Every tech company needs software developers, including engineers that specialize in quality assurance (QA). While every company is different in how they work with QA engineers (ex. some having an independent QA team, some having one or two people within the company, and some embedding QA personnel with every development team), it’s safe to say there is a high demand for these kind of software specialists.

In fact, just last year, QA was considered one of the fastest growing targets out there. Meaning, there is high demand for QA engineers, and not enough qualified people to fill these positions. And, the demand is only increasing and becoming more popular.

Tech companies need QA engineers.

In a nutshell, software QA is getting paid to break software,” says AJ Larson, quality assurance lead instructor at DevMountain.

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 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.

Work life and pay for a QA engineer

If breaking things for a living hasn’t already convinced you into changing careers, maybe Forbes top 10 list of happiest jobs in the nation will. QA professionals have made their list for the last four out of five years. Apparently breaking things can make for a happy life.

There are three different types of QA jobs. Different companies will name them differently, but here are the three basic types of QA jobs available in the tech industry:

  • QA Software Testers

This is the most entry level QA position. QA software testers use existing tests to find bugs in software. Once the report comes back with bugs, they send a report to developers to fix. Because this is the most entry level QA position, average yearly pay is $73,264.

  • QA Software Developer in Test

This is the next level up in QA. As a software developer in test, you will not only run tests, but you will also fix some of the bugs you find, cutting out some of the back and forth between developer and test. Because this type of QA engineer has a few more skills, they make on average $78,000 a year.

  • QA Director

With a director title, this QA professional will have the most involvement in software development than the others. From planning, to development, piloting and beyond, the QA direction makes sure their teams are meeting the needs of the company and their customers. Their average yearly pay is $141,162.

Naturally, with time, practice, and certifications, an entry level QA tester can evolve into a QA director. But, this will require constant nurturing and education in the QA field.

How to become a QA engineer

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.

  • Mentorship

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.

  • Self Teach

There are many resources online that will 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.

  • QA Bootcamp

Emerging yourself into a bootcamp will offer you the quickest, most effective way to learning QA whether you have a CS degree, development background, or no coding background. And, most bootcamps won’t just teach you entry level QA; they will also teach you how to create QA tests. At bootcamp you will also find easy access to mentors, and be welcomed into the QA community. That will be helpful when ready to find a job.

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. 

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