If you’re working in a start-up environment, especially those involving software and apps, you may encounter one or two quality assurance (QA) engineers. They are the ones testing the software or apps before it’s launched, finding out bugs, potential issues and its fixes. If you want to know more and find out what they’re doing, read on.
What Is a Software Quality Assurance Engineer?
A Software Quality Assurance or QA Engineer is someone who works together with project managers and developers in testing, finding bugs, potential issues, and coming up with its fixes. QA engineers are key players in a software development and distribution cycle, and it’s their job to ensure every aspect of the product adheres to specific quality standards and requirements before its release.
Not only are they the one doing the testing and bug fixing, QA engineers are also required to continuously improve the software or app development process by detecting errors and preventing defects from recurring again.
QA engineers' backgrounds usually start out as computer scientists, software developers, or software engineers. A lot of companies usually hire QA engineers from their own existing pool of developers, especially those with adequate strategic and communication skills.
What Is The Role of a Software Quality Assurance Engineer?
As its title suggested, the main role of a software quality assurance engineer is to assure quality. It’s their prime directive to improve software development process by preventing defects and identifying issues before it becomes a problem. It’s also imperative that the QA engineer also finds out what needs to be done to fix said issues and collaborate with both project manager and developers to come up with the most efficient solution.
Software QA engineers will spend most of their day doing a lot of testing, whether it’s creating the test, or analysing them. Here are several roles a QA engineer can execute, depending on the scale of the company or the project, one QA engineer may be assigned to each of these roles or that one person will have to take up all the roles by themselves.
QA Test Designer
QA test designer oversees designing tests based on the requirements and plans that are necessary for the testing. These tests need to demonstrate that the software or app meets all the requirements in both expected (bugs) and unexpected (issues) scenarios. It’s QA test designers’ job to design a test that is able to eventually identify the issue and find out exactly what causes it.
QA Test Executor
A QA test executor is the person who performs the pre-designed tests, describes and documents their findings (bugs, error, issues, potential issues, etc.), and -when possible, fix them. QA engineers will use the documents prepared by the QA test executor as a base to communicate the result to key stakeholders.
QA Test Analyst
A QA test analyst’s role is to document, analyse, and reproduce issues so that future tests can ensure the problems are fully resolved by static testing said requirements and checks them for completeness and consistency. By analysing a test result, QA test analysts dig deeper into the issue to make sure that everything is covered and assessed accordingly.
QA Test Manager
QA test manager is the one managing all the other QA test engineers and making sure that they’re keeping up with the deadlines. It’s the QA test manager’s job to distribute tasks, controlling requirements to tests, and communicating with key stakeholders about the process and result of the software’s test.
Quality Assurance Engineer Responsibilities
Quality Assurance Engineer responsibilities revolve around testing, whether it’s designing tests, analysing them, or simply documenting its result, it’s their job to prevent defects by doing all those tests. Here is the detail of a QA engineers’ responsibilities on a day-to-day basis:
- Making sure the software complies with all requirements
- Design a detailed, comprehensive, and well-structured test plans
- Plan, prioritize and coordinate testing phases
- Write, develop, and execute test cases or test scripts
- Apply testing processes for new and existing software or apps
- Identify, record, document and track the lifecycle of bugs, issues, or errors
- Find out what causes the bug, error, or issues in the software, and implement the solution
- Implement regression testing when bugs and errors are resolved
- Monitor closely of the debugging process results
- Analysing test results and making sure that the same bug, error or issues did not return
- Maintain and review requirements, specifications, and technical design documents
- Keep track of key quality assurance metrics such as defect densities and open defect counts
- Collaborate with developers and project managers to identify system requirements and devising fixes for bugs, error, and issues
- Plan ideas to improve process and further product quality
- Keeping up to date with the latest in testing tools and strategies
What Makes a Great Quality Assurance Engineer
What makes a great quality assurance engineer is their strategic, curious, creative, and proactive nature in approaching their role and responsibilities. A good QA engineer is highly organized and flexible in adjusting their priorities. While detail oriented, they also understand the big picture, so they can consider all options and know that each decision taken may impact the software’s progress.
Not only do they conduct tests to find out bugs, errors, and issues, QA engineers also come up with the solution and write up best practices to avoid repeating them. And on the other hand, great QA engineers can balance the pressures of key stakeholders with the pace and needs of developers. The product comes first, a good quality software with no bugs, errors, or issues upon its release.
Here are some skills a great quality assurance engineer must possess:
- Able to code using UFT/QTP, Katalone, MS Coded UI, Ruby, Cucumber, Watir, Selenium, etc.
- Understanding in Packaged Software, Web Apps, Windows-based apps, Web services, Mobile apps, and other variety of software apps.
- Able to work with QA/Testing tools such as Azure DevOps, TFS, SOAP UI, HP ALM, JIRA, etc.
- Understand and able to write in SQL scripts to work with a variety of databases.
- Highly experienced with Agile Development Process and Web-Based Testing Apps.
- Exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills
- Strong attention to detail
- Open to thinking outside the box
- Continuously learning new methods and technologies
- Able to break projects into actionable goals
- Able to identify areas of improvement
- Correctly analyse test results
- Clearly interpret technical and business objectives into actionable
- Proactive, flexible, initiative, and persistent
- Function well both in independent, and team-based environment
- Able to work in a fast-paced environment
- Able to perform and document risk analysis
- Able to document test progress and results
- Highly capable in both oral and written communication
Software Quality Assurance Engineer is a highly versatile role in a complex technical environment.
Not only do they have to be knowledgeable and equipped with the skills required, but they also need to be constantly aware of the latest best-practice techniques, specifications, and frameworks out there. Constant self-development is key to becoming a great software quality assurance engineer.
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