10 Software Quality Assurance Careers That Make Calculus Worth It
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- STEM professionals are in-demand in the field of software QA.
- The different types of software QA roles available can fit different people's interests.
- You can earn a high salary in software QA depending on your role.
- You can earn qualifications in various ways to start your career in software QA.
Software quality assurance, also known as software QA or SQA, is a fast-growing technical field with many job opportunities.
If you're interested in STEM, studied computer science, and have an eye for detail, you might enjoy working in software QA.
Keep in mind: Entry-level SQA jobs are often fairly generalized, but as you grow in your QA career, you can take on more advanced and specialized projects.
10 Quality Assurance Careers
Entry to Associate Level: Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer
A quality assurance engineer is a specialized position. Software QA engineers are responsible for building the software testing process.
They develop the tests for existing pieces of software. Then, they assign these to software testers who run tests and report any glitches or issues found, ensuring that the software can be adjusted to run smoothly.
Entry Level to Associate Level: Software QA Tester
Software QA testers ensure that an existing — often recently built — piece of software is running smoothly in all aspects. This job requires both technical and organizational skills so you don't miss any glitches in the code. Plus, many people often begin their QA careers by working as entry-level software testers.
Associate Level: Software QA Analyst
As a software QA analyst, you'll become highly familiar with the software testing process and the different forms it can take.
Software QA analysts evaluate the software testing process and predict potential software complications. It's useful for QA analysts to have prior QA testing experience before beginning the analyst role.
Associate to Senior Level: Software QA Developer
As a software QA developer, you'll do similar work to that of a QA engineer but with a few key differences. While a QA engineer designs and builds the tests for software testers to run, a QA developer takes an active role in running the tests.
They ensure that the tests work as the testing process is underway. Some companies refer to QA developers as "automation engineers" to differentiate them from QA engineers.
Senior Level: QA Team Coordinator
As a QA team coordinator, you'll need organizational and interpersonal soft skills as well as technical skills. Coordinators ensure that each team member on a QA project has appropriate responsibilities and completes them within the necessary timeframe.
A team coordinator must understand the software development and testing process while also strongly grasping the ins and outs of project management.
Senior Level: Software Test Manager
As a more advanced software QA role, a senior software test manager manages and organizes a company or organization's entire software testing process.
A senior test manager sets a company's software testing agenda. They do so by choosing the number of QA software engineers and testers needed for a project and then deploying the tests, projects, and assignments to the company as a whole.
Entry to Associate Level: Software QA Business Analyst
As a role that combines business with technology, working as a software QA business analyst involves both the technical and financial side of software projects.
A QA business analyst determines the effectiveness and financial feasibility of the software testing process. And they try to identify any changes that can be made to the QA side of a software project. They do so to increase the financial efficiency of a project without harming the final outcome.
Entry to Associate Level: Network QA Engineer
QA engineers build specialized testing processes specifically for network-based software. This process often differs greatly from traditional QA engineering and becomes more complicated.
Rather than work with an individual piece of software, network QA engineers assess the bigger picture. Because of this, network QA engineers need to have a broader understanding of networks and the testing process.
Entry to Senior Level: Software QA Consultant
For a flexible job in software QA, consider software consulting. Software QA consultants are often hired by different companies on a contractual basis to troubleshoot specific software QA issues.
Many smaller companies, like startups, hire consultants for shorter, time-limited projects. Working as a consultant gives you variety in your work and the ability to accept or decline projects as you see fit.
Associate to Senior Level: QA Project Manager
A software QA project manager is an advanced, management-level job. The position requires not only advanced technical and organizational skills but also knowledge of the business side of tech and interpersonal relations.
A project manager oversees every aspect of a software QA project from a management perspective, ensuring that developers, testers, and all other members of the team work smoothly and complete necessary tasks on time.
How to Find a Software QA Job
If you have a bachelor's in computer science or another type of qualification in software quality assurance, you can take advantage of many tools when beginning your software QA job search.
You'll need to design a CV and prepare for practical demonstrations of your technical skills, sometimes in the form of short online tests, for potential employers.
Your college or bootcamp may offer career services and counseling, as well as the opportunity to attend career fairs. Any of these services can help you connect with potential employers.
Employers also post software QA job opportunities on a wide variety of online job boards and search tools, including some of the largest sites like Indeed and LinkedIn.
Frequently Asked Questions About Software QA Careers
What is the highest-paid software quality assurance job?
How much you earn in a software QA job depends on your level of experience, industry, employer, and geographic location. But senior-level software QA jobs tend to make more than entry-level positions.
Many senior software QA roles, like senior developers, test managers, and other positions that require managing a broader team of software QA professionals, make well above six-figure salaries on average.
That said, you'll likely need to spend several years in entry- and associate-level positions before you're qualified for one of these roles.
What is the best software quality assurance job?
The best software quality assurance job for you is a personal decision that depends on multiple different factors. In addition to salary and benefits, consider what aspects of SQA interest you, the type of work environment you prefer, and what sort of work-life balance you want.
For instance, if you prefer to work remotely, want a job with flexible hours, and enjoy the design-related aspects of SQA, the best job for you will differ from the best job for someone who wants to work in an office and collaborate with coworkers.
Can I become a software quality assurance professional with an online degree?
There are many online degree and certificate programs you can enroll in to become trained or certified in software quality assurance as a professional.
These can include online bachelor's degree programs in computer science, information technology, or related STEM fields from accredited colleges or universities.
And if you already have a bachelor's degree, you may also consider a software QA-focused program at an online tech bootcamp. Especially because more highly respected bootcamp programs are switching to online or hybrid program formats.
How much money can I make as a quality assurance professional?
Working in software QA can earn you a comfortable living. Even early career software QA professionals, like software testers, can make close to six-figure salaries and above.
But keep in mind that pay will depend on your company and location. However, after a few years of experience working as a software QA professional, you'll be qualified for more senior roles and a higher salary.
For instance, software testing managers earned a median annual salary of $159,010 in May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What is the fastest way to become a software QA professional?
For those who don't have previous training in software QA or a related field, taking courses through a bootcamp or other non-degree certification program is the fastest way to enter the field.
These programs can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to complete. And many reputable bootcamp programs offer career counseling and services or job and internship placement opportunities. So check your bootcamp's placement opportunities before you enroll.