How to Learn Quality Assurance
As technology becomes ever more present in our lives, the demand for qualified quality assurance engineers has continued to increase.
Quality Assurance (QA) engineers are responsible for making sure that the code other developers write is up to a certain standard. Software bugs can be costly to any company. Therefore, companies are willing to pay talented QA engineers who can help a company push high-quality software consistently.
How do you become a quality assurance engineer? In this guide, we’re going to answer that question. We’ll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. You'll discover whether a career as a quality assurance engineer is for you. You'll also receive access to helpful resources on expected salaries, training programs, and other information. This will help you kickstart your new career in this exciting field.
What Is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance is the process of monitoring every stage of the software development process. It's designed to ensure that a company’s software is in line with its standards. Quality assurance engineers make sure other developers meet their deadlines. They inform other developers of issues in their code before a project or feature is expected to be completed.
What Is Quality Assurance Used For?
The main purpose of quality assurance is to identify bugs and potential problems within the software. QA engineers then report these to other members of a software development team. QA engineers also:
- Code automated tests
- Create software test plans
- Discover bugs or problems within a program
- Develop standards and policies to ensure high-quality code
- Identify any problems that users may encounter
- Perform automated and manual testing
- Track test results
- Document test cases
Types of Quality Assurance
Quality assurance engineers typically oversee various aspects of a project. However, there are multiple types of quality assurance testing out there. These examine particular aspects of the software and occur during the development process.
System testing is a form of quality assurance done on a full project. It's done towards the end of the development process. Systems tests ensure all components of the software function properly, as a whole. It's essentially the last test done before the product is released into the market.
Any application has numerous components. Integration quality assurance testing explores those components. It first evaluates how the individual component works. Then, each component is put together to see how it works as a whole. This form of testing is typically done before system testing.
Just because an application has been released doesn't mean it stops getting improved. New features are added to applications all the time. However, before your application is updated, feature testing needs to be done. Feature testing explores how the new update impacts the application, whether there are any issues or negative user experiences.
Before a product is released, quality assurance tests its usability. Usability tests ensure the product functions in the way a customer expects. These tests allow the team to see how the product is received by customers and make whatever changes they need before launch.
What Does a Quality Assurance Engineer Do?
Quality Assurance engineers are involved in every stage of the product development process. They maintain the quality of code written by other engineers. QA engineers explore potential problems and bugs that may exist within a program. They ensure those problems are resolved before the code is pushed to production.
Before a project starts, QA engineers collect information about the goals of a project and write policies to prepare for code testing. They also set up processes to ensure the code has been reviewed and checked. This is done before it advances to the next stage in software development.
Also, QA engineers make sure bugs are resolved before product release. They oftentimes look over any updates to the product.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
Quality Assurance Engineer Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track the job outlook of QA engineers. That said, the Bureau reports that the employment of software engineers is projected to grow 21 percent by 2028, which is “much faster than average.” This growth indicates that skilled QA engineers may increase in demand as they review code written by other software developers.
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How Much Do Quality Assurance Engineers Earn?
Quality assurance engineers command impressive salaries. According to Glassdoor, QA engineers earn between $57,000 and $108,000. The national average salary for QA engineers is nearly $82,000 per year.
That said, it’s hard to predict exactly how much you’ll earn as a quality assurance engineer. Your salary will vary depending on the company for which you work and the place in which you live. QA engineers at large companies like Google or Oracle, which have large codebases, command higher salaries than engineers who work at startups.
The amount you earn will also depend on your experience. Senior quality assurance engineers can expect to earn salaries on the higher end. It’s important to note this does not include employee benefits, perks, or stock options. Take this into account when evaluating a job offer.
Learning Quality Assurance Engineering
There’s more than one way to learn about QA engineering. Some QA developers attend a college or university and pursue a degree in computer science or a similar technical field. Other developers teach themselves how to code and do not have any formal coding education. Some people take online courses or attend bootcamps to become a quality assurance engineer.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Quality Assurance?
It can take one to four years to become a quality assurance engineer. Quality assurance engineers can earn a two to four-year degree from a college or university. However, through coding bootcamps, it's possible to become a quality assurance engineer within three months to less than a year.
How to Learn Quality Assurance: Step-by-Step
Here are the steps you should follow if you’re interested in a career in quality assurance:
- Learn software development through a coding bootcamp, self-study, or college.
- Develop and refine your technical skills.
- Build your software development portfolio.
- Write your technical resume.
- Start the job search.
- Prepare for a technical interview.
The Best Quality Assurance Courses and Training
Online courses and coding bootcamps, which usually last between three and nine months, are intensive training programs. They're designed to equip students with the skills they need to pursue a career in the tech industry. Bootcamps often specialize in specific fields, such as quality assurance engineering.
Online Quality Assurance Courses
App Academy is a coding school that offers online training programs in quality assurance. There are no tuition costs until you're hired and earn a certain amount. App Academy has put over 3,000 people in full-time software engineering positions. Their average salary is $80,000 nationally and even higher in specific regions. App Academy graduates work in over 1,000 companies around the world.
Flatiron School offers online and in-person programs in quality assurance engineering. Students take part in a rigorous curriculum that is aligned with the demands of the market. Flatiron teaches students how to think like an engineer.
Applicants must submit a written application detailing their reason for choosing Flatiron School. To qualify, you’ll need to have basic knowledge of the field, which you can learn through Flatiron School’s preparatory workshops.
Thinkful is an online coding bootcamp that offers courses in several fields, which can prepare you for a career as a quality assurance engineer. The courses last for seven months and can be taken full-time or part-time.
Throughout the program, students receive several forms of academic aid. These include a personal mentor, career coach, and an academic success manager. They also join a supportive peer network for academic success.
In some programs, students are eligible for Thinkful's tuition guarantee. If a student does not find a job within six months of graduating, they get their money back.
Rithm School is a 17-week full-time engineering program, founded by a team of experienced instructors that believe in the effectiveness of small class sizes. Each class is capped at 18 students with three experienced instructors.
The curriculum focuses on SQL, Python, React, Data Structures, Algorithms, and Node. Unlike other coding bootcamps, students spend three weeks contracting for companies and gaining professional experience.
Quality Assurance Engineering Certifications
While there are several certifications for quality assurance engineering, you don't need all of them. The first step is to find the certification standardized in your industry. This allows you to find work in a field you're knowledgeable in.
Certified Associate in Software Testing
This is a foundational certification that shows your level of understanding of QA testing. You'll need to demonstrate your ability to use techniques learned in the course related to the certification. It is also good training if you're a beginner.
There are prerequisites for this. You'll need one of the following.
- A four-year degree from an accredited university
- A two-year degree from an accredited college and one year of experience
- Three years of experience
Certified Test Engineer
The certified test engineer certification is set to maintain the standards for an initial position software quality assurance. It shows basic competence in quality control in IT. A CSTE certification provides great career advancement and shows your ability to advise those at the managerial level.
To receive this certification, you must have one of the following.
- A four-year degree with two years of experience
- A three-year degree with three years of experience
- Two-year degree with four years of experience
- Six years of experience
You must also have worked in the field within 18 months since your application.
There are other certifications you can receive as you advance your career. However, these are the most common associated with quality assurance engineering careers.
Online Quality Assurance Engineering Resources
If you're new to testing and quality assurance engineering, there are several online resources to help you get up to speed. These resources can help you get more familiar with testing and quality assurance overall. Some of these are communities and others are repositories for information.
Black Box Software Testing is a course site that provides instructional materials to teach, well, black box testing software. It explores the theory behind testing and comes with a long list of materials and resources. Most of the resources are for self-study and training.
Satisfice is an online resource for those who are entirely new to testing. The site offers several resources to help new testers get started. From the blog to a list of other resources outside the site, there is a lot you can get from this page.
The Association for Software Testing is a site that offers resources to help you become a better tester. It's dedicated to helping users understand the practice and science that goes into software testing. There are online educational materials, courses, and more for students. While the resources available aren't free, they are useful for those seeking a career in testing.
hould You Study to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer?
There are many paths you can take to become a QA engineer. You can:
- Attend a short-term coding bootcamp specializing in software engineering or quality assurance
- Earn a computer science or software development degree at a traditional college or university
- Learn quality assurance through self-study
Each path has its benefits and drawbacks. In the past, QA engineers were college graduates or self-taught programmers. However, recently a new option has emerged for people looking to learn about quality assurance: coding bootcamps.
Coding bootcamps offer a viable alternative to college. Instead of spending four years in college, aspiring developers can spend less than a year in a coding bootcamp. Also, students receive career mentorship and support, which helps bridge the gap between training and employment.
Good news! Career Karma can help you through every stage of your journey to becoming a QA engineer. We’ll provide you with free mentorship, coaching, and access to a community of your peers. They can help support you during your breaking into a career in tech.
We’ll also help you prepare for and get accepted to the top QA engineering bootcamps. You can get the training you need to succeed in your new career today.
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