This requires a lot of self-studying and there are night/weekend courses you can take to prepare for the certification. The book costs around $40, depending on where you purchase it. There will also be a fee for the certification. This certification will look really good to hiring managers and HR professionals.
Find someone who knows QA, and have them teach you everything they know. Mentorship is best for whatever level you are at in QA. Not only will they help you increase your QA abilities, but mentors will be a good connection to have when you are ready to find a job.
There are many resources online that can help you learn QA testing, however, this is best for people with a CS degree. If you choose to self teach, it’s recommended that you couple that with a mentor as you learn to code.
Emerging yourself into a bootcamp can offer you a quick and effective way to learn QA whether you have a CS degree, development background, or no coding background. At a bootcamp you can also find easy access to mentors, and be welcomed into a QA community, which can be helpful when you're ready to find a QA entry level jobs.
Although there are few opportunities for Quality Assurance Bachelor's degrees, they are not necessary for finding a QA job.
There really is nothing better than releasing a product and seeing it flourish. If you're ready to join the tech industry by starting—as Forbes says—a happy career in QA, take the time to learn how.