How Do I Become a QA Engineer?

Do you enjoy working with computers and the challenge of problem-solving? If so, you may wonder how to become a QA engineer. QA engineers, also known as quality assurance engineers, test products to evaluate quality. Frequently, QA engineers test computer software applications and programs.

The purpose of a QA engineer is not to determine that a product is “good enough,” but instead to explore all possible problems with the software. QA engineers accomplish this by doing everything a consumer or end user might reasonably do within the confines of the software to pinpoint areas where problems could arise. Though it may sound as though QA engineers only contribute to software development at the end of the creation process, these professionals are often involved in the full process.

Early on, QA engineers may collect and record information about the goals and required functions of the software. They may select and evaluate the source code used in programming the software. When the software needs to be altered or configured for any reason, QA engineers may oversee the changes. Finally, when the end product is released, QA engineers assist with software testing, in which professionals examine and analyze the product to determine performance quality.

To obtain a position as a QA engineer, candidates should first pursue a college degree, preferably in computer science or another relevant technical field. Coursework should include programming. Because QA engineers must interact with companies and work to fulfill the end goals of the business, studying courses in business and management information systems may also be beneficial. Some aspiring QA engineers seek recognition as a Certified Software Quality Engineer from the American Society for Quality.

Professional experience in a relevant entry-level computer science position is often required to attain a job in this career field. Aspiring QA engineers will often begin their work as developers, testing engineers, or testers. In these positions, workers often simply test software in ways such as inputting information. As they cultivate more experience, they become better equipped to work with complex source codes at various stages of the process and may eventually earn the title of QA engineer. With more experience and the development of additional technical and leadership skills, QA engineers may be promoted to supervisory positions, such as Senior Software Quality Engineers and Software Managers.

In 2012, the online resource Career Bliss named Software Quality Assurance Engineer at the top of its “Happiest Career” list, citing an average annual salary of $66,403. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment opportunities in computer occupations of all types to increase by 22 percent from 2010 through 2020. This job outlook is significantly more positive than the anticipated 14 percent job growth for careers in all fields during the same time period. If you are an independent thinker who enjoys solving puzzles and has a knack for working with computers, knowing how to become a QA engineer may be the start of a challenging new career.

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