Software quality assurance (QA) engineers are information technology specialists who develop systematic plans to test, analyze and debug various software products. Their main responsibility is to maintain and apply quality and safety standards for the software developed by the company that employs them, as well as to ensure quality integration into existing IT and network systems.
Software QA engineers research, analyze and determine software test procedures and standards, keeping in mind the various functions of scientific computation, data processing and acquisition. They work closely with software and computer engineers to resolve any technical issues that arise in the course of the development process, and assist with the preparation of technical appraisals of various applications, software solutions, programming languages, and systems.
Skills and qualifications
Software quality assurance engineers typically have a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, or a related technical discipline. Most employers will favour candidates with a few years of experience in software testing.
Regardless of degree, software QA engineers must have an advanced knowledge of software development and technologies, including HTML, XML, C#, as well as SQL. They must be familiar with the procedures involved in all stages of software testing, as well as with all the relevant industry standards. Analytical and problem-solving skills are essential to the role.
Good teamwork and communication skills are also very important, as software QA engineers work closely with experts from related fields, and their job entails proactively identifying risks to senior staff. They must be able to explain technical issues clearly and concisely.
Senior software QA engineers must have strong interpersonal and client-facing skills, as they typically work with business owners to design and execute various software test plans.
Software QA engineers' duties vary depending on their years of experience, employer type, and software they are responsible for testing. Engineers employed in entry-level QA jobs typically work to resolve technical issues of limited scope, and analyze data in accordance with the company's standard procedures. They are given detailed instructions to follow on all work.
With a couple of years of experience in quality assurance under their belt, software QA engineers analyze problems of moderate scope, and use their own judgment to resolve them within defined procedures and guidelines. Software QA engineers with five years of relevant professional experience work to resolve a variety of issues by determining the proper methods for obtaining solutions.
With significant industry experience and a full understanding of industry and company procedures and practices, software QA engineers typically work on complex issues that require an in-depth analysis of various factors. They are responsible for determining the procedures independently. Experienced engineers also provide leadership and guidance to other staff, as they are responsible for selecting the evaluation criteria and techniques for obtaining results.
Software QA engineers with over a decade of experience in the field typically supervise other staff, and independently determine the methods, procedures, objectives and approaches to both new and critical assignments, and work to resolve technical ussues that have the potential to impact the design of future products, technologies, and concepts. Senior software engineers also handle all aspects of testing, and assist with the design of the test automation architecture.
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