QA Tester Job Description
Also known as quality assurance technicians or software quality assurance engineers, QA testers are primarily responsible for checking new software products, such as those for gaming systems or mobile applications, for defects or issues. QA testers run various tests on software to ensure it meets all standards and guidelines and is ready to be marketed to consumers. They identify issues and run debugging programs as needed. QA testers also generate reports, work with software developers to correct issues, and upgrade databases as required.
QA testers work mainly for software development companies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that those working in the field of software development, including QA testers, can expect a 24 percent employment growth increase from 2016-2026. The continued trend of new applications and software development are believed to play a major role in this projection.
QA Tester Duties and Responsibilities
QA testers must complete several tasks to meet the daily demands of this occupation. We have closely examined several job listings and found the following to be among those responsibilities most commonly indicated for QA testers:
Run Tests on New Software and Applications
In their main role, QA testers run various tests on new software products to ensure that programs satisfy all specifications and requirements. They identify any problems and run debugging programs to fix issues. Once issues have been resolved, QA testers run additional tests before products are issued for sale to consumers.
Record Defects and Issue Reports
QA testers record all defect details, creating and distributing reports outlining the types of defects found and the steps taken to resolve these issues. Maintaining documentation, such as change logs, regarding software and application defects helps QA testers recognize similar problems in the future and to provide quick resolution.
Assist Software Developers with Design Processes
QA testers apply their knowledge early in the software development process. They work closely with developers to recognize the potential for any operational issues, assess risks, and resolve issues before the new software is complete.
QA Tester Skills
QA Testers are expected to demonstrate strong analytical, organizational, problem-solving, and written communication skills to satisfy the main duties of this profession. Successful QA testers are detail-oriented, self-motivated individuals who can work closely with teams of designers, engineers, and other related personnel while also being able to work independently as needed. They should display good judgment and be able decision-makers capable of exercising strong time management skills. In addition to these capabilities, QA testers should possess the following skills and abilities:
- Applying testing programs to new software
- Identifying bugs in new systems and understanding how to resolve them
- Generating reports describing defects and resolutions
- Ensuring that new software products are ready for consumer use
- Working with development teams to prevent issues with new products
QA Tester Tools of the Trade
To complete all job tasks, QA testers generally rely on several tools throughout their workday. If you have the desire to work as a QA tester, you should have a strong understanding of the following:
- Defect management tools – it is essential that QA testers have complete knowledge of various defect management tools, such as Microsoft Test Manager (MTM) and JIRA
- Database management systems – used to write queries and upgrade databases following debugging or repairs of product defects
- Programming languages – basic understanding of programming concepts and languages, such as C# and Java, are helpful for those in this occupation
QA Tester Education and Training
Most employers prefer that QA tester job candidates possess a bachelor’s degree, notably in computer information science or computer science. While not typically required, specific certifications, such as those issued by professional associations or testing software manufacturers, can be helpful to begin or advance in this career.
QA Tester Salary
The BLS states that the median annual salary for those in software development, such as QA testers, can range from $100,080 to $106,860, depending on whether one is working with software or applications. Those earning at the 10th percentile can earn a median salary between $58,300 – $64,650, while top earners can make $157,590 – $163,220. Those employed by software publishers tend to be among the top paid in the industry. California ($120,710 – $128,800) is one of the top states in the U.S. for QA tester mean annual wages.
QA Tester Resources
Review the additional resources we have supplied for more information about this career. Follow the links to books, blogs, and more to find out more about what is involved in becoming and working as a QA tester.
Association for Software Testing (AST) – Since 2004, AST has been providing QA testers with professional support through conferences, training opportunities, and videos of keynote speakers.
Society of Quality Assurance (SQA) – Through online education courses, publications, and mentoring, SQA offers a solid support system for QA professionals of all kinds, including QA testers.
ReQtest Blog – QA testers will find many articles of interest in this blog, such as overviews of bug report templates, software testing planning practices, and testing processes for agile projects.
Thinking Tester Blog – QA testers can find detailed articles focusing on best practices and professional thoughts regarding the field of software QA testing.
AST Blog – From communication practices to testing exercises, this blog offers QA testers helpful advice and strategies they can use in their daily work life.
Software Testing 2nd Edition – A professional software consultant provides detailed information about testing approaches as well as how to find problems and ensure software is ready for release to the public.
Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach – Written by professional QA testers, this book provides first-hand accounts focusing on strategies for testing and bug reporting and explains common pitfalls in the career and how to avoid them.
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