In 1962, NASA’s Mariner 1 was the first US attempt to send a spacecraft to Venus; it was an ambitious mission and a great leap for the US space program. Unfortunately, shortly after its launch, the spacecraft veered off course due to a software bug. A NASA employee was forced to command the spacecraft to self-destruct. It was a costly mistake. Eighteen million dollars went in vain due to a simple mistake, a missing hyphen in the code. While it was a setback at the time, it served as a valuable lesson to showcase the importance of thorough testing and attention to detail in software development. Mistakes happen, but it’s important to learn from them and use them to improve future project processes.
The story of the Mariner 1 spacecraft highlights another important lesson which is the importance of hiring the right people for the job. This emphasizes the importance of having a good hiring process, and making sure the right people with the right skills and experience are working on your project.
That’s the reason why this section was created — to provide a guide to quality assurance and help you find and hire the best QA engineer for your project. Whether it’s QA testers from the JayDevs team or another company, by understanding the key responsibilities, qualifications, and skills required for QA testers, you can make an informed decision; thereby, ensuring that your software development project is in good hands.
This guide aims to be a valuable resource for anyone looking to hire quality assurance testers, whether it’s for a short-term project or a long-term partnership.
What is Quality Software and Quality Assurance?
Quality is essential in multiple projects, regardless of the type of app you’re building, whether it’s web apps, mobile apps, or both. Quality means providing a seamless and enjoyable user experience, free of bugs, performance issues, UI glitches, and poor UX. Ensuring quality is crucial because if the experience is poor, users might become frustrated and lose trust in your product. This can lead to them searching for alternatives, which can be detrimental to your business.
Software Quality Assurance (QA) is a proactive approach to ensure that the software development process is efficient and effective, and that the final product meets the required standards and specifications. It includes various activities such as planning, testing, and monitoring.
Quality Assurance: software testing process
When it comes to understanding the QA process, the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a great model to follow. Think of it like a journey; each stage is a pit stop. Below you can see the visual representation of the six main stages of the STLC.
The main principles of software testing
The seven principles of software testing are foundational, and they include:
- Testing shows the presence of mistakes, but it’s impossible to test everything;
- Testing should be done as early as possible to catch and fix errors before they snowball;
- Defects are usually concentrated in a small part of the system, so focus on that area;
- Tests should be updated regularly to find new errors;
- Testing should be tailored to the purpose and industry of the software;
- The absence of errors doesn’t guarantee success, the software should meet user expectations;
- Testing should be independent and handled by unbiased professionals.
Types of Software Testing
When understanding software testing approaches, it’s important to know the different types of software testing.
Manual software testing
Manual software testing is like trying to solve a puzzle by yourself. More specifically, it is when a QA engineer manually runs tests without any automation, just like how you would solve a puzzle without using a cheat sheet.
Automated software testing
Automated software testing is like solving a puzzle with a cheat sheet. It’s when a QA engineer uses tools such as Selenium, PHPUnit, Mockery to run tests automatically.
Manual and automation testing have their unique set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, manual testing is great for testing the usability of a software, but it can be time-consuming and prone to human error. In contrast, automated testing is great for regression testing, but it’s not suitable for testing the usability of softwares.
So, when it comes to testing, it’s important to know when to use manual or automated testing.
Software testing can also be classified according to the test object.
Software functional testing
Software functional testing checks the part of the system that is necessary for a user to complete a business scenario (like navigating through forum sections). It includes testing techniques such as:
- Unit testing
- Gray box testing
- Black box testing
- White box testing
- System testing
- User testing
- Database testing
- Regression testing
- Smoke testing
- Ad hoc testing
- Exploratory testing.
Software non-functional testing
Software non-functional testing checks the system performance under various conditions impacting user satisfaction, such as reliability, usability, and scalability. It includes methods such as:
- Security testing
- Localization testing
- Usability testing
Another way to classify software testing is according to the positivity of the scenario.
Negative software testing
Negative software testing is when invalid values and actions are entered to check if the software behaves correctly and gives a human-readable error message.
Positive software testing
Positive software testing is when proper data is entered to check if the program works correctly and behaves as intended.
Why You Need to Hire a QA Tester: Importance of QA Testers in Software Development
The Systems Sciences Institute at IBM has reported a significant cost increase associated with fixing a software error based on when it is discovered during the software development life cycle (SDLC). Specifically, they found that the cost to fix an error after the product release is four to five times more expensive than one uncovered during the design phase, and up to 100 times more than one identified during the maintenance phase.
This highlights the importance of finding and addressing bugs early in the development process, as the cost of fixing a bug increases the later it is discovered in the SDLC. When a bug is found in production, the code must be taken back to the beginning of the SDLC to address it, which can cause delays and added costs to the development process.
Ignoring software testing can lead to several severe consequences, including:
- Lower-quality software: Without adequate testing, it’s much more likely that bugs and other issues will go unnoticed, leading to a software product that is less reliable, user-friendly, and secure.
- Higher direct costs: Wages paid to people involved in the project, including the QA team, will increase if testing is not done properly.
- Increase in indirect costs: Examples of indirect costs include lighting, office space, and other costs associated with the development process. Without adequate testing, these costs can become very high.
- Loss of customer trust and damage to the software provider’s brand image: If customers don’t trust the software provider because of the quality of their products, they will likely look for alternatives.
- Long-term damage to the reputation of the software provider: In order to avoid these damages, it’s important to start testing early in the development cycle, so that bugs and other issues can be identified and addressed before they become a bigger problem.
When it comes to running a successful business, a quality assurance developer is a must-have. The QA tester engineer helps you ensure that your products and services meet the highest standards and offers a host of benefits for your business. Here are just a few examples:
Improve customer loyalty
You can build trust with your customers and keep them returning for more by consistently delivering high-quality products and services. Think of it like your favorite restaurant — if they consistently serve delicious food, you’re likely to return. The same goes for your business.
Faster time to market
With a strong QA process in place, you can identify and fix issues early in the development process, which means your products and services can be released to the market faster. This is especially important in today’s fast-paced business environment, where every second counts.
Lower development costs
By catching issues early, you can also save money on development costs. The cost of fixing a bug found after product release is significantly higher than one uncovered during design, so by catching issues early on, you can save money in the long run.
When you hunt for a top-notch quality assurance engineer, it’s all about finding that special someone with the perfect combination of brains and brawn. You know, the type of person who doesn’t just clock in and out but goes above and beyond to see the bigger picture of the project.
How to Hire QA Tester: What to Look For
What is a Quality Assurance engineer?
The role of a QA engineer (software tester) is a crucial one that spans the entire software development process. They’re the ones who mastermind and execute the plans to ensure the final product is not only fit for end-users’ consumption but also free of any pesky bugs or glitches. In short, they’re the guardians of the software development cycle, protecting it from all harm.
What are the QA engineer’s roles and responsibilities?
The variety of QA job titles and the ambiguity surrounding them can create confusion about the specific role and responsibilities of testers within the larger context of software development. The titles can vary between companies and even within the same company, making it difficult to understand the exact duties and skills required for a particular position. This makes it challenging for job seekers to identify the right job for them and for employers to find the right candidate for a position.
Here, we’re going to break down the three leading players in the world of software testing. We’ll take a closer look at: Manual QA Engineer, Automation QA Engineer, and QA Lead.
Manual QA Engineer (manual tester, software test engineer, QA analyst)
Manual QA specialists play an important role in finding bugs in a system by using their human observation skills. They work closely with the QA Lead to ensure that test requirements align with test objectives. The QA Lead develops a comprehensive test plan, including the testing workflow, test strategy, environment requirements, test schedule, functions to be tested, resources and responsibilities, deliverables, exit criteria, and tools. In turn, testers create test scenarios, which are scripts that outline the input, actions and expected responses.
A manual test is the best way to spot UI and usability issues that automation tests can’t pick up on. During testing, QA engineers compare the actual results with the expected outcomes outlined in the test case and log any defects they find. These defects are then reported to other departments through test execution status reports or bug tracking and management tools, such as Jira.
Once the engineering team has resolved a defect, testing teams verify that the problem has been fixed. The progress of the project and each tester’s workflow is tracked through daily status reports, which can take the form of an email, document, or a live meeting.
- Test management tools (TMTs): Test Manager, TestLink, SpiraTest, TestRail, HP-ALM (QC)
- Defect tracking tools (DTTs): BugZilla, Mantis, IBM Rational ClearQuest
- Project management software: Jira, Redmine, YouTrack, and Backlog
- MS Excel
Automation QA Engineer (SDET, technical tester)
This QA engineer is all about using the latest testing tools to streamline testing activities. They’re all about efficiency and making sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Automation QA engineers possess more advanced skills than manual QA experts, as they are responsible for writing scripts to automate repetitive tests. They have programming skills that enable them to write automated test scripts. As a result, they are often referred to as “software developers in testing.” These QA engineers design, build, test, and deploy efficient test automation solutions using various automation tools. They aim to automate as much of the testing process as possible using minimal code. This way, they optimize the testing process and minimize the use of test resources that would otherwise be utilized if done manually.
- Tools required for manual QA testers
- Automation tools (Selenium, TestComplete, Katalon Studio, and Ranorex)
- Automation testing frameworks (Serenity, a Java-based framework, and developer-centric Cypress)
- IDEs for writing code (VSCode, Visual Studio, and IntelliJ IDEA)
- CI/CD tools (Jenkins and TeamCity)
QA Lead (test lead, lead QA analyst, test manager)
The pack’s leader, the QA lead, is responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly and that everyone is on the same page. They’re the ones who keep the ship sailing in the right direction and make sure everyone is working toward the common goal of creating high-quality software.
- Manual and automation tools
- Project management tools
What are the Quality Assurance engineer skills and qualifications?
Manual QA engineer skills
- Strong knowledge of software testing processes
- Deep understanding of the development life cycle
- Practical experience with different testing types
- User-oriented perspective
- Data analysis skills
- SQL skills
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Communication and collaboration skills
- Self-organized and independent
Automated QA engineer skills
- Knowing common computer languages: Python and Java are the most popular programming languages for test automation, followed by Ruby, С++, Perl, and PHP
- Clear understanding and experience in Agile methodologies
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
Lead QA engineer skills
- Both manual and automated testing skills
- Adept at project planning, task, and people coordination
- Comprehensive knowledge of various testing approaches
- Profound understanding of the business area and the client’s requirements
The role of QA engineers in the Software Development Life Cycle
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is an essential process in software development, and it is a way to track how the relationship between testers and other departments has evolved over time.
Waterfall testing approach
In the Waterfall environment, quality assurance engineers are confined to their specific domain and separated from other SDLC aspects. They receive something to test from developers and then plan and execute the testing independently. While they may interact with other roles, they still function as a separate and independent branch of the SDLC.
Agile testing approach
In the Agile approach, the quality of the product is considered a shared responsibility among all team members. As a result, other roles become more involved in the testing process, thereby working together as one cohesive team. Ideas for testing are shared, developers perform more unit testing, and the business domain is closely linked to QA processes. This collaboration leads to a more efficient and effective testing process, as all team members have a better understanding of the requirements and objectives of the project.
DevOps testing approach
DevOps integrates development and operations even further by merging them into an ongoing cycle that includes testing at every stage. Testing is conducted continuously and seamlessly, as it is integrated into every other task in the project.
The concept of continuous testing in DevOps means that automated testing is an integral part of the software delivery pipeline and aims to provide instant feedback on the business risks associated with a software release. Due to continuous testing, the tester’s role has evolved to encompass the complex and accelerated product development and delivery process. DevOps enables teams to closely work together to release the software faster, with higher quality and reliability.
Why should you choose to outsource quality assurance with a dedicated software development company?
Quality assurance outsourcing is more than just testing a software application or product. It is a holistic approach that helps software quality assurance engineers and testers ensure that all features work seamlessly and that the developed solution is free of bugs.
It is a cost-effective choice for your software development project. If you are working with a tight budget and lack a qualified team to perform testing for your software product, hiring QA testers from a dedicated software development company can perfectly meet your needs without compromising on quality.
Outsourced QA solutions are like a sale at your favorite store, you never know how much you’re saving until you check the price tag. Let’s say you have a bunch of code files that need testing, and it will take roughly 100 hours to test them all, and let’s say you want to bring on three testers to help with the process. Now, let’s compare the hourly rate of in-house staff from the USA, including taxes and perks, to a dedicated software engineer from a place like Lithuania — a Northern European country known for its delicious food and hospitable people. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re saving.
It allows you to take advantage of the expertise and experience of QA professionals while keeping costs low. Furthermore, it will enable you to focus on other essential aspects of your project, such as development and marketing, while leaving the testing in the hands of experienced professionals.
Remember, hiring the right software testers can mean the difference between a product that’s “good enough” and one that’s truly great. So, take your time and make sure you find a provider or an in-house tester that fits your specific needs and budget.
Steps to Hire QA Engineers
When it comes to hiring QA testers, there are a few key steps you’ll want to follow to ensure you find the right candidate for the job. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:
The first step is to create a clear and detailed job description that outlines the skills and qualifications you’re looking for in a quality assurance software tester. This will help you attract the right candidates and make it easier to filter through resumes later on.
Next, you’ll want to review resumes and cover letters to identify candidates who meet the requirements outlined in the job description. This is a good time to look for relevant work experience and qualifications and any certifications or training that may be relevant to the position.
After reviewing resumes, it’s time to conduct interviews with the most promising candidates. This is an opportunity to ask questions about their experience, technical skills, and qualifications in order to get a better understanding of their communication and problem-solving skills.
After the interviews are over, it’s time to make a final selection. This is the time to weigh each candidate’s pros and cons and select the one that best fits the needs of your team.
Terms and contract
Once you have selected the candidate, it’s time to finalize the terms and conditions of the contract and to work out the details of the project.
Start the project
Finally, it’s time to start the project! With the right QA testers in place, you will feel confident that your project is in good hands and that the final product will meet the highest quality standards.