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We never ask ourselves:
What makes our products tick?
Is it the engineer who thought of it?
Or is it a ghost in the machine that moves all the parts inside?
If we take a closer look we would be surprised by the outcome.
Quality assurance jobs have a much bigger position than we actually think. We imagine a big floating head in the sky that created our phones (for example) and got us addicted to them. But we always seem to forget about the man behind the curtain.
These men and women work on quality assurance and make sure that the products we get function properly.
No worries, everything will be explained in due course.
Quality Assurance Jobs Description
The job of a QA technician revolves around checking the implementation of the quality of systems and conducting quality assurance audits. However, they can also make and track records from processes within manufacturing industries.
The idea is to constantly compare the results predetermined by expected ranges and correct them if necessary. If any deviations are found, corrective measures need to be taken. The goal is to ensure that the process of creating the product will eventually lead to a good final product.
Before making further steps let’s explain what quality assurance actually is.
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance aims to eliminate process variation by creating, revising, and implementing the procedures that determine the quality of a product.
Quality assurance operates at the level of manufacturing processes and checks its reliability. It is entirely process orientated. The goal is to eliminate any process variation where a process will be created, if necessary, revised, and ultimately strictly followed to ensure the quality of the end product.
Therefore, the quality assurance technician aims to ensure the quality of the end product. However, he or she is not supposed to be concerned about the measurement nor the inspection of the final product.
Many people confuse Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, there are certain differences that one has to be aware of.
Quality Assurance vs Quality Control
These two terms do share significant similarities, so it’s no wonder why one would get confused about them. However, there are some major differences that we’re going to discuss.
Quality assurance provides overall guidelines that could be used anywhere. Its purpose is to determine that the systematic process for making a product meet certain requirements. A quality assurance tech is not going to test the final product, just the process of making it.
Quality control, on the other hand, is a production-focused process and is mainly used for inspection. The idea behind it is to inspect the finished products individually for issues.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can focus on the job and tasks that quality assurance specialists do.
What Does a Quality Assurance Specialist Do?
There is no simple answer to this one. In general, it mostly depends on the product being made and the individual needs for creating that product. Therefore the tasks of a QA specialist will vary accordingly.
If you thought that this is too much work for a quality assurance specialist, there is actually more…
- Work within a team to assess product problems and provide solutions.
- Check if the raw materials used in the manufacturing process are of suitable quality.
- Write product plans in order to minimize the risk of mistakes during production.
- Inspect both employees and production machinery so that all processes run smoothly.
- Estimating time needed in order to assess the quality of each product individually.
- Meeting project deadlines.
- Investigating potential causes of defects that might happen during the testing phase.
- Assessing the added area where employees need training for improved performance.
- Suggesting improvements to the company’s infrastructure to prevent future mistakes and defects.
- Performing stress tests by exposing a product to different temperatures, humidity, pressure or vibrations.
And just when you thought that quality assurance testing jobs end here, there are still some more…
- Creating test plan automation procedure.
- Applying technical skills depending on the product being tested.
- Communicating with Quality Control about existing or potential defects.
- Communicate with other departments, such as engineering and project management, in order to coordinate scheduling for QA testing.
- Strictly conforming to international standards and regulations during the testing and quality assurance phases.
- Reporting all the discovered defects or low-quality issues to all the necessary departments involved.
Mind you, this is something that every experienced QA specialist will need to do. Entry-level QA jobs also involve most of these tasks and responsibilities, but at a lower level. Eventually, the idea is to enhance the workflow and add more one by one.
But not anybody is capable of doing this kind of job. It takes a qualified, meticulous and special person to do it.
If you are thinking of getting into QA, make sure to have some of the following qualities…
Traits of a Good Quality Assurance Tester
You have applied for the position of a QA tester and are pasting towards the office for an interview. All kinds of thoughts are roaming around your head. But did you stop and take a long look at yourself to assess if you have good qualities for doing any of the potential QA jobs?
Here are the necessary traits a person will need to have for this position:
You Need to Be Good at Testing
Starting with the obvious – you simply have to be good at testing. There is no way of going around this one. The idea is to break the code. It doesn’t matter if the developer is going to hate you for it. One simply has to have a mind for it and a certain quality that other people don’t.
Keep in mind that when doing quality assurance jobs you can’t get all of the defects, mistakes, and bugs on the first go. Sometimes you won’t even manage on the second attempt. A person who is capable of testing it as thoroughly as possible will thrive in this position.
Good Communication Skills
Having good communication skills at this position can be extremely helpful. Upon gathering all the information during the assessment phase you need to be able to convey the results to other teams. That way they can correct the mistakes or improve the product. Also, there are multiple teams and departments that you need to keep in the loop. They will count on you to report all of the necessary details correctly.
Creativity is a very important trait in this line of work, especially for video game quality assurance jobs. You have to think outside of the box and find loopholes if they exist. Ultimately, it leads to assessing and creating a quality product.
Depending on what type of Quality Assurance testing you happen to be doing, programming skills can useful. Being knowledgeable about coding goes a great deal for this type of job.
Testing Techniques Knowledge
This one goes hand in hand with programming skills. If you are able to acquire certain knowledge about testing, you can combine it with programming. Then you’ll have the perfect set of qualities!
However, no one is going to hire you based on your qualities only. You still need to possess certain skills to become a good quality assurance analyst.
So the question stands…
What Skills Do I Need?
Here is an ideal skill set needed for this line of work:
- Organizational skills – Need, so one can keep track of all the work being done simultaneously.
- Analytical skills – Needed, so one is capable of spotting trends and interpret data.
- Interpersonal skills – Good to have, in case you have to train additional staff members or employees.
- Attention to detail – You will spot situations when processes don’t comply with guidelines easily.
- Critical & logical thinking – Helpful when identifying problems, but also good to have for finding new solutions.
However, you will not get far without proper qualifications.
Quality Assurance Qualifications
When applying for any kind of QA jobs formal education and qualifications are still needed. A base degree or higher national diploma will get you an interview. However, they don’t guarantee a position.
Certain positions additionally require postgraduate qualifications or a technical degree background. And let’s not forget, experience is always an advantage!
But there are bills to pay and you are probably thinking “If I’m supposed to bring all of this to the table, what do I get in return?”
Quality Assurance Jobs Salary
You can have quite a nice career in quality assurance if you know how to handle yourself. Of course, we can’t forget about skillset and education. But as you start from an entry-level position you can build your way up to a senior one in no time.
But let’s mention some methods used in QA. I promise they’re mighty interesting and extremely useful!
Quality assurance is a job with different nuances. Generally, there are things that vary depending on the position. However, certain methods need to be implemented even if you are doing quality assurance jobs from home.
- Statistical Process Control: This is a method based on objective data and analysis. It uses statistical methods in order to manage and control production.
- Total Quality Management: involves applying quantitative methods as a basis for continuous improvement. It merely relies on gathered data, facts and analysis to support program planning.
- Failure Testing: This method is used for testing the endurance of physical products. It’s basically bringing the product to the brink of failure or its breaking point. Then, it’s all about determining how much time was needed and under which conditions it happened. It can involve heat, vibrations or pressure. However, when it comes to software quality assurance jobs this method can be implemented by subjecting software under high usage or load conditions.
By following these methods a QA tester will get the best out of the manufacturing process and the products.
We did mention something about software briefly here.
Now is time to dive a little bit further.
Quality Assurance Software
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is a big part of the job. It involves testing out the software and fixing coding errors. Google quality assurance jobs, for example, often involve breaking other features and functionality in order to fix the ones made.
SQA is highly important for developers in order to avoid errors and bugs. Sometimes even a mere update can bring a cascade of errors that break everything apart. SQA saves the developers both time and money.
Software development methodologies have also evolved. They include:
- Waterfall: A traditional linear approach to software development. Includes gathering requirements, implementing code, formalizing a design, code testing, remediation, and release. However, the biggest flaw is that it is rather slow.
- Agile: This methodology is much more helpful for quality assurance jobs as it is faster. It is team-orientated and everything is done as a sprint. This process is highly adaptive but much less predictive.
- Scrum: This one is by far the most efficient as it combines the two together. Developers are divided into teams as they are supposed to handle different tasks. Additionally, each individual task is separated into multiple sprints.
With all the info at hand, it’s time to start your search. You can start by looking for the nearest quality assurance job opportunity.
Or you can simply check out these places…
QA Jobs by City
As you were probably able to tell by now, quality assurance is in high demand. A quick search on LinkedIn shows that there are 192,782 quality assurance positions opened at the moment of writing.
There are multiple and numerous QA jobs near me. The position of Test Engineer is the most popular with 2,736 openings. It is followed by Quality Assurance Manager where we have 2,657 positions available. Quality Assurance Specialist comes third, with 2,649 openings.
The US is by far the leading market for QA specialists. The UK dominates in Europe. As we’re witnessing the growing popularity of QA jobs, we’re sure that soon other countries will start competing for the first place.
But there are currently three main cities in the US to consider if you want a career in QA.
But if you’re considering a career strictly in the US, here are the three main cities to shoot your shot:
QA Jobs Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana, US is one of the best places where you can find a quality assurance job. The industry is thriving in the area which accounts for many openings in various fields that need QA testing.
If you look at the job listings on Glassdoor, you will see that there are more than 800 jobs available.
ZipRecruiter reports that an average salary in Indianapolis for any QA related position amounts to $72,312. The lowest pay is around $20,000 and the highest at around $115,477.
However, the most sought for position now is an entry-level one.
Quality Assurance Jobs San Diego
You have probably expected a place from California to be on the list. San Diego is the place to go if you want to build your career in quality assurance. The state of California is already a technological hub with a developing IT industry. In fact, many industries are evolving at a rapid pace here.
San Diego is where you want to be to search for great quality assurance jobs. There are more than 1,400 openings listed currently according to Glassdoor.
ZipRecruiter confirms that an average salary is around $40,501 a year, with the lowest being $19,921 and the highest going all the way to $92,966.
The most popular position is Quality Assurance Tester.
Quality Assurance Jobs NYC
You can’t go wrong if you are looking for a QA position in New York City. One of the biggest cities in the world also comes with the most potential for finding a job. Additionally, it allows the most room for growth, as there are major companies where you can develop your skills.
LinkedIn reports more than 8,000 job openings in NYC. Glassdoor sites about 5,000 available ones. SimplyHired has 2,800 ones listed on their platform.
The average salary, according to ZipRecruiter, is $43,388, with the lowest one being $21,341 and the highest going to $99,593.
So if all of this sounds interesting to you and you feel ready for a career in quality assurance, you better start your search with “quality assurance jobs near me”. It will turn you towards a rightful path.
But if there are some things that we didn’t make clear enough, feel free to look at the frequently asked questions part.
Q: What is a quality assurance job?
A: The job of a quality assurance specialist is to ensure that the final product matches the company’s quality standards. They are responsible for the inspection activities, detection, and resolution of problems.
Q: What are the top 3 skills of a QA specialist?
A: Although the job of a QA analyst requires you to have many skills, probably the top three most important ones are: Analytical skills, Interpersonal skills, and Organizational skills.
Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of QA?
A: The responsibilities can greatly vary from company to company. However, more often than not QAs create detailed test plans and test cases, estimate and prioritize test activities, review requirements and documents for providing feedback, and monitoring debugging process results. There are many more that you can read in the text above.
Q: How much does a quality assurance specialist make?
A: The salary depends on many factors – seniority, position and or remote quality assurance jobs. An average hourly wage for quality assurance in the US amounts to $16.11, while average yearly wages revolve around $74,615.
Q: Is QA a good career?
A: Quality assurance is a very important part of the contemporary industry. It is a position that is high in demand. Through it, a person can quite easily enter into IT. If you have all the qualities and skills you can easily learn the ropes and eventually reach senior. Oh, and did I mention that the salary is quite good as well?
To Sum Up
There you have it, folks! Everything about quality assurance engineering jobs and more that you needed to learn before you embark on your journey with QA.
To be more specific:
- If you are the head of a company, you should consider prioritizing this position and implementing it into whatever sphere of business you are doing.
- If you are an employee, you should listen carefully to what the QA person is telling you to do. It is important!
If you are starting your career and are not sure what should you pick up, start thinking about quality assurance jobs.
We may not know what makes our products tick, but these guys do!