List of Software Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer Skills

Software Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer Skills for Resumes and Cover Letters

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A software quality assurance engineer monitors every phase of the software development process and ensures that the design and software adhere to company standards.

Software delays are costly for a company, so it is vital for software releases to meet target dates and stay within budget. A software quality assurance engineer helps meet release deadlines by breaking up the development process into attainable testing goals and relaying any issues back to the development and product teams or leaders.

Jobs for Software Quality Engineers

Software quality engineers work in a variety of fields. You may find them:

  • Assessing whether an airplane's control system meets required performance standards.
  • Designing a plan to test potential human errors in an automated system for drug delivery.
  • Using tools to track software bugs.
  • Making sure a video game won't crash just when you're about to take out the bad guy.

How to Become a Software Quality Assurance Engineer

While there is no license or certification required, getting a job in the field usually requires at least a bachelor’s degree in software design or engineering computer science, as well as prior practical experience. It sounds like a catch-22; you need experience to get a job. The way out of the impasse is to work a series of internships while in school. It is also important to remain up-to-date in the current trends and latest advancements in the field. The state of the art in computer programming can change rapidly.

Top Software Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer Skills

A software quality assurance engineer must have strong skills in a variety of categories: engineering and technology, math and science, verbal and written communication, problem-solving, reasoning and logic, and practical skills like exceptional documentation and time management capabilities. Companies require software quality assurance engineers to have:

  • A bachelor’s or master's degree in software design, engineering, or computer science
  • An understanding of software QA methodologies, tools, and processes
  • Knowledge of SQL and scripting
  • Working experience in software development and software quality assurance
  • Knowledge of the current trends and latest advancements.

Technical Skills
Of course, to be a software quality assurance engineer, you have to thoroughly understand the software you are working with, as well as any number of related tools. Which programming languages, tools, and techniques you have to know may change rapidly; an online list is likely to get out of date quickly. If you are ready to work in the field, you’ll know how to find out what’s current, and have top-notch technical skills such as these:

  • Ability to Code Automated Tests
  • Capable of Using Source Code Repositories
  • Create Test Plans
  • Develop Standards and Procedures to Determine Product Quality and Release Readiness
  • Discover Bugs Within Software
  • Drive Innovation and Streamline Overall Testing Process
  • Experience with Agile Development Process
  • Experience with Web-Based Testing Applications
  • Identify, Isolate, and Track Bugs Throughout Testing
  • Identify Potential Problems Users May Encounter
  • Perform Manual and Automated Testing
  • Research and Analyze Product Features Being Tested
  • Research New Tools, Technologies, and Testing Processes
  • Review User Interfaces for Consistency and Functionality
  • Solid Understanding of QA Testing Environments
  • Thorough Understanding of Software Development Life Cycles

Analytical Skills
It is not enough to know how the software works. To figure out what’s wrong when it does not work, you must be a creative, insightful, and rational thinker. Some people are naturally better at these types of thinking than others, but fortunately, it is possible to improve your analytical skills with practice.

  • Analytical Thinking
  • Attention to Detail
  • Excellent Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills
  • Thinking Outside the Box
  • Willingness to Learn New Technologies
  • Analyze Test Results
  • Break Project into Attainable Progress Goals
  • Identify Areas of Improvement
  • Interpret Technical and Business Objectives and Challenges

Communication Skills
Clear and accurate written and verbal communication is a must, but a quality software assurance engineer must also have more than a little tact. Consider that your job will be to tell other professionals that they have done something wrong, that the program or app they’ve put time, money, and emotion into doesn’t work right. That’s something nobody wants to hear.

  • Strong Written and Verbal Communication
  • Communicate with Technical and Non-Technical Resources
  • Document Test Cases
  • Perform and Document Risk Analysis
  • Record Test Progress and Results

Ability to Work on a Team
You may or may not be the only software quality assurance engineer at your company, but you will be working with other programmers and members of other departments. You will have to understand their goals and objectives and, in some cases, explain problems and necessary solutions and adjusted timelines to people who don’t have any specialized knowledge of software.

  • Flexibility
  • Initiative
  • Proactiveness
  • Persistence
  • Work Closely with Development and Product Teams

Time Management Skills
Part of working on a team means working with other people’s timelines and finishing your work in a reasonable amount of time. Since you don’t know when a problem might arise, keeping on schedule takes strong time management skills.

  • Work Efficiently in a Fast-Paced Environment
  • Ability to Work Independently and in a Team-Based Environment

How to Incorporate Keywords into Your Job Application

Because many employers in the IT field first review the resumes submitted to them using sophisticated applicant tracking systems, it is essential that you include keywords in your resume and in your cover letter. Your best guide to knowing which keyword phrases to incorporate is the job announcement itself, since this will often list many of the skills keywords we’ve just talked about under its “Minimum Qualifications” and “Preferred Qualifications” sections.

Try to use these keywords in a summary of qualifications at the beginning of your resume, in a dedicated technical skills section (or “tech table”), and in your descriptions of your previous work experience.