QA Engineer Job Description
QA engineers, also known as quality assurance engineers, play an important role in the manufacturing process. They are responsible for making sure all manufactured products meet company and industry quality standards. Running tests on products often involves using the product or conducting experiments to test the product’s durability. Their work environment is in manufacturing facilities or testing laboratories. Many industries employ QA engineers. Some examples are the textile, automotive, toy, and electronics industries. Some manufacturing facilities are open seven days a week and have extended evening hours, so some QA engineers have to work evening and weekend shifts.
QA engineers start at the junior level, working under senior level QA engineers until they learn enough to be promoted. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for industrial engineers, which includes QA engineers, is set to rise 10 percent through 2026.
QA Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
Ensuring every step of the production process meets quality standards involves many different tasks. We analyzed QA engineer job descriptions to come up with the following list of common QA engineer duties and responsibilities:
Establish and Maintain Quality Management Systems
QA engineers create the quality management policies and procedures that are followed by all employees who are a part of the production process. These systems are created to the ISO 9000, an independent set of quality assurance standards.
Develop and Monitor Performance Metrics for All Stages of the Production Process
QA engineers are responsible for figuring out how to quantify quality in all steps of the production process. This requires a deep understanding of the specific key production performance indicators of their employer.
Inspect the Quality of Raw Production Materials
Collaboration with others in the supply chain is vital for QA engineers. They work with the purchasing team to inspect the raw materials coming in from vendors and reporting deficiencies as they are discovered.
Run Various Tests on Finished Products
QA engineers create and run the various tests necessary to prove the product performs as intended. These tests vary substantially based on industry.
Determine Root Cause of Faulty Products
Deficient products aren’t just discarded and forgotten about. It is the responsibility of the QA engineer to figure out if there is a larger issue behind a dip in quality.
Prepare Regular Quality Reports
QA engineers provide regular status reports to management.
QA Engineer Skills
QA engineers need expertise in the principles of industrial engineering. They have to have an intricate understanding of all phases of the production process in order to devise and implement quality management systems. QA engineers also have to be experts in the ISO 9000, the industry-accepted quality assurance standards. These standards are used throughout all quality assurance processes. QA engineers have to be ethical and possess a genuine passion for perfection. In addition to these areas of knowledge and character traits, QA engineers need the following skills to obtain employment:
- Using knowledge of ISO 9000 to craft and implement quality management systems
- Analyzing key production performance indicators to determine efficiency at each stage of the production process
- Creating and conducting tests to ensure products function as designed
- Identifying deficient products and working with other engineers to find and fix the cause
- Crafting regular quality assurance reports and presenting them to management
QA Engineer Tools of the Trade
- Programming tools – QA engineers use linear and integer programming to design and implement quality management systems
- Planning tools – used to plan out each production employee’s role in the quality assurance process
QA Engineer Education and Training
QA engineers need a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering to find employment. During their coursework, they cover topics such as operations research, engineering analysis, quality control, simulation, facilities planning, and design.
QA Engineer Salary
According to Glassdoor, the national median salary for QA engineers is $79,967. Those at the high end of the scale make above $108,000, while those at the low end of the scale make below $59,000.
QA Engineer Resources
The following list of resources was composed for aspiring QA engineers who want to build a career in quality assurance:
Society for Quality Assurance – This organization was founded in 1980 and has since grown into one of the most well-known organizations in the field of quality assurance. It has a regulatory resources section on its website that contains vital regulatory information for all types of quality assurance professions. The website also has an education section with an online learning center, as well as a section designated for information on the RQAP certification.
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers – Although this organization is for all types of industrial engineers, there are several QA engineers among its membership. It offers national and local professional development workshops, as well as digital resources.
Introduction to Statistical Quality Control – This book covers all of the statistical concepts QA engineers use to perform their duties. It is an excellent educational resource.
Total Quality Management: Key Concepts and Case Studies – What separates this book from other books on the market is that it contains case studies to back up all of the advice given. It is a wonderful read for both current and aspiring QA engineers.
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