Test Engineer

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QA Engineer, QA Automation Engineer, Quality Assurance Engineer

Job Description

Test engineers build test automation for products and projects. Testing is when you make sure the product is working well and performing as it should be for every function.  For instance, let’s say you want to make sure the e-mail compose page of a mail program is working properly. Testing engineers would build a program that would automatically launch the action, execute the feature, shut it down and record the results of the test.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Getting to see aspects of your work on products that people use.   
  • Solving problems on a daily basis.
  • Good salary
  • Job stability
The Inside Scoop
Day in the Life
  • Defines, documents, analyzes, performs, and interprets tests for products, systems, components, or modifications.
  • Identifies functional problems and suggest resolutions.
  • Analyzes test cases and provide regular progress reports.

Manager- level

  • Responsible for managing the evaluation, recommendation and implementation of testing procedures and strategies for products, systems, components, or modifications.
  • Acts as advisor to test engineering team regarding projects, tasks, and operations and acts as a liaison to other engineering functions.
  • Ensures that projects are completed on time and within budget.
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Detail-oriented
  • Empathy: Good understanding of the user
  • Persistence
  • Analytical thinking
  • Working well with a team
  • Self-motivation
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Isn’t always as “sexy” as developing the product (software developer).
  • Can be repetitive.
  • Long hours on occasion
Current Industry Trends
  • Strong job growth.
  • High demand for good talent – many of the bigger companies have perks to attract and retain great talent (i.e. work from home, sabbatical).
  • Mobile market is growing.
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger….
  • Fixed things: when things broke, they liked figuring out how to fix them.
  • Played logic games (Sudoku, word puzzles).
  • Played video games.
Education Needed
  • Types of Degrees: BS in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Electrical Engineering highly recommended. (For hardware) BS in Electrical Engineering is highly recommended.
  • If you did not receive a technical degree, have a portfolio of projects you have programmed. 
Top Educational Institutions
Things to do in High School and College
  • High school: Play logic games, Build programs that fix your daily problems.
  • College: Get an internship in engineering or information technology, Code!, Read the trade sites and blogs.
Education Stats
  • 2.5% with HS Diploma
  • 5.4% with Associate’s
  • 50% with Bachelor's
  • 28.8% with Master's
  • 3.8% with Doctoral

% of employees aged 25 to 44 in the occupation whose highest level of educational attainment is for a software engineer

Typical Roadmap
QA Testing Engineer Roadmap jpg
How to land your 1st job
  • Many colleges have college recruiting for technical jobs.
  • Network!
  • Apply for jobs on job listings.
  • Portfolio: Describe programming work that you have done on your own or in an internship.
  • Interview Prep: You MUST prepare. Be ready to solve problems and write code on a white board. They’ll ask you which language you want to write in and then you write in that language.  Practice with friend because the act of writing on a whiteboard and explaining it to an interviewer is very different from coding. Talk through the code and the problem.
How to stay competitive and stay in the game
  • Read tech websites, follow prominent tech people on Google +, Twitter, Facebook (subscribe).
  • Talk to people outside of tech to see what is happening in other industries.
  • Learn a different programming language.
  • Identify a problem that you have and build something to solve your problem – “hacker style”.
  • Work on your communication and management skills.
  • Network!: Attend conferences to stay up to the date with new technologies and major players in the industry.
  • Become certified: Certification is available through the American Software Testing Qualifications Board, Inc., which administers a test for the international board (ITQSB) to people who want to be certified as testers at the foundational (CTFL) level or advanced level (CTAL).
Recommended Tools/Resources
Plan B

Alternate Careers: Information Technology Specialist, Software Developer, Business School -> Product Manager or Product Marketing, Program Manager, Quit and Start your own company.

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