With its fast-growing number of resources and demand in the industry, quality assurance is becoming an attractive career path for many. While some companies include only a few specialists and some have a dedicated team dealing with quality control, it’s safe to say that the need for this field is on the rise. However, so many different titles and roles may confuse aspiring developers when trying to find the right career choice. For this reason, our QA Specialist Kazimieras Gricius explains how the quality assurance works and how to start a successful career in breaking things for a living.
We all know that QA, or the quality assurance team, is about saving grace of the entire product team. Could you introduce us to the different roles and titles of the QA field?
Smashing two letters (QA) on the keyboard and sending it to the realm of knowledge (The Internet) would get you a result of a bunch of roles and titles. The difference between them can be fuzzy and unclear. Ok, let’s distinguish the difference between most commonly found and commonly mixed roles: QA and Software Tester.
QA or also QA Engineer participates in and monitors every phase of the software development lifecycle from the beginning. They help to improve the processes used during development to ensure that a high-quality product is delivered.
Software Tester, also known as QA Tester or Test Engineer, focuses on actual testing, using test cases and other different strategies to identify defects and bugs of software before users do. Testers often step into the shoes of the user and are given the opportunity to tell the team, “This software is some serious gourmet shit!,” or “Sorry my friends, there’re lots of bugs that need to be fixed”. Overall, both roles are responsible and work in the same direction and focus on product quality, but QA Engineer activities are mostly process-oriented and Software Tester’s are product-oriented.
Also, you can stumble upon other titles. Automation Engineer is mostly responsible for developing scripts to run automated tests. Test Analyst identifies test conditions and the app’s features that need to be tested and creates test cases.
All of those roles and titles are part of the QA process. In real life, QA Specialists are usually responsible for most quality assurance activities. They take roles in grooming and planning, develop test scenarios and documentation, do manual software testing, write bug reports, make scripts to run automated tests. Depending on team size, structure, and company’s specific needs, the role of the QA Specialist is viewed and used differently. But, hey, no matter what, don’t let titles define who you are, continue to push the boundaries and you’ll make a mark not only on the software but also on the entire team or even the company.
Why would you say people should consider choosing the QA field for their career? Is there a high demand for QA Specialists today?
I would say that you choose the right path. As of today, companies and users prefer quality over quantity, so the demand for QA specialists is still growing. As technology is constantly growing and developing, the challenges arising in the field also become more complex. Software development processes are now more complicated, which makes it challenging to ensure end-user satisfaction at all stages. Because of that, businesses see the need to appeal to customers by making sure their products work smoothly and are easy to use. QA specialists, along with other teams, help to ensure high-quality release. So, yes, there’s a high demand for QA Specialists.
Ok, tell us how you started your career in the QA field?
What’s most interesting about me is that I first wanted to become a teacher, so I actually graduated in Geography. Later on, I found out that I have a knack for IT, so I decided to change my path a bit and took on a programming course. After that, I was discovered by a company that offered me a job as a QA Specialist. I didn’t know a single thing about QA or testing in general at the time, but the job sounded interesting, so I took this chance and started my career as a QA Specialist. I was working there and quickly learning. At that time, testing was still a pretty new thing and a growing demand, as companies were just starting to see the need for testing their applications, and it’s relevant to this day.
What challenges have you faced since then?
At first, companies didn’t really know what to expect from QA specialists, as we were all learning together as we went. Now, when the demand for testing has grown and the companies started figuring out new techniques and raising higher expectations, it might become difficult to always come up with new methods to test better, faster, stronger. With IT, it’s always a fast-changing environment, so a QA specialist has to be flexible, dynamic, and easily adapt to the environment.
Could you recommend any QA resources (online guides, references, YouTube channels, etc.)?
There’s lots of information on the Internet about quality assurance as a subject. But first, I would suggest to find some time and participate in Bugs’a’loud events where QA Specialists talk about various topics on testing and quality assurance.
Also, a great source for learning is the Udemy platform. There you can find online courses on various subjects that can help you improve or develop additional skills you can later use at work.
That’s great! Could you share any tips on how to prepare for the first QA job interview?
First of all, you should know your testing concepts. You must be acquainted with testing methodologies, which would get you halfway. What’s even more significant is to know which technique of testing can be applied at what stage of development. It’s always a plus if you know more of the concepts than what you have worked on, even if it’s only general understanding. It would show that you’re curious and eager to learn.
Any other important things to remember before starting your career as a QA Specialist? Tips?
Another tip that could help you both in your job interview and when working is to try to think out of the box. Yes, it’s a cliche, but it truly works. You shouldn’t just follow the traditional methods. Try new things when testing and always think from the user perspective. Imagine you’re the one actually using the application, what features bug you, what would you like changed or made easier? When working, remember not to judge yourself too much if you miss some bugs when testing, you’re only a human and you’ll learn with time. Just try and have fun with it and the rest will follow.