Tech companies that build software products understand the importance of hiring a Quality Assurance team. Usually this team is led by QA Managers and comprised of QA Engineers and QA Analysts who work on outlaying a framework that sits between the end user and the development team.
Since quality assurance skills are so important in the development cycle, it is good to have a foundational understanding of how QA teams operate. QA Engineers typically understand and write code. QA Analysts typically don’t write code, but they understand the process of the development life cycle. Both Engineers and Analysts test software in different ways. The goal of quality assurance is to validate that the code functions true to design and concept. It is up QA to communicate the health of the applications to the software team.
Additionally, QA ensures that products are safe from a cybersecurity standpoint. QA can also assess the software development process and suggest ways to improve and streamline it.
In a nutshell, QA is a living, breathing set of rules and refinements that governs how a product is engineered. The QA process is inherently continually improving and evolving, meaning that engineers are testing and checking their approach on an ongoing basis.
Setup and management of the testing environment includes:
You need to have a plan. Software engineers address heaps of criteria over the course of product development. It is important that QA teams and developers work in conjunction with the product team to devise what to fix and when: QA finds issues, product defines where to prioritize the fix, and engineering delivers based on those priorities Efficiency is critical in this phase, and can have real repercussions production costs and time to market.
Best practices around QA automation starts with deciding which processes to automate. The usual suspects for automation are the most important scenarios that almost all users encounter, and low-hanging fruit that engineers use to build the framework from more complex use cases.
QA engineers also may target test processes that have lots of tough points and prone to human error. They may also identify frequently used functions that introduce high risk conditions that may jeopardize application integrity.
Other likely targets for automation include tests that run across different systems, or that involve several different data sets. Usually these require a great deal of time and effort to conduct manually.
Automation engineers create test scripts using specialized tools. Some of the popular choices here include SpecFlow and Cucumber.
If you’re working in Selenium a granular understanding of coding frameworks is not necessarily required. However, senior QA analysts and QA automation engineers working with a robust suite like UFT need familiarity working with C#, Python, Java, Perl, SQL, Ruby and front-end languages XML, HTML, and CSS.
Note that as a project matures, so too must the automation coverage. It is important that QA is able to continually improve the products performance, reliability, and coverage. The goal is to get to the point where you can provide immediate feedback to developers.
As always, the project dictates exactly which language and frameworks are the most valuable. It is beneficial for development and QA teams to be aligned so they can easily share knowledge and insight. This helps in the peer review process as well.
Aside from coding and automation skills, QA Engineers should be adept at defect tracking and using project management apps. Some QA team members will have cross over skills and will be expected to perform analysis and manual testing. QA Analysts should understand software development life cycle and how to adapt it for different environments. Having a QA team that can assess complex processes and understand the user's needs is imperative.
On the job market? Check out QA Engineering jobs here.