Quality assurance is a fundamental part of any software development project. It’s therefore a very interesting position with considerable potential for growth. In this article we talk about the importance of QA and the profile you need if you want to devote yourself to this field.
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality Assurance (QA) refers to the part of quality systems aimed at ensuring that the requirements of a product are satisfied. Unlike quality control, QA focuses on analyzing all processes to prevent the occurrence of errors and not on detecting them once they have occurred.
Quality assurance professionals (hereafter referred to as QAs) play a very important role in software analysis, where they are responsible for reducing the number of errors, thereby saving the project time and money. QAs, by the nature of their work, will be in the middle of the “game board”, in contact with parties as diverse as software engineers, product managers, the end customer, customer support, etc.
The importance of Quality Assurance in development projects
To better understand the nature of this work, it’s necessary to delve deeper into the central role played by QAs.
When a customer specifies a set of requirements for its product, it is the QA who is in charge of making this transfer of information between the customer and the technical side of development. His or her job will be to ensure that all the work is done correctly to meet those requirements, preventing errors that might otherwise emerge later.
This is an important task in the initial phases, since poor management of customer requirements will lead to errors and subsequent modifications that will lengthen lead times and costs.
During the development phases the QA will monitor that the project is proceeding to plan, checking over and over again that all the details fit together as envisaged. To do this they will need to develop an appropriate testing plan (either manual testing, automated testing or a combination of the two). In many cases the QA will also have to be in contact with the customer in this phase of the work.
Qualities of a good Quality Assurance professional
As you have seen, a QA professional is going to play an important role in software development projects. Having a number of skills and personal qualities can make all the difference when it comes to performing these tasks. Although there is no universal QA profile, there are a number of skills that QA professionals highlight and value above all others. Let’s take a look at some of these.
As we have already hinted above, the QA will be in communication with many other positions within the project that are very different from each other: development managers, product managers, product owners, CAOs and even CEOs. Therefore, communication skills will be important to be able to communicate appropriately at each of the different levels of the company.
You must be able to convey abstract ideas to developers and at the same time be clear and understandable when dealing with product and business owners. Occasionally, shortcomings, poor results and problems will emerge that will have to be notified with a degree dexterity in order to avoid potential tensions. It’s therefore not only a question of the information to be transmitted but also of how it is transmitted so that the message is properly understood.
As a professional at the center of the project, virtually all information will pass through the QA, so the outcome of the work will depend largely on how all this information is expressed, giving input and output appropriately to each role in the project.
Testing is not just reviewing and completing a check-list. The job of a QA must go beyond that. You should constantly ask yourself what the problem is, and if there isn’t one, what the problem might be. We must always go one step further and not be satisfied with having a product that is functionally viable.
Sometimes there will be a need to be able to think about what is going on, or what happened in the previous job to find the solution and solve the problems. The ability to think “outside the box”, analytically and objectively, scanning for problems meticulously, is a highly valued skill in a QA.
A good QA must be aware of the cross-cutting implications of the quality system for his or her company and for the customer. You must understand the importance of quality assurance beyond the work you do directly with the product. Crucial aspects such as software efficiency, user ratings, customer retention rates, etc. will depend on the results of their work. These are all important aspects in an environment as competitive as this one.
Adaptability and capacity for learning
A QA tester will continually have new applications and products to analyze, with new features, new functionality, changing requirements, etc. You will therefore need to be able to understand all this new information, and more importantly, be aware of what information you require to ensure a good job.
A lack of data at an early stage may lead to errors later on. It is therefore important, even when faced with new projects, that the QA can discern whether he or she has sufficient data or needs more information to get the software to perform as expected.
Any technical training and experience you have is always a plus, but is not essential to finding a QA position. In general, some knowledge of programming languages, testing tools and other types of software will be needed. Training/experience in quality-related positions (quality control, quality management, etc.) can also add points to your profile.
At Centum we are specialists in quality assurance
The QA is a necessary profile in all phases of software development projects. If you are looking for a career as a QA you can leave us your application on this page. If you’re a company that needs QA testing services, you can obtain more information here and get in touch with us.