What Does a Software Quality Assurance Tester Do?

Software Quality Assurance TestIf you’re interested in a computer science career, but aren’t sure of the various roles available, you may want to know what does a software quality assurance tester do. Quality assurance testers work with software engineers, IT professionals and marketing personnel to ensure that applications work correctly before sending them to the end user. These positions are generally only available in large, for-profit software companies that can afford to employ staff to work exclusively in this role. In smaller companies and free, open-source software projects, the developers and end-users test the software.

Software quality assurance testing is one role in a larger software engineering team that consists of developers, lead developers, technical support and sometimes infrastructure support positions. A job as a quality assurance tester can often lead to a position as a developer, if the right educational requirements have been met. To find work in quality assurance testing, you need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject, such as applied computing technology.

Software Quality Assurance Testing Work Environment

A company’s software engineering team works a regular work week in an office setting. They need to be able to communicate closely with the marketing department to understand the consumer demands for the software they’re working on. The marketing department researches this information and supplies it to the lead software engineer, who explains the project to the developers working on the software.

For very large, complicated applications, a team of software designers works on the first phase of the application by drawing a control flow diagram that represents the structure and behavior of the software. Next, a team of programmers builds the software structures and implements the behavior as the designers mapped it out. As they work, they continuously test each piece of the software to prevent deep, underlying bugs that may take days to fix. Despite this rigorous testing, there can still easily be bugs in an application with over a million lines of code.

When the programmers are finished implementing the code, quality assurance testers make sure it works correctly in every imaginable scenario. Their job is to make sure end-users don’t find software bugs that can damage the company’s reputation. They also ensure that software is user-friendly and meets the requirements laid out by the marketing department. Smaller companies and free, open-source projects usually leave this stage of development to the end-user, releasing beta versions of an application. They respond to bug reports on their websites and eventually release a stable version of the program.

How Much Do Software Quality Assurance Testers Make?

Depending on your level of education and the size of the company you work for, you can expect to earn a salary in the range of $60,000 to $70,000 per year. Since only large software companies employ quality testers, you may have to relocate to another city to find work. With a strong background in programming and computer science, a quality assurance position can lead to higher responsibility and earnings in software engineering, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related Resource: Master’s Degree in Computer Science

With the world increasingly relying on software for everyday needs, software engineering roles are likely to grow more quickly than average. The next time you use Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, you’ll have a better idea of what a software quality assurance tester does.