Do you remember the "Bendgate" event alleging that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones were bending in people’s pockets due to Apple's poor design? The iPhone 6 users also reported "touch disease" where the touchscreen would fail due to a flaw in specific touch-controller chip on the motherboard.
This is a classic example of an expensive mistake. The phone wasn't tested for real-life scenarios. The quality assurance engineers working with Apple tested every bit of the new iPhone 6 but failed to test its pliability. It's improbable that quality assurance engineers would test a phone for its pliability.
This is where the work of a quality assurance engineer becomes more than essential. It's your job to assure the quality of the product is met and find and test possible flaws and correct them.
An eye-to-detail, a vast knowledge of the product, and sheer perfectionism are what a quality assurance engineer requires.
What are Quality Assurance Engineers?
Quality Assurance Engineers or simply QA are responsible for ensuring that the product meets a certain standard and doesn't have any bugs or problems. A QA would see if the product works efficiently in both the development phase and user phase. Hence, their work starts with the inception of the idea of any product.
They will rigorously test every process, methods, and finished aspects of the product until its delivery. This does include checking if the product meets the requirement of User Experience because eventually, the product will be used by a random user who may or may not have any information about how the product works.
Many companies hire highly talented and experienced QA engineers to review their code, machinery, hardware, etc. And, most of them are paid a good amount of remuneration.
According to Glassdoor, Quality Assurance engineers earn between $57,000 and $108,000. The national average salary for QA engineers is almost $82,000 per year.
What does a Quality Assurance Engineer do?
Quality assurance includes two principles: "Fit for purpose" (the product should be suitable for the intended purpose); and "right first time" (mistakes should be eliminated).
Every aspect of a certain product goes through these two principles to ascertain if the finished product meets a standard product's quality and desirability.
A typical job description of a QA may include these approaches;
Failure testing signifies the major aspect of quality control. Every product goes through a failure test or stress test to assess if the product fails under stresses such as increasing temperature, humidity, and vibration in the case of hardware and hacking and browser compatibility in software.
This often exposes an unanticipated weakness in the product, which is reported to the development team permanently.
A product may go through hundreds or even thousands of failure tests in a real-life scenario before it's approved.
Statistical process control (SPC) is a quality control method that employs statistical methods to monitor and control a process. This ensures that the process operates efficiently, producing more specification-conforming products with less waste (rework or scrap).
A process is said to be capable of nearly 100% of the process's output within the specifications.
Models and Standards
A part of QA's job is also to check if the product or service meets the general requirements of International Standard such as ISO 17025 and ISO 9001. There are 15 management requirements and 10 technical requirements, where one or more of these requirements are to be met by the in-house QA.
Along with meeting international standards, a QA should also assess if the product meets Company quality.
As a software quality assurance engineer, your tasks would basically include assessing;
- Software design
- Writing source code
- Control of source code
- Reviewing Code
- Configuration Management
- Change Management
- Program Testing
- Integration of Software
- Release Management Process
Software quality assurance engineers are often confused with software testers. The latter test parts of the software at different stages of development. A Software QA oversees the entire development process.
They must work closely with all departments to ensure the software project is on time and on a budget.
How can Quality Assurance Engineers overcome Challenges?
A QA can face many different challenges during their work. The challenges may relate to better understanding, managing, and adopting different types of QA testing.
Here are four different challenges often faced by QA.
Facilitation of Quality
Understanding the nature of business and products is important. The QA must join hands with all related departments to test a product in such a manner that it properly supports the business model.
The quality control landscape keeps changing. A QA must explore innovative ideas to find unique techniques and different QA testing tools to efficiently and quickly contribute to testing a product.
The job of a QA begins from the inception of the product idea. If testing begins at the early stages of the development cycle, they can visualize different quality issues throughout the entire cycle and provide valuable early feedback on sustainable development, feature, scope, and architecture.
Merge Development with Testing
To make the development more effective, organizations need to mix the development teams with software quality assurance teams in terms of knowledge sharing.
The work of a QA is never easy. They need to adapt to changing landscapes and criteria of quality control. A QA would be required to have at least an optimum knowledge of the industry, along with a relevant college degree and experience.
A software quality assurance engineer must have at least a certain number of years of experience with coding languages such as JAVA, HTML5, etc. They should have knowledge and experience regarding web security technology, different testing techniques such as UI testing, Automated Testing, Test Driven Development Strategies, etc.
What is a QA Toolbox?
Many of you may wonder if QA has anything such as a toolbox from where they can bring out handy tools to help fix their work.
Certainly, they do. It's called QA Toolbox. The QA toolbox is filled with things that make validation possible and easier. It includes automated testing tools and the skills necessary to validate applications, database values, and workflows when there is no easy way to validate the correct answer.
For more information on why you should become a quality assurance engineer please check this info graphics.
Searchable Design LLC, based in Urbandale, Iowa, is the US's best web development agency. We specialize in web development, software development, digital marketing, and quality control. Get in touch with us to learn more about building user-friendly software.