Any experienced project manager will tell you how testing and development must go hand in hand for a successful IT project. An accurate software testing is what forms the quality for your tech projects. Even the smallest of errors, if left unnoticed, can result in lousy software and failures that will be too costly to fix.
While it is common practice to encourage unit testing by developers, it is not similar to the quality control level expected from a software product. No matter the size of your project, quality is one aspect you cannot get thrifty with. You need a systematic software testing process that is skillfully headed by a qualified quality assurance engineer.
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What Are The Benefits Of Having A QA Engineer In Your Development Team?
There is one common mistake that many small development teams tend to make when budget controlling their resources. They cut off any QA resource or don’t hire a dedicated QA engineer in the first place.
While it may seem like an excellent idea at first, the repercussions will ultimately hurt your entire project development and success. Not having a dedicated QA engineer pushes your team to split up testing work among existing developers. It can cut in the development team and make testing efforts challenging to manage and track.
Without a skilled QA engineer, your test cases will not be complete, standards will not be adhered to, and your project metrics will be complicated to track. Here are some reasons every IT project team must have its dedicated specialist for a quality QA process.
Quality Assurance Skills
It takes an exceptional amount of expertise and skills to write test cases that cover all product areas. Compared to developers, QA engineers primarily focus on quality assurance. They can explore more and write efficient test cases covering all types of usage scenarios.
They can uncover potential issues that may have been left unnoticed by the development team. QA engineers will also be more skilled at using testing tools, frameworks and writing automated tests.
The Pareto Principle is a great example to illustrate this point. It states 80% of outcomes stem from only 20% of all inputs.
Interestingly, Microsoft discovered the same in the case of Windows and Office crashes. 20% of bugs led to 80% of crashes in its suite of software. Additionally, only 1% of erroneous codes were responsible for 50% of issues.
Now, finding the 1% code that is responsible for most of your product flaws is not an easy task. You need someone with expertise and the right eye to spot the smallest bugs.
QA engineers fit the role better as they are qualified, trained, and experienced to uncover that 1% to 20% flawed codes.
Even if the developers themselves have the skillset for testing, their perspective could be limited to their developer role. When a developer tests a software, they usually check whether it works the way they intend it to work. But a tester tries to think like a future software user, so this specialist can find new ways to break the system and find hidden errors that can be hard for a developer to uncover.
Without a QA, developers will find themselves in a difficult place, balancing both development and testing and ending up losing overall productivity.
The sooner you find software bugs, the cheaper it will be to fix them. Every field issue found after a release can lead to hours of rework and testing, which you can avoid by employing a proper software quality control engineer.
When you have dedicated QA on your team, this person will start the testing efforts from the very beginning by preparing the required test cases, workflows, acceptance criteria, and so on from the user story definitions and requirements. These requirements can be created even before the coding starts and can help the developer code for all the scenarios given by the test cases early on. QA engineers can also get into testing as soon as possible once the developer finishes with each deliverable. Issues can be checked and fixed simultaneously within the project duration and delivered on time.
Businesses that prioritize testing throughout development spend 22% less time on unplanned work. Additionally, they can run deployments 200-times quicker.
When you don’t have dedicated QA engineers, testing will have to wait until developers finish coding. It can lead to multiple iterations of development followed by testing amounting to a considerable delay in your release plans.
Saving Time And Money
Overstressing a developer with the added responsibility of quality assurance can lead to diminishing returns.
In general, QA engineers are cheaper to hire than developers, so it also economically makes sense to hire QA resources for quality control rather than double up your developers’ responsibilities. Developers will charge you the same for every hour they spend on the project, regardless of whether they spend it on coding or testing.
Thus, hiring dedicated QA is the more affordable choice you have to bring down software development costs and time.
Not only that, but the top-performing organizations also spend 11% more time developing features customers love.
Provide Customer Satisfaction
A software with bugs will never be able to provide customer satisfaction. You will only frustrate your users if your apps crash or don’t function as expected. Worst of all, you may even find your customers leaving for your competitors.
QA engineers help you develop products without flaws. Their role starts right with the development process and ends only after the delivery of a successful product.
For instance, your AQ engineer will assess if all your software components fit together during the requirements gathering stage. They will also validate your product and determine if it’s actually valuable for your customers.
Additionally, you will need a QA engineer to provide an excellent user experience.
Grow Your Brand
You need a top-notch product to deliver fantastic customer experiences. A buggy software or app will only lead to 1-star ratings and negative reviews. Your brand will take a blow, and you will start losing credibility quickly.
The easy way out is to hire a QA engineer at lower costs than a developer to ensure foolproof quality. You can’t afford to release a product that doesn’t perform as per your user’s expectations in today’s competition.
You are now aware of the benefits of hiring a QA engineer. But can you automate your testing and save on paying a QA engineer? Let’s find out below!
Can Automated Testing Eliminate the Need for a QA Engineer?
Today, testing doesn’t depend on manual efforts. You can use tools and scripts to automate test cases and boost your productivity. But can automated testing replace a QA engineer?
Before we get into the details, let’s take a quick look at both types of testing.
What is Manual Testing
As the name suggests, manual testing is done manually by a human. You don’t need any digital solution or coding to run the tests. A QA engineer or analyst will check the functions and features of an app or software. Additionally, they will also create reports to highlight their findings.
You need an experienced tester for the job, as a regular person might miss out on many things.
What is Automated Testing
This type of testing is the automation of the process by using scripts or coding. You need to use specific tools to run automated tests to uncover bugs and issues. Automated testing analyzes current results with desired results to report problems.
Automated testing will also need experience and technical skills to turn out effective. It doesn’t mean you can do it by yourself or ask your developers for the required code or script. QA automation engineer is the right person you should hire to get the required results.
Now, let’s explore the benefits of both testing methods.
Pros of Manual Testing
- Manual testing provides quick results through visual inspection. You don’t need to write any codes or scripts.
- It can be a cost-effective way of testing as you don’t need to code or invest in tools. Also, hiring a Manual QA Engineer can help you save costs comparing to hiring an Automated QA Engineer.
- Human observation is vital for testing specific scenarios like usability. Automation cannot replace human judgment or inspection in these cases.
- Manual testing is ideal for minor issues where coding would be time and cost-prohibitive.
Pros of Automated Testing
- You can discover more issues with automated testing and never miss even the smallest bugs.
- Automated testing needs no human intervention after the primary stages. You can run batches of tests in less time.
- You can automate repetitive testing like deployments to save time and resources. The same scripts can be used for several use cases too.
- Automated testing is more accurate as it contains fewer human errors.
Do You Still Need a QA Engineer?
Automated and manual testing have their set of pros and cons. However, they cannot replace one another. Each type of testing is suitable for specific use cases. So, some scenarios will need you to run manual tests, while others will demand automated testing.
Businesses use a combination of both efforts throughout their development process. You cannot stick to one type of testing, as your quality will take a hit.
Additionally, you need experience and technical knowledge to perform manual tests and write test scripts. A developer may not be the right person for the lack of necessary skills.
You will need a QA engineer to produce top-notch products. We will check out how and where to find the right QA engineer for your team in our next section.
How to Hire a QA Engineer
Hiring a QA engineer is easier today with so many job portals, freelancing platforms, and social media sites. You don’t have to restrict yourself to any one method and can be creative in your recruitment.
Here are the places you might want to check for a QA expert:
You can post your job offers on countless job portals for hiring experienced candidates. Indeed.com, Monster.com, and many other platforms can suit your bill.
Be sure to write a good job description highlighting the skills you need. Additionally, you should describe the role and what you expect from your candidates.
Freelancers can be a good fit for many businesses, especially small and medium ones. You can hire a freelance QA engineer at a much lesser cost than a full-time employee. Best of all, you can choose from leading global talents to ensure top-quality products.
You can try Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, YouTeam.io, and more to hire remote QA engineers.
Software development agencies
As you can outsource software developers from different tech companies, these outsourcing tech agencies provide quality QA engineers various projects. You can hire a whole team of developers, project managers, and QA engineers, or just find one dedicated QA for your existing team.
Social media is a great place to find QA engineers. You can check various tech groups and directly approach an engineer with your offer.
LinkedIn is a good place to start as it’s meant for professional connections. Many organizations used LinkedIn to recruit candidates with fewer costs and hassles.
What to Look for in Your QA Engineer
What skills should your QA engineer come with to ensure optimum quality?
A bachelors’ or associate degree is a must for any tech role. Proper qualification ensures the candidate knows the basics, and you can directly switch over to advanced responsibilities. You can also look for an experienced engineer to save time and money on training.
You can’t code scripts or automate tests without technical skills. Your QA engineer should be familiar with programming languages and testing tools. The specialist should know different types of applications and software to test efficiently.
You should also expect a QA engineer to be familiar with development processes and lifecycle. Plus, your QA should stay updated on the latest trends.
QA engineers should think out-of-the-box for quick and efficient problem-solving. They should have strong analytical skills and pay attention to even minor details.
Additionally, your engineer should think rationally and be able to come up with meaningful insights for developing better products.
Teamwork and Communication Skills
QA engineers should be good at collaborating with the team. You will need good teamwork skills, especially if you’re outsourcing software development and hiring a remote engineer.
QA engineers should possess commendable written and oral communication skills. They will need to write reports or convey their findings to team members.
QA engineers are also the ones to break the bad news every time and require many changes. So, they should also have a calm temperament and be able to deal with a bit of friction.
The development process has become fast-paced today. Businesses are shifting to agile methodologies to market faster and react quickly to feedback.
Hire a QA engineer who can meet deadlines and work under pressure. They will also need good time management skills and the ability to work independently.
Additionally, QA engineers should be able to cope with a fast-paced working environment.
Every specialized IT job title has its value. When you try to dedicate some other processes to a person who is not supposed to do these tasks, it can have a bad result.
QA engineers go beyond regular testing to find any possible issues and ensure your software projects are indeed successful as you want them to be. Even if your team is the smallest, it still needs a dedicated QA engineer who can ensure quality and enforce a systematic software quality assurance process. Hiring a dedicated QA saves you time and money, helps you make the best use of your existing team resources, and leads your IT projects to success.
Iryna Bilyk is an expert content marketing manager and copywriter who works at YouTeam – a marketplace for instant engineering team extension. She passionately discovers and writes about technology, innovations, and software development solutions.