Discovering the QA Career: Roles, Responsibilities, and Tools

Andrei Secu
4 min readJul 31, 2023

A QA career is easy to start as it does not require code skills from the beginning. Even though, it demands a lot of research and process learning. I already counted the advantages of choosing the QA career in my previous post. As a first step, it is important to understand the main QA engineers’ roles, responsibilities, and tools.

QA Engineer’s Roles

QA engineering is a hot job in the IT industry. It’s a great choice because it’s easy to start, and you can work with the latest technology after a short time of learning. But before we dive into technical stuff, let’s see the main roles you can have as a QA specialist:

  • Intern & Junior Quality Assurance Engineer
  • Test Engineer or QA Analyst
  • Senior QA Engineer
  • Automation Test Engineer
  • Senior Automation Test Engineer
  • Lead QA Engineer
  • QA Manager
  • QA Director
  • Chief Quality Officer (CQO)

As you can already admit, the order of the listed above roles is dependent on the task’s complexity and levels of responsibility.

There is a series of responsibilities each role should be able to take commitment in order to succeed in this field of IT:

  1. Develop and execute test plans and test cases to verify software functionality.
  2. Identify, track, and report bugs and ensure developers fix them by retesting them.
  3. Collaborate with the development team to provide high-quality software products.
  4. Evaluate software functionality against user requirements.
  5. Participate in design and code reviews to ensure compliance with quality standards.
  6. Write and maintain manual and automated (for automation testers only) test cases, test scripts, and test data.
  7. Document and report test results and defects.
  8. Participate in continuous improvement of software quality processes.

It is quite difficult to remember all the above bullet points when you are reading it for the first time in your life, therefore, if you like to get a common general definition of what a QA is doing then simply remember ‘A QA engineer plans, does and reports the tests that identify issues within software before a product is launched‘. Of course, it’s not a deep answer but it will allow you to provide a general understanding of what being a QA engineer means.

QA Management Positions

Starting with Lead QA Engineer and finishing with Chief Quality Officer, the technical expertise should be at a professional level, which would allow to teach and mentor other fellows. Also, a special focus should be aimed to cover the quality assurance processes. Considering the most important things a Quality Assurance Manager should do, we can enumerate the following list:

  1. Overseeing and managing the QA team.
  2. Developing and implementing software quality processes and procedures.
  3. Defining and communicating quality standards and best practices.
  4. Creating and maintaining test plans and test cases.
  5. Collaborating with the development team to ensure high-quality software products.
  6. Tracking and reporting software quality metrics.
  7. Identifying and resolving quality issues and ensuring they are addressed by the development team.
  8. Evaluating and implementing new tools and technologies to improve software quality.
  9. Mentoring and training team members.
  10. Participating in continuous improvement of software quality processes.

For sure, we can not list all of the responsibilities a manager could have cause they are business dependent and should be discussed in particular cases. However, above I have covered the most important tasks that are driven for the daily activities of a QA Manager.

Must-Know Quality Assurance Tools

Perhaps, I would say that it is not sufficient to own the skills that allow taking commitment over the above-mentioned tasks. For starting your QA career with a junior-mid position it is absolutely necessary to own skills and competence in using different testing tools, like the ones below:

  1. Test case management tools (e.g. JIRA, TestRail)
  2. Bug tracking tools (e.g. JIRA, Bugzilla)
  3. Automated testing tools (e.g. Selenium, Appium, TestComplete, Cypress)
  4. Performance and load testing tools (e.g. Apache JMeter, LoadRunner)
  5. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) tools (e.g. Jenkins, Travis CI, TeamCity)
  6. Code version control tools (e.g. Git, SVN)
  7. Virtualization tools (e.g. VirtualBox, VMware)
  8. Scripting languages (e.g. Python, Ruby)
  9. Test Management tools (e.g. Zephyr, qTest, XRay)
  10. Database tools (e.g. MySQL, Oracle)

Hey, do not worry. The employees do not require you to possess all of the tools I have just listed for the very beginning of your QA career. We will discuss more details about how to build your own QA Career and where to start.

Individual Challenge

Even if there are a lot of people who are saying that starting a QA Career is easy, I know how hard it is to remember such a large amount of new details, especially when you come from another industry. However, I would encourage you to take it easy, step-by-step, and start to build your own profile as a future QA engineer. For this, you should select one of the above-mentioned roles and start reflecting on the tasks you will perform as a junior QA. (I suppose Junior QA Test Engineer). Once you finish writing down all the tasks you will perform, start analyzing each tool set you would need to accomplish your tasks.

For example: As a junior QA engineer I would need to write test cases, therefore I will learn Jira which is the most popular tool for writing test cases according to Y organization (or the source where you have found this tool description).

Go for it!

Ready to embark on an exciting QA journey? Take the first step now and start your path to success in the world of Quality Assurance! Follow me for more tech-educative stories and content.

--

--

Andrei Secu

QA Automation Manager at Snow Software & SoftwareMind | ISTQB Certified Tester | Professional SCRUM Master I Certified | Professional Product Owner I Certified