Quality control and regulatory processes are important across every industry. The need for them in both technical and non-technical production creates a demand for quality assurance managers. If you possess exceptional analytical skills, high regard for quality management, and leadership skills, then the role of quality assurance manager is for you.
We wrote this article to help you find out how to become a quality assurance manager in 2021. Our in-depth guide covers educational tracks, essential skills, a description of the job, and the job outlook for quality assurance managers.
What Is a Quality Assurance Manager?
A quality assurance (QA) manager runs a company’s quality control operation. They make sure the production teams meet customer expectations and industry standards at every stage of the production cycle, from manufacturing to testing to maintenance. The goal is to deploy the best possible product.
QA managers work in almost every industry, including the automotive, technology, engineering, banking, and manufacturing industries. A QA manager in manufacturing, for example, might oversee textile technology or food safety.
Quality Assurance Manager Job Description
A quality assurance manager leads a team of quality control inspectors to meet national and international quality standards. As a QA manager, you’ll work with quality management systems and supervise the product quality every step of the way, from production to release.
The job also entails conducting data analysis to see where improvements of product quality standards and processes can be made. Also, because it’s a management position, you will work with human resources to recruit and train employees to meet the company’s quality assurance standards.
Quality Assurance Manager Salary and Job Outlook
The compensation for quality assurance managers varies by industry. According to PayScale, the average salary for quality assurance managers is about $81,436.
Despite the high pay, the quality assurance profession is projected to decline in most industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for quality control inspectors in manufacturing, trade, and administration are projected to decline by 12 percent between 2020 and 2030. This is because their job duties are being delegated to other professions.
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For tech-savvy folks and people with project management skills, however, a QA career still has a promising outlook. According to BLS, quality assurance analyst positions for software developers are projected to increase by 22 percent over the next decade, and management occupations are expected to see nine percent growth over the same period.
Top Reasons to Become a Quality Assurance Manager in 2021
There are several reasons to become a quality assurance manager in 2021, including a high pay rate and a secure future for certain types of QA. Below are some major perks of becoming a QA manager.
- Wide range of job possibilities. This career path appeals to people from various backgrounds. You can work as a quality manager in a number of industries. Whether you’re interested in software development, cars, healthcare, government, finance, or manufacturing, you can find a job in QA.
- Room for advancement. Because it’s a leadership position, QA management is a great career choice for ambitious people. In this senior management role, you will have many professional development opportunities. You will be able to enhance your interpersonal and problem-solving skills as you climb the corporate ladder.
- Diverse and transferable skillset. The profession of QA management requires expertise in several skills, including analytical thinking skills, communication skills, and software testing skills. Having these skills will make you a great candidate in many industries.
- Rewarding career. Because so many products and services are subject to quality assurance testing, the job will always be interesting and challenging.
Quality Assurance Manager Job Requirements
The job requirements to become a quality assurance manager vary according to the industry and company you’re working for. Below are some of the standard job requirements for QA managers.
- Associate degree or bachelor’s degree. Irrespective of industry, the standard educational requirement for QA managers is either an associate or bachelor’s degree. You can major in statistics, business management, or quality assurance.
- Quality assurance experience. To qualify for a QA managerial position, you must have three to four years of relevant experience in QA and project management.
- Analytical skills. QA managers are responsible for reviewing product development guidelines, meeting customer expectations, and using data to find more efficient ways of operating. All of these responsibilities require an analytical mind.
- Problem-solving skills. As leaders of quality assurance teams, QA managers have to find and implement solutions when problems arise in the quality assurance process.
Types of Quality Assurance Manager Careers
There are many career paths you can follow as a QA manager. It all depends on your skillset, industry specialization, and interests. Below are some of the top QA manager careers.
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Manager
SQA managers work in the tech industry developing testing strategies, refining software execution processes, and finding ways to optimize industry methods. According to PayScale, the average salary for SQA managers is about $107,571.
Healthcare Quality Assurance Manager
Healthcare QA managers are responsible for making sure the quality of hospital services, products, and management systems are up to national and industry standards. The job duties also include ensuring that patient needs are met and hospital procedures are of high quality. According to ZipRecruiter, healthcare QA managers earn an average of $69,089 per year.
Quality Control Manager
Quality control managers are essentially QA managers in business or manufacturing. They ensure that the quality of their products meets the expectations of the company and the standards of the industry. According to PayScale, quality control managers in the manufacturing industry earn an average of about $71,485 per year.
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Quality Assurance Manager Meaning: What Does a Quality Assurance Manager Do?
A quality assurance manager supervises the quality of a product’s manufacturing, testing, and release processes. A QA manager handles a lot of different job duties. We’ve listed some of the most important duties below.
Manages Quality Control and Collaborates with Other Departments
A QA manager supervises the quality control team’s tasks, assigning QA duties and recruiting new members. You’ll also work with the product development, design, and finance teams to enforce a QA process that suits the business’s goals and budgets.
Devises QA Design Processes and Testing Solutions
A QA manager also uses data from customers and other businesses to develop more efficient quality assurance methods. They need to be able to introduce evidence-backed design processes and testing procedures in response to changes within the industry.
Inspects the Quality of Raw Materials
In a manufacturing context, QA managers also inspect the quality of raw materials used for production and inform suppliers of their in-house quality requirements.
Essential Quality Assurance Manager Skills
To succeed in a quality assurance manager position, you’ll need to be strong in the skills listed below.
QA managers implement a quality control strategy using business operations analytics. You’ll need to master analytical and statistical skills, as well as the tools of data analysis, to make better decisions.
Leadership and Communication Skills
QA management is a leadership position, so you must have excellent soft skills, including communication skills, interpersonal skills, and delegation skills.
As a QA manager, your job duties include organizing QA tests, managing projects, and supervising teams. The stronger your organization and project management skills are, the more successful you’ll be.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Quality Assurance Manager?
The time it takes to become a quality assurance manager can range anywhere between six and eight years depending on the education path you take. For example, if you get a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics, it will take you four to five years of schooling plus an additional two years of industry experience to qualify for a QA managerial position.
If you decide to get an Associate Degree in Quality Assurance, the necessary industry experience after graduation will increase to around four to five years.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Quality Assurance Manager?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a quality assurance manager. Coding bootcamps are tech training institutions that will get you job-ready within a matter of a couple of weeks to a few months.
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However, coding bootcamps are usually only helpful for those hoping to enter the tech industry. If you want to become a healthcare or production QA manager, then community colleges or universities might be the better option for you.
Can I Become a Quality Assurance Manager from Home?
Yes, you can become a quality assurance manager from home with some of the best online degrees and courses that teach topics related to quality assurance and management. You can choose to get an online business degree or attend an online project management bootcamp to get your career started.
How to Become a Quality Assurance Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide
Read below for one clear path that an aspiring quality assurance manager might take. Remember that the steps might vary depending on your background or choice of industry.
Step 1: Get Your Quality Assurance Education
The first step is to get the education needed for the QA profession. You can get an online business degree or learn statistics and quality assurance from online education platforms or coding bootcamps. Be sure to choose a field that fits your career goals.
Step 2: Get QA Certifications
The second step is to enhance your professional portfolio by getting quality assurance certifications. You can get a certification that showcases your QA engineering skills or one that flaunts your skills as a QA analyst.
Step 3: Apply for an Entry-Level QA or Quality Control Job
The last step before being fully qualified for a QA manager position is to gain industry experience. You should apply for junior quality assurance or quality control jobs that provide you with the experience you’ll need to be promoted later on.
Best Schools and Education for a Quality Assurance Manager Career
There are tons of schools and education options for a quality assurance manager career. We’ve gathered the different educational routes you can take to become a QA manager and listed them below.
Quality Assurance Manager Bootcamps
While there aren’t many coding bootcamps fully devoted to quality assurance, many software engineering programs do cover the skills you need to succeed in a software quality assurance (SQA) role. Perhaps your best course is to first look into how to become a QA engineer, and then to shop around for bootcamps that focus on training for project management.
Vocational schools are institutions of higher education that offer career training for hands-on professions. Unfortunately, quality assurance isn’t a subject popularly taught in traditional vocational schools. Coding bootcamps are currently the go-to form of vocational education for tech professions.
Community colleges are a cheaper and shorter alternative to universities. They offer certificate programs and associate degrees, either of which could lead to a QA manager job down the line. Most cities and towns have a community college, so check your local community college’s course catalog for applicable programs.
Quality Assurance Manager Degrees
To become a quality assurance manager, you could get a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development, Statistics, Business Administration, or Quality Assurance. You can also get a master’s degree in QA-relevant fields or business administration to increase your chances of securing a managerial position.
The Most Important Quality Assurance Manager Certifications
There are plenty of important quality assurance manager certifications you can get to enhance your resume. We’ve listed a few of them for you below.
IASSC Certified Lean Practitioner
This beginner’s Lean Six Sigma Certification is a globally recognized and reputable certification that can help you stand out in several job fields, including QA management. The certification teaches you the Lean Six Sigma procedure for business organization and procedural improvement, an important skill in the QA managerial profession.
Certified Manager of Software Quality (CMSQ)
For those established QA professionals in the tech industry wanting to move up to the QA manager position, the CMSQ certification is for you. The certification tests you on the functions of QA, quality leadership, quality planning and execution, and interpersonal skills.
Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)
The CSQA is a foundational QA certification for tech professionals wanting to get a job in QA software analysis. The certification tests you on software quality areas and requires 70 percent or more to pass the exam and qualify for the certification.
How to Prepare for Your Quality Assurance Manager Job Interview
To prepare for your quality assurance manager job interview, you must dust off your previous relevant experiences and prepare to talk about them, research the industry, and review product quality specifications. Below are a few practice questions to help you ace your behavioral and technical interviews.
Quality Assurance Manager Job Interview Practice Questions
- List your previous experiences and contributions in improving quality assurance processes.
- What can you improve about our company’s current quality assurance management system?
- Describe your vision of day-to-day job tasks for a quality assurance manager in our industry.
- Describe a time when you had to manage a team and apply your problem-solving skills.
Should I Become a Quality Assurance Manager in 2021?
You should become a quality assurance manager if a career involving business operations, quality management, and product development processes interests you. If you decide to pursue a career in software QA management particularly, your career is future-proof and you’ll be well compensated.
Quality Assurance Manager FAQ
Yes, you can become a quality assurance manager without a degree by attending coding bootcamps or enrolling in online QA courses. You’ll also have to have some work experience in lower-level QA positions.
Yes, it can be hard to become a quality assurance manager because the position requires a combination of tech, business, and management skills.
Quality assurance management is a future-proof job only for the tech industry, where it has high projected job growth. Job projections for QA professionals in sectors like manufacturing and healthcare, however, are in a decline.
To become a good quality assurance manager, you need to have in-demand skills like analytical and leadership skills. You’ll also need to have an excellent understanding of the national and industry standards for the products you’ll be working with.
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