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QA Profession – Who is a QA Engineer?

Today's IT industry creates many jobs, but it still suffers from a shortage of qualified personnel. The fact is that there are hundreds of resumes for every job opening, which creates competition and makes it difficult to choose the perfect applicant for the position. 

 

The QA engineer position is a whole set of soft and hard skills requirements for the candidate. In order to get the desired position, a specialist must be brilliant, attentive, and diligent because their work is directly related to the search for bugs or errors that developers may have missed.

 

Due to the expanding QA market, company requirements for candidates are increasing, and the previously low entry threshold into the industry is gradually growing. This makes it difficult for young professionals to find employment. 

 

We at JOBITT have analyzed the realities of the QA industry and are ready to share the results of our research with you. You will find out what prospects await QA experts, what employers expect from them, as well as the chances of finding a job in the industry without experience and how to develop in it.

Who is a QA Engineer?

QA Engineer is a profession associated with finding and fixing bugs, as well as planning testing and controlling the workflow of both developers and what the tester does. This position combines the roles of a QA specialist, a tester, and even, in some cases, a team leader. 

 

It is because of the strong saturation of responsibilities that the average monthly salary of such a specialist is $600 for Junior and about $2,700 for Senior, Team Lead. As for Middle, here you can count on a rate of $1,200 per month, and for Trainee, the threshold is $300-400. In the US, for example, wages are much higher, averaging $80,000/year.

 

This post can be divided into subtypes:

  • Test Analyst: examines the product's features, determines the requirements, objectives, and means of testing.
  • Test Designer: a technical specialist who develops test scenarios and conditions for their implementation.
  • Test Executor: the same tester who runs the tests and controls the process.
  • Test Manager: task and schedule planner, usually manages a team.
  • Automation Engineer: a testing expert with development skills who creates scripts to run tests.

This division is often ignored, and the engineer on the job combines all the roles listed. In Ukraine, for example, it is common to look for QA Engineers, ignoring the specifics of the actual tasks and combining them within one position.

What are the tasks and responsibilities of a QA Engineer?

The very process of complex QA is a set of operations for planning, structuring, testing, and delegating tasks to fix bugs by developers. 

 

The responsibilities of a QA Engineer are somewhat different from those of a typical tester:

  • calculation of risks when planning tests;
  • deciphering the requirements for a digital product;
  • QA/QC process planning;
  • writing test cases and scenarios;
  • sample testing of software elements or components;
  • accounting for problems found and planning fixes;
  • overseeing the implementation of bug-fixing work;
  • testing and performance analysis;
  • team performance analysis;
  • designing and planning the development process;
  • maintaining project records and paperwork.

All of this applies to Senior QA Engineer rather than Junior QA Engineer with no experience. Also, a number of tasks from the list can be performed by an IT Tester. 

 

What is the exclusivity of a QA specialist?

  • Comprehensive approach to the process.
  • Broader scope of tasks and responsibilities.
  • Increased responsibility for the quality of the IT solution.
  • In-depth work with documentation.
  • Communication with the customer, QA team, and developers.

Although many candidates are confused about who a tester is, in practice, it turns out that the responsibilities of a Quality Assurance Engineer include testing and other tasks of a Quality Assurance specialist.

Required skills and what a QA engineer should know

QA tester profession is, first of all, a person's expertise, diligence, and attention to detail. That's why to successfully pass the interview and start a career, not just as a tester, the candidate needs to have a profile set of skills and character traits. 

Hard skills

A set of practical skills and abilities is something that every QA tester should have in their arsenal. Of course, the requirements for candidates vary depending on the type of company and the specifics of its work, but there is a basic list for this position.

 

The right set of hard skills:

  • Understanding of all types of testing and their goals.
  • Knowledge of development languages.
  • Ability to work with QA tools.
  • Understanding of SDLC principles.
  • Knowledge of Agile, DevOps, TestDevOps, and Scrum mechanics.
  • Knowledge of basic testing environments.
  • Understanding of database principles.
  • Good level of OS skills.
  • Ability to manage the testing process.

A QA engineer is not just an IT tester but a complex work unit that can and must know and be able to do more than an ordinary specialist. This is why the list of hard skills requirements for a candidate is so extensive, although it may vary or be more specific for each individual employer. 

Soft skills

The QA-Engineer job requires a specialist to communicate not only with employees but also with the client, developers, and the community. Because of this, they should have relevant soft skills if they apply for the position. Recruiters can usually omit these requirements at the interview, but in the end, these skills will be useful for the work and will determine the effectiveness of an expert. 

 

A basic set of soft skills:

  • Out-of-the-box thinking and creativity.
  • Stress-resistance in the working environment.
  • Increased attention to nuances.
  • Team communication skills.
  • Ability to conduct a constructive dialogue with employees.
  • Persistence in solving difficult problems.
  • Ability to plan the tasks correctly.
  • Ability to mark out priority operations.
  • Increased speed of learning new things.

That is, only experience with tools will obviously not be enough for successful employment. If you want to be a QA Engineer, develop your social skills and your desire to work in a team.

Tools for QA engineers

Knowledge of testing tools is not enough for this specialty. It is good if you know Selenium, Ranorex, Cucumber, or other software for bug finding and process automation, but you need to be an expert in highly specialized software complexes as well. 

 

Such categories include:

  • DTT (Defect tracking tools).
  • TMT (Test management tools).
  • PMS (Project management software).
  • AT (Automation tools).
  • AF (Automation frameworks).
  • IDEs.
  • CI/CD tools.
  • PMT (Project management tools).

All the tools that help better organize the work process, manage tasks and track progress should be in the skill set of a QA Engineer.

Advantages and disadvantages of the QA engineer profession

As a rule, only the strengths of the profession are highlighted, forgetting about the weaknesses. We will reveal all the nuances of the position for those who are thinking about becoming a QA tester. 

 

Advantages of the QA Engineer position:

  • Opportunity for career growth.
  • Variety of tasks.
  • Combination of several roles.
  • Good salary level.
  • An extensive selection of available positions.

Disadvantages:

  • Increased responsibility.
  • A lot of routine tasks.
  • Complicated work situations.

Some of these disadvantages are seen by some applicants as advantages, which are enough. As a rule, they can be adapted to and even leveled out, but it comes with experience. So if you like to combine work and self-development, the QA Engineer position is a great fit.

QA Engineer professional development stages

Not everyone comes into the industry as a Trainee, but more often than not, the applicant, having no commercial experience, seeks to get a higher position, causing recruiters some problems. 

 

The career growth of a QA Engineer entirely depends on a person's character, determination, and persistence, as well as on their desire to develop and reach new heights of excellence. The way to the cherished Senior or Team Lead positions is not a shortcut, but it is within the power of any specialist. In terms of time, this process takes about 5-6 years, with proper diligence and involvement in the work.  

How to become a QA Engineer?

As a rule, this specialty can not be mastered in higher educational institutions, unlike other IT occupations. Nevertheless, there are plenty of options for training. These are courses, training videos, and free, open-source projects supported by the community. You should not neglect the literature, especially foreign ones. There are entire series of books for teaching the nuances of QA, with practical examples and visualizations. 

 

This is why the QA industry is so popular now. Anyone can get free access to valuable sources of information and master the profession of QA Engineer. 

Conclusion

The path to the pinnacle of QA skill is not short, but it is within the power of absolutely everyone. You should not chase after high stakes and steep positions at the start of your career; it's better to raise your grades step by step and learn new techniques and working methods. There are a lot of IT vacancies that allow you to gain experience and earn good money at the same time. 

 

Need help figuring out where to start your search for a position? Try sending your resume to one of the positions published on the resource JOBITT, the best recruiting platform in Ukraine.

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