Is Quality Assurance a Good Career?

job vacancies in quality assurance

Quality assurance (QA) specialists write scripts to test code, perform manual and automated tests, and generally bring the digital product's parameters closer to the ideal standards of the organization and the target market. Depending on their specific specialization and position, QA professionals test and improve the product at various stages of development. For example, they might interact with the product as consumers to determine if all features work as intended, if the interface is fast and user-friendly, and so on.

A separate person or a QA team can be responsible for quality assurance. Here are the most popular job vacancies in quality assurance and their features.

  • Quality Assurance Tester

QA testers check products for defects. They don't just find bugs but also suggest solutions. They are responsible for the quality of computer programs, mobile apps, online services, video games, websites, and more. Unlike quality control testers, QA testers check the product at various development stages, not just before release. Manual testing involves practical software testing to find bugs when automated testing is unavailable or impractical.

  • Quality Assurance Auditor

The main responsibilities include setting parameters for product testing, monitoring processes handled by quality control managers, testers, and engineers, and ensuring the company's quality control criteria meet state regulations.

  • Quality Assurance Manager

QA managers establish internal quality control standards and coordinate the work of all specialists involved in product testing. They often communicate with end consumers, and their feedback helps improve the software solution.

  • Quality Assurance Analyst

QA analysts test and evaluate products to meet organizational standards, helping achieve project goals.

  • Quality Assurance Engineer

QA engineers develop tests to study development processes. They collaborate with developers at all stages of product creation, systematizing quality control testing. Engineers may prepare documentation that serves as instructions for other team members.

Quality assurance engineering plays a key role in the product development lifecycle. QA specialists can specialize in different areas, with varying skills and tools depending on the company and specific duties.

There are several types of QA engineers. For example, automation quality control engineers develop scripts and frameworks to optimize the testing process, requiring coding skills and knowledge of Agile and DevOps. Performance quality control engineers ensure the reliability, scalability, and responsiveness of products like e-commerce platforms and enterprise software.

Security quality control engineers find vulnerabilities in products to prevent damage or data leaks from attacks. Their duties include security audits, risk assessments, and penetration testing.

QA analysts ensure testing aligns with business goals and that the company-approved quality criteria are met. Mobile QA engineers specialize in testing and improving smartphone apps, requiring knowledge of touch interfaces, battery use, different operating systems, screen sizes, and configurations.

Career Path for QA Testers and Engineers

A QA tester is the starting point in quality assurance. The tester career path might look like this:

  1. Junior QA Tester
  2. Software Tester
  3. Test Analyst
  4. Test Manager

With each step, salaries increase, averaging from $64,434 per year for a junior specialist to $90,333 for a test manager.

QA engineers often start as junior QA analysts, moving to QA Engineer and taking on increasingly complex testing and automation tasks. With good performance, they can advance to Senior QA Engineer, responsible for leading testing and mentoring junior specialists. Higher positions include QA Lead or Manager and Director of Quality Control or Vice President of Quality in large companies. This path allows a transition from technical testing to strategic management.

To choose a career path, consider your current skills—technical or soft.

Technical skills are abilities you can learn and develop, like creating test documentation or coding in a specific programming language. If you excel in technical skills, consider becoming a developer, as a deep understanding of IT processes will help you learn programming. You could also specialize in usability testing or focus on test automation.

Soft skills relate to your temperament and personality traits but can also be developed. These might include teamwork or time management skills. If you have strong soft skills and enjoy working in a team and leading, try being a project manager or test lead. QA specialists often form their views on product functionality and demonstrate analytical thinking, making a transition to a business analyst role a good option. This role involves communicating with the team and consumers to improve products.

Features of a Career in Software Testing

Work in the scope of software testing can be remote but usually requires a mix of independent and team work. Companies use online services like Trello or Asana for this.

QA specialists typically work full-time, often with extra tasks requiring additional hours, especially before a product release. Quality assurance work is intellectually challenging and can be monotonous at times due to repetitive tests and scenarios and constant documentation. However, the satisfaction of creating a flawless product outweighs the downsides, and the job is well-paid.

Even small bugs can lead to significant product flaws. If defects are found after a product's market release, the developer company can face substantial financial and reputational losses. Hence, responsibility is a key characteristic of a QA career.

Other important skills of software tester, engineers, or managers involved in quality assurance include the willingness to learn continuously, solving problems creatively, and effectively communicating with colleagues.

if a good education guarantees a successful career

Why is a QA Tester and Quality Control Engineer Career Good?

The prospects for QA professionals are excellent due to several factors.

  • Software is becoming more complex. 

A serious bug can cost a company a lot of money. With high competition, organizations must involve QA professionals throughout the software development lifecycle to remain viable.

  • Artificial intelligence performs many tasks but makes mistakes. 

AI is increasingly used for coding and other tasks, but it still makes errors. Hence, a person is needed to ensure the quality of AI's work. The human factor remains crucial in many areas.

  • Growing need for software in robotics. 

AI programs must be error-free, as one defect can break the entire system.

A career objective for software quality assurance offers opportunities to work in various IT-related fields and contribute to creating products that meet the highest quality standards. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 25% by 2032.

Currently, there are thousands of QA engineer vacancies in the US on Indeed. Glassdoor lists over 31,000 QA jobs in the United States.

Testing and quality control engineering is in high demand and is expected to grow. This field is ideal for entering the tech industry, and over time, you can shift your work direction in IT while already having the necessary skills and experience. Many wonder if a good education guarantees a successful career. For QA, a bachelor's degree is important but not mandatory. Specialized courses and practice are often enough.

What is a good career goal: an example

A good career goal is a desired outcome you plan to achieve in your professional life. Examples of such goals include becoming an expert in a particular field, building a personal brand, starting a business, helping a company reach a new level, getting a promotion, or earning a certification.

Why choose a career in quality assurance?

A career in quality assurance offers many opportunities for specialists. The number of job openings in large companies is constantly growing, as well as the salary size. For example, the average monthly salary in the USA is about $9,000.

When is the best time to change careers?

There is no one best age for everyone to change careers. Psychologists recommend changing jobs every 5-7 years, but this could be a shift within the same company or a complete industry change. On average, a person changes their profession about three times in their lifetime.

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