QA Tester: Career Paths Earnings and More

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A QA tester, also known as a quality assurance tester, is an important part of the design process. They go through different stages of development to make sure each process is working correctly. They also make sure that the individual parts work together well and that heavy traffic won’t overwhelm the system. 

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This article covers everything to do with QA testing, including the pay, a description of the job, and how to start a career in QA testing. 

What is QA Testing?

QA Testing is someone that works with websites or software. They work on testing these websites in a variety of cases to ensure everything works as it should. Their role is vital in ensuring that only quality technology, apps, and sites are sent to clients. 

What Does a QA Tester Do?

A QA tester has the task of making sure products work as they should before finally being released to customers or clients. I

If a QA tester does their job correctly, they help the company in many ways, such as making sure the products are safe, keeping the brand reputation high, increasing the efficiency of the company, and improving the scalability of products. 

They make notes of all the errors or points they have and work with the rest of the team. If they know what might fix the problem, they can offer suggestions. The more detail they can provide about each of the errors or problems, the better, as it provides a better understanding for the coders and designers to fix.

QA testers, software developers, and automation engineers Comparison Table


QA TesterSoftware DevelopersAutomation Engineers
Career PathBachelor’s degree in something related to computers, like software engineering, then an internship, then a job. You will need to get a bachelor’s degree in computer information technology or something similar. An internship and certifications are also a bonus. A bachelor’s degree in automation, electrical engineering, electronic engineering, process control, or mechanical engineering is necessary. Then an internship and certifications to improve your chances.
Job DescriptionExecute tests on source code Analyze test results and share them with the rest of the team Correct bugs and errors alongside the development teamDirect software programming and documentation Consult with departments on the status of projects and proposals Fix errors, adapt them to different hardware, and upgrade as neededWriting reports outlining new concepts, outcomes, and efficiency Program new automated components to the manufacturing process Develop and maintain clear documentation of equipment and processes
Skills Ability to work in a team Critical thinking skills Understanding of various coding languagesCreativity Understand concepts of software development Deep programming language knowledgeExcellent computer skills Ability to troubleshoot on your own Flexibility Adaptability Organizational skills
ToolsTestsigma Selenium AppiumGit Atom Jira Visual Studio NetBeansSelenium TestComplete Ranorex Appium Jenkins
PayAbout $67,000 a yearThe median annual wage is $121,000The average salary is $112,000 a year

QA Tester Job Description

QA Testers have the responsibility of testing various software and websites for quality before it opens up to clients. Some of the standard job descriptions include:

  • Executing test cases under a variety of circumstances
  • Documents and evaluates the results of the test
  • Works alongside software development teams and engineers to improve quality
  • Tracks defects and troubleshoot errors
  • Reviewing and analyzing products for system specification

QA Tester Skills

There aren’t a lot of specific skills needed to be a QA tester. Since every company and program uses slightly different codes, languages, and development processes, every job is a little different. There are some general skills that all QA testers need to share. 

The examples of skills that many QA testers need include:

  • Proficient in test management software
  • Excellent skills in written and verbal communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Solid skills centered around analysis
  • Understanding of various programming languages
  • Ability to stay organized
  • Comfortable testing execution, automation, and test tools
  • Understanding of Agile frameworks and regression testing

Types of QA Testers

There are seven different types of QA testing. A QA tester will often participate in one or a couple of these, but rarely all of them. Being tasked with too many forms of QA testing leads to overreach and a good chance of overlooking key problems. 

As a QA tester, you may be expected to perform one or several types of testing, and each job might offer slightly different positions. 

Unit Testing

Unit testing is often the first step. This is when you test parts of the system or product in small parts. For example, in photo editing software, they may test simply whether or not the brush actually works as designed, or the blur tool blurs. 

System Testing

System testing is also known as end-to-end testing. This is where the QA tester runs the whole program as intended, such as playing a game or going through the whole process of buying something on a market site, to make sure there isn’t a fault in the process and everything is intuitive and accessible. 

Use Acceptance Testing

This type of testing occurs right at the end. This is when the QA tester determines that the product works as intended and manages to draw in consumers or users. 

Mobile Testing

Mobile testing is where the QA tester checks to make sure the software or app works well on a mobile device. This includes testing how clear the images and button presses are on the screen, making sure there isn’t too much information on one page, and that everything is easily visible to the average mobile user. 

A QA tester will also often test to see how the app or software handles pop-ups and notifications, such as a text or phone call, while the program is open and running. Battery usage, memory, and phone optimization are also often tested. 

Integration Testing

Integration testing is when codes are tested. These codes are used in various combinations and patterns to make sure that they can be used together without one of them faltering or breaking down.

Sometimes, one line code can also set off a negative effect on another chunk of code, so this kind of testing is important. 

Performance Testing

Performance testing is checking that the program or software will continue to work even when there are a lot of people using it at once. This is especially important for websites or online games. 

Since, realistically, hundreds of people will use this server, app, or site at one time, QA testers need to make sure that the traffic won’t severely slow speeds and reduce quality for all of the users. 

This testing also helps to pinpoint where bottlenecks may be occurring or any possible concerns that they notice checking traffic. 

Regression Testing

Regression testing is simply double-checking that everything works still as intended after changes are made. Occasionally, fixing one problem can actually open up the chances of causing another problem. The QA tester is there to ensure that this doesn’t happen or to catch it if it does. 

QA Tester Software and Tools

Every company uses slightly different testing software, and some may even have their own software that only exists inside their team. However, some of the common testing software include:

  • Testsigma
  • Selenium
  • Appium
  • Lambda Test
  • Gatling
  • Test Studio
  • BlazeMeter

How to Become a QA Tester?

Generally, to become a QA tester, you need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Degrees in computer science, business, information technology, or computer applications are the most common.

Some QA testers have gone above and beyond to get a master’s degree, and some have only gotten an associate’s degree, but both ends of this spectrum are rare. 

Other alternatives besides standard education include gaining experience through internships and getting certifications. Even with a degree, having certifications can give you a boost. 

QA Tester Career Path

To become a QA tester, one must first get a degree in a related field. The most common and useful is software engineering. Then, you will be expected to find an internship to gain experience.

If you can find a mentor during this time that has more experience than you, that is ideal. It is also a good idea to get certifications whenever possible and keep them regularly updated. 

Then, you will start as a junior QA tester. Junior QA testers generally work in teams to make sure nothing is missed and may have a senior QA tester watching over them for extra assurance. 

How Much Does a QA Tester Make?

On average, the base salary equals around $67,000 a year. However, there are often bonuses or overtime pay associated with this job that make the actual yearly wage for most QA testers closer to $73,000. 

The pay can increase as well, as you go from junior QA tester up to senior QA tester. In total, the pay range for QA testers is somewhere between $45,000 and $110,000.

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