QA Engineering Roles: Skills, Responsibilities, and Job Description
The legend of bug-free coding is merely a legend. In reality, the software is often far from flawless, mostly due to mistakes made during the development process. However, these issues can be eliminated at the stage of testing, which is commonly known as Quality Assurance (QA).
How to test software properly? That's when QA engineers come under the spotlight. In this article, we'll review the role of QA, focusing on such aspects as:
- QA skills
- QA responsibilities
- How to write a job description for a QA engineer
What is a QA engineer?
A Quality Assurance engineer is a specialist who focuses on ensuring the quality of software. Their primary objective is to prevent defects and identify errors in the functionality of the product. A QA testing engineer is typically a part of the software development team working at companies across multiple business verticals, from manufacturing and automotive to healthcare and fintech.
There are 4 main roles of QA:
Test Analyst. This role of a QA entails testing requirements and ensuring their completeness, accuracy, and clarity.
Test Designer. This QA role is about designing a slew of tests and planning the necessary setup for testing.
Test Executor. This QA role means performing pre-prepared tests and documenting identified errors.
Test Manager. This is a leading QA role, which means a QA engineer plans, schedules, and controls the Quality Assurance process.
In addition to these roles, there are other common roles of QA:
Manual QA Engineer. In this role, a QA tester interacts with the software as an ordinary user to identify any malfunctioning or incorrectly functioning software elements or functions.
QA engineer automation. The QA tester or engineer tests the software using special programs. In many cases, an automated QA engineer writes these programs to fit the needs of specific software. The goal of this QA role is to ensure the quality, integrity, and endurance of the software infrastructure.
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What are QA engineer skills?
To excel in the QA role, someone should be well-versed in Computer Science as well as have a basic understanding of software engineering. Other essential QA skills are effective communication skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, and practical skills, including documentation and project management. Here are some common skills for a QA engineer:
- At least a Bachelor's degree in one of the STEM fields
- Proficiency in software quality assurance methodologies, tools, and processes
- Required skills in databases like SQL and scripting
- Familiarity with one or more software testing tools
Working as a part of the software development team, a QA test engineer should also absorb the knowledge of other areas. For example:
- Familiarity with the tech specifics of software functionality (Software development)
- Understanding the market and target audience needs (Business analysis)
- Understanding of a project as a whole and its parts (Project management)
- Having business acumen and keeping up with the latest software development trends (Product owner)
QA engineer test: Technical expertise
To give you an idea of the skills of a QA engineer, let's review their tech competencies in more detail. Generally speaking, someone in a QA role should have a firm grasp of the technologies related to software development. Some of the top skills required for this role are:
- Proficiency in automated testing tools, such as ACCELQ, Avo Assure, Microsoft Coded UI, Test Rigor, Selenium, Appium, Behave, Test Farms, Test Complete, Katalon, and others. It's especially vital for the QA engineer automation role.
- Familiarity with the specifics of software packages, web apps, mobile apps, Windows apps, and other software programs
- Experience in working with bug-tracking systems
- Knowledge of web testing tools and techniques
- Knowledge of QA testing technologies, for instance, Jira, Azure DevOps, SOAP UI, etc
- Database knowledge
- Familiarity with SQL and scripting
- Ability to define quality standards and procedures to achieve them
- Expertise working in an Agile environment and knowledge of how to streamline the QA process
- Ability to analyze, define and report issues during the QA process
- Ability to recognize potential issues and risks
- Familiarity with interface design principles for reliability and usability
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However, technical QA skills alone are not sufficient. Soft skills are also crucial for someone to succeed in the QA role. Some of the required soft QA skills include:
- Analytical QA skills
While certain individuals may have a natural inclination towards specific mindsets, the role of the QA engineer test requires enhanced analytical skills, which can be achieved through practice.
- Communication QA skills
Effective communication plays a vital role in faring well in QA roles, including strong verbal and written communication skills. To hire a skilled QA tester engineer, look for the following skills:
- Solid communication skills, both verbally and in writing
- Ability to write a comprehensive and detailed documentation
- Familiarity with documenting risk assessments
- Knowledge of proper tracking test progress and documenting outcomes
- Ability to work under tight deadlines and demonstrate strong time management skills
- Effective teamwork
Whether you are hiring a sole QA tester engineer or a team of QA engineers, collaboration with other team members, including product managers, developers, and department heads is crucial. Your hire needs to have the ability to explain issues, propose solutions, and work with team members who require more familiarity with the software. With that in mind, the following QA skills are necessary:
- High adaptability and flexibility
- Being proactive, self-motivated, and taking initiative when needed
- Persistent in problem-solving
- The ability to effectively collaborate with development teams
What does a QA engineer do?
QA responsibilities are an indispensable cog in the delivery of high-quality software products. In general, QA responsibilities and roles include developing and implementing test plans, test cases, and test scripts, as well as executing various testing techniques. So, what do QA engineers do?
The main QA responsibility is to ensure the highest quality of the end software product. This involves identifying and reporting issues during all SDLC stages. Thus, quality testing engineers provide valuable feedback to the team through requirement analysis, design, development, and UI/UX reviews as well as handle risk assessment.
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Moreover, through thorough quality control, the development team can save time and money by identifying potential issues, bottlenecks, vulnerabilities, etc early on. As such, risk assessment helps identify and prevent potential issues during SDLC, and the role of QA is vital for that.
Creating and executing test plans
Another crucial QA responsibility is creating effective test plans. These plans aim to ensure the software meets both the tech criteria and customer requirements. To develop successful test plans, a deep understanding of the software's architecture and customer journey is essential. This includes functional and non-functional testing, covering areas like performance, security, and usability.
The responsibilities of QA experts span the following types of testing:
- Functional testing: Ensuring software functionality functions properly
- Acceptance testing: Checking software for its compliance with initial requirements
- Regression testing: Testing software to ensure that bug fixes don't affect its functionality
- Performance testing: Verifying software functions properly under heavy load conditions
- Security testing: Checking if the software is susceptible to potential risks and threats
QA engineers should be able to execute all of these tests, document, and report issues to the development team.
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Identifying and reporting issues
Someone in the QA role should identify and report issues (also known as bugs) that arise during software testing. When conducting tests, QA engineers document and report bugs. For this purpose, they should be able to use bug-tracking systems, for instance, Jira. Tools like Jira enable the development team to prioritize and allocate resources for prompt issue resolution.
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Managing bugs and retesting
After QA engineers identify and record bugs, the tech team prioritizes them based on their impact on the product. Then, the development team resolves the issues in order of their priority. The role of QA in this process is to conduct testing to verify the fixes.
Bug management includes tracking and reporting on the status of each issue, also known as writing "bug reports." QA engineers are also responsible for regular updates to keep the team informed about the progress of bug management.
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A QA engineer automation creates and manages automated tests. The role of an automated QA engineer is to uncover hard-to-find issues that may be missed during manual testing. To that end, an automation QA engineer applies multiple automation tools we mentioned above.
Automated tests serve several purposes:
- Speeding up the QA process
- Enhancing test coverage
- Ensuring continuous test execution
- Reducing human error
- Handling complex testing scenarios
As such the role of a QA engineer automation is essential for any development team.
A typical job description for a QA engineer
In this section, we'll cover an example of a standard QA engineer job description you can come across on job boards.
Requirements for QA role:
- At least 2 years of work experience in software quality assurance
- Understanding of all phases of the QA cycle
- In-depth knowledge of software QA methodologies, tools, and processes
- Experience with Jira, TestRail, or related technologies
- Knowledge of Selenium-based automation testing frameworks
- Excellent analytic, problem-solving, and communication skills
- BS degree in Computer Science or related engineering degree
- Exceptional analytical, problem-solving, and communication abilities
- Working effectively as part of a team
- A strong sense of responsibility and accountability
- Conducting requirements analysis and processing
- Designing and implementing a wide variety of test scripts
- Creating and executing test cases, checklists, and other relevant test documentation
- Performing functional and regression testing
- Delivering project quality throughout the entire development lifecycle
As you can see, a typical job description for a QA engineer includes a minimum of 2 years of work experience in software quality assurance, a comprehensive understanding of all phases of the QA cycle, and proficient knowledge of software QA methodologies, tools, and processes. If you require candidates like this, we at Hiretop can be of help.
Hire QA engineers with Hiretop
We can assist you in both meeting your budget requirements for QA engineers and rapidly building your QA team. We specialize in sourcing QA talent, including manual and automated QA engineers from Eastern European countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and the Baltics. These highly skilled QA engineers can seamlessly integrate into your team on a remote basis. Contact us and let’s discuss your tech talent needs.