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How to hire a QA engineer: A guide for recruiters

If you want to hire a QA engineer, you’re in the right place. We guess, right now, you are overwhelmed with different questions. You may ask yourself: What do I need to look for when hiring a QA? Can I hire someone without experience but with a desire to learn? Don’t worry. In this blog post, we will try to sort it all out, so you’ll have more confidence and a step-by-step hiring plan. Let’s start.

Who is the QA engineer? The importance of this position for the product

QA engineers are involved in all the development stages to help create a user-friendly and qualitative product. The main responsibility of the QA engineer is testing. Simply speaking, QA tests products during all phases of the software development lifecycle to find any weaknesses and inconsistencies. 

QA is involved in the following steps of software development: requirement testing, test planning, test development, test execution, and test reporting. Let’s see what a quality assurance engineer does in each of them.

Requirement testing

During this stage, the company communicates with the client to gather all the requirements for the desired product. Usually, it’s the BA’s task to create a product roadmap and document its features. However, BAs need to involve technical experts to guarantee the compatibility of the technical components. That’s why during this stage, testers analyze if the client requirements can be integrated into a single system and what development testing stages and techniques are required to create a high-quality product.

Test planning

Before the development process starts, QA needs to define the testing strategy and create a plan that usually includes the project’s deliverables, scope and objective, responsible roles, and defines the testing environment. Why does the project need it? That’s all to prevent unexpected changes and postponed deadlines and ensure that the development process will be well-planned and documented.

Test development

After creating a test plan, the QA engineer proceeds to set up the environment and create test cases - steps and actions a tester has to do to ensure the maximum product quality. 

Test execution

That’s when the QA engineer executes test cases. There are two ways to do this: manually and with automated tests. The testing techniques are determined based on the product complexity and requirements. Automated tests save a lot of time, but it requires some resources to set them up. Manual tests are easier to perform; however, they are less exact.

Test reporting

All the issues and bugs found during the testing process should be documented and reported to the development team. The development team checks the report and marks the issues as “passed.” It helps to ensure that no bugs are left unnoticed.

"With automation growing in importance, I believe that any QA professional should make sure to acquire working knowledge in the area. Another finding from our report is that one of the top sources of QA learning today is online courses, webinars, and conferences, so this makes it more accessible, with an endless amount of both free and paid sessions to attend."

Joel Montvelisky, Co-Founder and Chief Solution Architect at PractiTest-Test Management. OnlineTestConf founder and chairman.

Difference between QA specialists: QA analyst vs. QA engineer

While these two terms may sound similar, there is a difference between QA analysts and QA engineers. A QA analyst usually focuses on the business logic of the application. They establish quality and performance requirements and set up a quality system to maintain and control the process. QA analyst is usually responsible for:

  • Writing test cases
  • Testing software manually
  • Reporting bugs
  • Identifying user experience issues
  • Collaborating with developers and project managers

Usually, a QA Analyst has a background in a non-computer-related field that ends up testing software quality issues. QA analysts design test cases and test plans, and their responsibility is to know how to plan tests, not just execute them. 

A QA engineer is a specialist who advises on system improvements, comes up with the tactics for optimizing the testing process, and works on ensuring the fullest test coverage of the product. According to the State of Testing Report 2020, half of QA engineers spend 75%-100% of their time exclusively testing software. Their other responsibilities include:

  • Create test cases — descriptions of requirements to meet when testing specific features or functionality
  • Write test scripts — step-by-step instructions of how to perform a testing activity to meet the requirements
  • Report bugs and define their possible causes
  • Identify places where automated testing can be implemented
  • Review design and UI components
  • Review product documentation
  • Define quality standards, metrics, and scoring parameters, using existing best practices

In general, a QA Engineer has more responsibilities and a more important role in the project scope. Their job is to prevent potential app problems and address the mistakes in the early stages.

With the help of AI recruitment tools, recruiters can use smart resume parsing and clear data visualization to get only the most relevant profiles in an easy-to-read format. Let’s see what qualifications recruiters should look for in a software tester.

QA engineer responsibilities

We have covered some of the QA responsibilities above. However, let’s dig a little deeper into the working routine of software testing. So, what does a QA analyst do? Software quality assurance engineer is responsible for:

  • Creating tests to identify software problems
  • Analyzing bugs and errors found during tests
  • Documenting results of tests for the software development team
  • Recommending improvements in software to enhance user experience
  • Motivating the development process for efficiency and performance
  • Working together with the software developer to enhance and improve programs
  • Researching and compare similar competitor products
  • Maintaining updated knowledge of industry trends and advancements

It is a general description of the QA engineer’s responsibilities. However, this list differs depending on the type of QA you’re looking for: automated or manual. 

For example, the manual testing engineer should:

  • Analyze and understand the requirements of the customer
  • Plan out the required time to complete the testing
  • Document all deviations from the flow stated in the project requirements
  • Document test cases and divide them into separate blocks - test suits

When it comes to automated engineers, their job is usually more complicated, as it requires creating complex scripts to run automated testing.

"For now, though, CEOs and CTOs should look to the areas that can currently be automated, such as the writing of unit tests and other low-level but critical tasks. And, they should stay on the lookout for other areas where they can eventually do the same as technology advances."

Mathew Lodge, CEO of Diffblue, an automated unit test writing solution.

The automated engineer should:

  • Write, execute and analyze automated tests and test scripts that help identify problematic issues
  • Document all automated processes
  • Work with different testing frameworks
  • Implement new tools for more effective testing

Usually, when looking for a QA engineer, recruiters define the following qualifications and requirements:

  • Extensive experience in software development and testing
  • High proficiency in computer technology and programming languages
  • Strong knowledge of Linux and Microsoft Windows
  • In-depth understanding of Java, Python, SQL, C++, and XML
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • QA engineer degree
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Strong understanding of functional and non-functional testing

QA engineer interview questions

Let’s review the most common interview questions for engineers of different levels. Let’s start with the junior QA engineer interview questions.

  1. What is the difference between Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and Testing?
  2. What is the difference between the Test Plan and Test Strategy?
  3. Can you explain the Software Testing Life Cycle?
  4. If you find a bug in production, how would you make sure that the same bug is not introduced again?
  5. What is the difference between a test case and a test plan?
  6. Tell me about the difference between functional and non-functional testing
  7. What is the difference between negative and positive testing?
  8. What’s the difference between load and stress testing?
  9. Describe what risk analysis in software testing is.
  10. When is the bug considered fixed?

When it comes to senior QA analyst interviews, recruiters can ask deeper QA automation engineer interview questions that focus more on the experience of the engineer and the projects they have worked on. 

Here are the examples of senior QA interview questions:

  1. Describe your process of creating a test script. What steps do you follow?
  2. Imagine that there is an unavailability of proper documentation for testing. What will you do?
  3. Provide an example of the severity and priority of a defect
  4. What are the key challenges in software testing?
  5. How would you resolve an issue where testing reports are showing poor results? Did you have such an experience?
  6. What’s the role of risk in your testing? How do you analyze and measure it?
  7. How do you prioritize your testing? What factors might influence your decisions?
  8. What kind of tests have you been doing? What do you enjoy about them? How do you develop those tests?
  9. Do you do peer reviews?
  10.  What would you do when the developer is not accepting your defect?

These are the most common questions for the QA engineer test. To wrap it up, to hire a software tester, hiring managers need to look for curious people who have the knowledge and deep interest in the domain.

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