Software quality assurance engineers strategically plan out how they will test various software products. Determining the testing software they will use and scripting out the steps they will take while pretending to behave as an end-user is also important. Their main responsibility is to ensure functionality works and is also user friendly. Those in this field may also be called product assurance engineer, software test engineer, product assurance engineer or a variation of those.
How to Become a Software Quality Assurance Engineer
According to O*NET OnLine, 70% of the software quality assurance engineers held a bachelor’s degree while 15% had earned an associate’s degree. Less than 10% had a post-secondary certification. A bachelor’s degree in a related field such as computer science or software development will give you the foundational knowledge you need. However, you will need to learn the quality assurance part of this career field. This includes learning quality assurance tools you would use to test software and the procedures you would take when gaining a new project to test. This ensures you can efficiently monitor for bugs and then research the design flaw causing the bug.
While gaining your bachelor’s degree in a related field, it can be helpful to gain part-time employment or an internship. Working at a company that has experienced quality assurance engineers that you can learn from is invaluable. This experience provides the hands-on experience needed to gain employment in this field.
Job Description of a Software Quality Assurance Engineer
Software quality assurance engineers are hired to test the functionality and usefulness of the software. They also ensure it behaves as intended for the end-user. These engineers must identify the specifications of the software and how it should behave. Next, they write their plan to test the functionality of the program. This includes using automated testing tools and doing the hands-on testing, where the engineer behaves as an end-user would. Once they identify a bug, they track it and report them to the software developers tasked to create the software.
Depending on the product’s design specifications, they will also test the software against various computer operating systems it should support, browsers, and various screen sizes. They must also ensure it meets accessibility standards, especially if the software will be used, or is to be purchased by, the federal government. The federal government mandates that their technology meet what is called Section 508 Accessibility standards. This means, the federal government’s online training, technology, and websites are accessible to all. This way, all employees and users of the federal government’s technology, no matter their differing ability, can access the information they need.
Software quality assurance engineers test software programs to ensure the accessibility standards the project has outlined are met. This includes meeting color contrast, font size, and screen reader standards, to name a few. You can learn more about Section 508 testing standards from the U.S. Government’s Section508.gov, Test for Accessibility webpage.
Software Quality Assurance Engineers Career Video Transcript
Software quality assurance engineers and testers work to identify glitches and errors that prevent apps and computer programs from working as intended. In the past, software quality assurance may have relied more on large groups of individual testers but now engineers create automated programs to discover weaknesses in the software they’re developing.
As part of sometimes large development teams, these engineers design testing plans and procedures, monitor the results for any bugs they uncover and begin the process of solving the design flaws that cause the problems. Strong attention to detail and rigorous documentation is important to ensure that programs aren’t published with bugs or bad code. Typically, quality assurance engineers and testers work in offices, often as part of large teams. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are important to coordinate testing and ensure that all issues are caught.
Software quality assurance testers and engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a field related to software development. Applicants with additional industry certifications and knowledge of a variety of programming languages and troubleshooting techniques may find it easier to find employment.
Career Article Resources
National Center for O*NET Development. 15-1199.01. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.