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How to Become a QA Engineer in 2021

How to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer: Courses, Training, and Other Resources

Quality Assurance (QA) engineers are responsible for making sure the code other developers write is up to a certain standard. Companies pay talented QA engineers high salaries to push high-quality software consistently. Because QA engineers are in such high demand, many organizations are teaching people how to become a quality assurance engineer.

In this guide, you'll discover whether a career as a quality assurance engineer is for you. We have a list of helpful resources on quality assurance salaries, bootcamps, courses, training programs, and more.

What Is Quality Assurance?

Quality assurance is the process of monitoring every stage of the software development process. It ensures that a company’s software is in line with its standards. Quality assurance engineers make sure other developers meet their deadlines and inform other developers of issues in their code.

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With help from a bootcamp, you could be a quality assurance engineer in 12 months.

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 system testing and feature testing. However, there are many types of quality assurance engineers out there. Below is a list of different types of QA engineers and their responsibilities.

System Testing

System testing is a form of quality assurance done on a full project. It's typically conducted 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.

Integration Testing

Integration quality assurance testing explores the various components of an application. First, it evaluates how the individual component works. Then, each component is tested to see how the application works as a whole. Integration testing is often done before system testing.

Feature Testing

Feature testing is a form of QA engineering done before an application is updated. This type of QA engineering explores how a new update impacts an application. QA engineers performing this work must find any issues or negative user experiences that come from the updated software.

Usability Testing

QA engineers test the usability of a product before its release. Usability tests ensure the product functions in the way a customer expects. These tests allow the team to see how well the product is received and to make whatever final changes are needed before the product is launched.

What Does a Quality Assurance Engineer Do?

Quality assurance engineers maintain the quality of code written by other engineers. They explore potential problems and bugs in a program and then resolve those problems 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 testing. They also set up processes to ensure the code has been reviewed and checked. QA engineers also look over any updates to the product.

How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)

$108,000
Senior position
$72,000
Middle position
$57,000
Junior position

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 quality assurance analysts is projected to grow 22 percent by 2029, which is “much faster than average.” This growth indicates that skilled QA engineers may increase in demand alongside quality assurance analysts, software developers, and testers.

Companies that Hire Bootcamp Grads

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How Much Do Quality Assurance Engineers Earn?

According to Glassdoor, QA engineers earn between $57,000 and $108,000. The average salary of a QA engineer is $82,000 per year.

How much you earn as a QA engineer varies based on several factors, such as the company for which you work and where you live. QA engineers at large companies like Google or Oracle, which have large codebases, often have higher salaries than engineers who work at startups.
The amount you earn also depends on your experience. Senior quality assurance engineers 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.

Check available Quality Assurance Engineering courses

app-academy
Full-time
Income Sharing,
Financing
In-person,
online
flatiron-school
Full-time,
Part-time,
Self-paced
Income Sharing,
Financing
In-person,
online
thinkful
Full-time,
Self-paced
Income Sharing,
Financing
online
rithm-school
Full-time,
Part-time
Income Sharing,
Financing
In-person

Advantages

  • Options for both in person and online bootcamps
  • Immersive and structured program
  • Mentors, instructors, and peers at your fingertips
  • Quick-start to a new career
  • Learn to collaborate with others
  • Build a strong professional network in technology

Disadvantages

  • Requires motivation and hard work
  • Fast-paced learning style
  • Staying up to date with evolving web technologies

Apply to Quality Assurance Engineer

Whether you’ve decided you’re ready to apply for a quality assurance engineer bootcamp or you still aren’t sure which coding program you want to attend, Career Karma can help. Our mentors are here to not only help you find the perfect coding bootcamp for you, but we will also help you every step of the way from the application process to supporting you with any questions or hiccups you run into while interviewing with multiple bootcamps.

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Learning Quality Assurance Engineering

There are many ways to become a QA engineer. Some QA engineers pursue a degree in computer science or a similar technical field. Others teach themselves how to code without any formal education. Some take online courses or attend coding bootcamps to become quality assurance engineers and quickly enter the workforce.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Quality Assurance?

It takes 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. 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

If you’re interested in becoming a quality assurance engineer, take the following steps:

Step 1. Learn software development through a coding bootcamp, self-study, or college

Getting an education is an important first step to becoming a QA engineer. Many people learn through a coding bootcamp or college. Keep in mind that different programs allow you to work in the industry more quickly. Degree programs are more comprehensive but take longer to complete. Coding bootcamps are faster, more streamlined means of starting a career as a QA engineer. Being a self-taught QA engineer varies based on your learning path.

Step 2. Develop and refine your soft and technical skills

QA engineers must use several technical and soft skills to succeed in their career field. Programming skills are vital for this tech job. Most programs teach you multiple programming languages to make sure you're fully prepared. In addition to this, you'll need strong communication and analytical skills.

Step 3. Build your software development portfolio

To start a career in QA engineering, you need to develop a comprehensive portfolio. Your portfolio should demonstrate your knowledge of popular programming languages, key aspects of the quality assurance process, and how you perform testing.

Step 4. Write your technical resume

To work with many tech companies, you’ll need a technical resume. A technical resume shows potential employers you have the skills and knowledge to work with them. Many coding bootcamps and other programs help you develop your technical resume through career services and counseling.

Step 5. Start the job search

Begin your job search by looking for entry-level positions or internships. It’s a lot easier to find employment as a QA engineer after you’ve gained some experience. Some people take on internships while attending college. Many coding bootcamps give students hands-on experience in QA engineering before they graduate.

The Best Quality Assurance Courses, Bootcamps, and Training

Online courses and coding bootcamps, which usually last between three and nine months, are intensive training programs. They give students the skills they need to pursue a career in the tech industry. Bootcamps often specialize in specific fields, such as quality assurance engineering.

App Academy

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

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

Thinkful is an online coding bootcamp that offers courses in several fields, such as quality assurance engineering. The course lasts 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. Students 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

Rithm School is a 17-week full-time engineering program. The programming bootcamp was founded by a team of experienced instructors who 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 Software Test Engineer

The certified software 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.

Testingeducation.org

Black Box Software Testing is a course site that provides instructional materials to teach, 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.com

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.

Associationforsoftwaretesting.com

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.

Should You Study to Become a Quality Assurance Engineer?

Because of the high demand, large salary, and stability, there are many reasons to become a QA engineer. This high-level tech position doesn’t require a degree and many people become one after attending a coding bootcamp or other QA engineering courses. If you have a passion for software development and want to be a part of the process, then a career as a quality assurance engineer may be right for you.

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