Essential QA Engineer Skills to Look for in a Quality Assurance Professional

Trung Tran

Trung Tran | 17/11/2022

Essential Skills for QA Engineers - Orient Software

Quality assurance (QA) testing is a fundamental step within the software development life cycle that assures the software or applications are error-free and adhere to the established standards prior to being officially deployed. A QA software testing team collaborates closely with the software development team and stakeholders to develop the testing strategy, and it is typically composed of various roles; each takes responsibility for different tasks overall regarding product quality. QA testers account for a majority of the QA team, and they are heavily involved in the testing processes.

What Do QA Engineers Do?

A quality assurance engineer is also referred to as a software tester, QA tester, or test analyst. Generally, QA engineers are tasked with designing test scenarios and executing test cases to verify software or application to see if it functions flawlessly as planned before release. In addition to test execution, the QA engineer’s role is also to analyze test results, document any identified defects or errors, and track them until they are resolved throughout the development process.

As the software testing landscape has evolved, the duties of a quality assurance engineer can vary accordingly by case or project. Quality assurance engineers are categorized into manual testing engineers and test automation engineers.

Manual Test Engineer

As its name suggests, a manual testing engineer or manual QA tester is in charge of writing the manual test scripts as well as executing them manually to verify the software or application. This process is feasible to be done before or after the software development lifecycle. If bugs or errors are identified, testers will report them directly to the software developers so that they can be fixed accordingly.

Test Automation Engineer

Also known as an automation QA engineer, this testing specialist takes responsibility for automated tests. Using various test automation tools, they will automate the QA processes to minimize the number of test cases to be executed manually by a QA tester and, at the same time, increase test coverage and accuracy without compromising product quality.

The Complete Set of Skills Required for Every Software Quality Assurance Engineer

A good QA engineer is defined not only by the hard skills regarding software testing but also by the soft skills that allow for a strong collaboration with other QA team members, software developers, and project managers. Although the requirements for QA testers vary by the project, as we mentioned earlier, there are some basic skills that should always be included when you hire QA engineers. Let’s go over this list, and you will soon find out what core skills and qualities you should be looking for in your QA team members.

Technical Skills

First and foremost, a good QA engineer must be adept at the technical aspects related to software testing and quality assurance and have extensive experience under the belt.

Technical Skills

Be Familiar with Various Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Models

The SDLC models are frameworks that provide guidance on how a software product should be developed throughout its entire lifecycle. There are different SDLC models, such as Agile, Waterfall, DevOps, etc., and each model has its own distinct pros and cons and fits into different projects and requirements. Therefore, a quality assurance engineer should be acquainted with multiple models so that they can work with any of them, blend into the development process easier, adapt, and contribute accordingly.

Have In-depth Knowledge of Various Testing Methodologies

There are different types of software testing, such as unit testing, performance testing, API testing, regression testing, load testing, etc. And in each project, a few or a lot of them will be implemented to fully validate the software product. As a result, the QA testers are entailed to comprehend all software testing methods and know how to apply the appropriate one in each stage of the software development process.

Possess the Basic Understanding of Coding Concepts

It is not compulsory for QA engineers to code, but it is a big plus if they learn basic knowledge about coding concepts and common programming languages. This will help them immensely when it comes to reading and comprehending the code written by software developers, and they can identify bugs and defects right from within. Moreover, being knowledgeable in coding somehow helps QA testers to communicate much easier with developers as both can “speak the same languages,” which is a productivity and quality boost to test results.

Proficient in Test Automation & Test Management Tools

As stated above, some quality assurance engineers specialize in automated testing, while others are stronger in manual testing. Regardless of their specialization, QA engineers should be familiar with not one but multiple test automation and management tools so that they can easily fit into any project or requirement. This buys you the flexibility to easily assign the software testers to another project if needed or quickly scale the QA team without any hassles.

As we are steadily moving into the era of artificial intelligence and quality assurance testing is getting smarter, the skills of QA engineers need to change and evolve accordingly as well. In the near future, we will see more and more QA teams employing AI-powered testing tools to automate the majority of their work processes. As a result, QA engineers who want to remain competitive in the IT labor market should stay up to date on the latest tools and technologies, especially when the competitiveness is pushed through the roof since more and more businesses utilize QA outsourcing.

Non-technical Skills

In addition to technical knowledge, a test engineer needs to have some practical skills which play a pivotal role in the testing process as well. Even a senior QA specialist may not be a good option when it comes to choosing a member for the QA team if he or she lacks the following soft skills:

Non-technical Skills

Critical Thinking & Problem-solving Skills

A QA engineer needs to have analytical skills and be able to think out of the box when it comes to problem-solving. The ability to bring forth original and innovative solutions is always a valuable asset for any tester, as this will help them immensely in their job role. With critical thinking and problem-solving skills, they can quickly figure out the root cause of any issue, evaluate all available options, and recommend the best possible solution.

Good Communication Skills

This is one of the most vital skills that every quality assurance specialist should have, as they need to communicate with other members of the development team on a daily basis. Software testers should be up to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely so that there will be no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Moreover, they should also be an active listener to be able to understand the requirements accurately and execute their tasks accordingly.

Attention to Detail

As a quality assurance engineer, it is your responsibility to make sure that every single detail related to the software quality is accounted for, even how small or insignificant it may seem to be. This attention to detail will help you catch even the most minuscule of bugs and errors that can impactfully influence the quality of the final product.

Strong Time Management Skills

This is another essential skill that every software tester needs to have as they need to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and meet deadlines. Therefore, they should be able to utilize their time effectively so that they can complete all assigned tasks within the set timeframe.

Interpersonal Skills

QA engineer needs to have strong interpersonal skills as they need to interact with various members of the development team on a daily basis. They should be able to build good working relationships with other team members and maintain a positive attitude under pressure. In addition to that, working well in a team environment and contributing towards the success of the project should be in their area.

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