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Quality assurance (QA) engineer

Ensuring the quality and reliability of applications is paramount in the technology industry. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of a quality assurance (QA) engineer, a crucial player in the software development lifecycle. 

What is a QA engineer?

A quality assurance (QA) engineer is a professional responsible for ensuring that software products meet specified quality standards. 

QA engineers’ primary goal is to identify and rectify defects, bugs, and other issues before the software reaches end-users. They work alongside developers, product managers, and other stakeholders to deliver high-quality, error-free software.

Duties of a QA engineer

Here are the common duties of a quality assurance engineer: 

Test planning and strategy development

QA engineers are involved in creating comprehensive test plans that outline the testing approach, methodologies, and resources required for a particular project. 

They develop testing strategies to systematically assess the functionality, performance, and security of software.

Test case design and execution

QA engineers design test cases based on specifications and user requirements. These test cases serve as a roadmap for evaluating different aspects of the software, covering:

  • Functionality 
  • Usability
  • Compatibility across various devices and platforms 

They execute these test cases to identify defects and ensure that the software behaves as intended.

Defect identification and reporting

When issues are detected during testing, QA engineers meticulously document the defects, providing detailed information on how to reproduce them. 

Clear and concise defect reports facilitate efficient communication between the QA team and developers, aiding in the swift resolution of issues.

Performance testing

QA engineers assess the performance of software applications to ensure they can handle the expected load and provide optimal user experiences. 

Performance testing involves stress testing, load testing, and scalability testing to identify and address potential bottlenecks.

Automation testing

With the increasing complexity of software projects, QA engineers often employ automation tools to expedite the testing process. 

They develop automated test scripts and frameworks, enabling repetitive tests to be executed efficiently. These reduce human error and ensure consistency in testing.

Skills and requirements needed in a QA engineer

  • Technical proficiency – QA engineers need a strong understanding of programming languages, database management, and software development methodologies. 
  • Analytical skills – Analytical skills are vital for QA engineers to assess requirements, identify potential issues, and devise effective testing strategies. 
  • Attention to detail – Meticulous attention to detail ensures that no potential issues go unnoticed, contributing to the overall quality of the final product.
  • Communication skills – QA engineers need to articulate their findings clearly in defect reports and convey the status of testing activities to ensure a smooth workflow.
  • Adaptability – The software development landscape is constantly evolving, and QA engineers must be adaptable to stay abreast of new technologies, tools, and methodologies. 

Where to hire a QA engineer

Finding the right QA engineer is essential for the success of a software development project. Several avenues can be explored when looking to hire a QA engineer:

1. Job portals and websites – Utilizing popular job portals and websites dedicated to software development is a common method. Platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor often have a pool of qualified QA engineers seeking new opportunities.

2. Recruitment agencies – Engaging with recruitment agencies that specialize in IT and technology can streamline the hiring process. They have access to a network of qualified candidates and can help match companies with skilled QA engineers.

3. Networking events and conferences – Attending industry-specific events, conferences, and meetups provides an opportunity to connect with experienced QA professionals. 

4. Internal training programs – Companies can invest in internal training programs to upskill existing employees or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in QA. 

5. Outsourcing – Outsourcing has emerged as a viable option for businesses seeking to assemble proficient QA teams without the challenges and commitments associated with maintaining in-house resources.

Salary comparison

Consider the table when comparing the salaries of a quality assurance engineer in the US and an outsourced one from the Philippines. 

Annual salary figures are taken from Indeed and PayScale, respectively. 

JuniorMidSenior
USA$31,453$59,104$111,062
Philippines$728$6,586$15,305

On-site vs. Remote setup for a QA engineer

The choice between an on-site and remote setup for QA engineers depends on various factors, including project requirements, team dynamics, and organizational preferences.

On-site setup

In an on-site setup, QA engineers work physically within the office premises, allowing for immediate collaboration and communication with other team members. 

This setup is beneficial for projects that require constant interaction between QA engineers, developers, and stakeholders. It can enhance team cohesion and promote a sense of shared responsibility.

Remote setup

The trend towards remote work has become more prevalent in recent years, and QA engineers can efficiently perform their duties remotely. Remote setups offer flexibility, allowing QA engineers to work from different locations and time zones. 

This can be advantageous for attracting talent globally and accommodating diverse working preferences. However, effective communication and collaboration tools are essential to overcome the challenges of physical separation.

QA engineer job description template 

If you need a guide to help you get started in recruiting a quality assurance (QA) engineer, you may utilize this job description template. 

Interview questions for a QA engineer

To ensure you select a quality assurance (QA) engineer who aligns with your company goals and possesses the necessary skills and knowledge, you can use this set of interview questions.

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