Quality assurance departments may be undergoing scrutiny as well as growth due to the recent revisions handed down by the International Standard Organization (ISO). Major changes to quality standards are causing companies to reassess their quality management systems as well as their quality assurance leadership and staff. Once a company formulates a transition plan for implementing the new standards, they will need to identify the required skill sets and knowledge their Quality Assurance (QA) personnel should have. If hiring is required to round out their team, it is important to consider the essential skills of an excellent QA Engineer.
What does it take to be a sought after Quality Assurance Engineer?
Business and Communication Skills: Good communication can mean a lot of things and is often demonstrated when a QA Engineer doesn’t mind reaching out to people and engaging in open conversation. It’s especially important to be able to communicate with an end user of the product as well as internal development, product and technical teams. Quality Engineers that can demonstrate diplomacy in their past work are worth noting. The ability to bring concerns and challenges to light is not easy to do. Having the diplomacy to communicate about a bug without ‘offending’ the developer is important. A good negotiator is valuable in order to get things done in a reasonable time between Development and QA teams. To sum it up, being an agent of change without necessarily having management authority demands someone who can be a clear communicator and diplomatic negotiator.
Technology Skills: A good Quality Assurance Engineer needs to have great technology and development skills. They need to be up to speed in their industry specific technology and methods—after all Quality Assurance Engineers are experts in methods and process. These skills are imperative to find unexpected problems, document them and provide a comprehensive description of how to make them reproducible. Testing requires a lot of creativity. Bugs are often hidden; therefore, the QA engineer must use creativity to figure out all the scenarios that are likely to detect a glitch. In other words, the QA engineer must be able to ‘see beyond the obvious’.
Product Knowledge: Understanding the product requirements and how they help the users is key to being able to communicate well with everyone. Knowing your product inside and out is imperative. To test a product efficiently, the QA Engineer must have intimate knowledge of their product. This skill cannot be understated. Knowing the product well includes also knowing how end-users expect it to work. Again this may sound obvious but the QA Engineer must have a ‘customer-focus’ vision. A good QA Engineer must also know how the product is designed because the more product knowledge, the better they are able to test it. As the QA Engineer analyzes and designs, their product knowledge will widely influence their test strategy.
When hiring a Quality Assurance Engineer, consider a specialized staffing company that can lend its years of experience vetting out engineers with the best skills. They know the right ways to discern if these very important skills are part of candidate's work experience.
We have provided talented QA Engineers for over 50 years. Let us lend our expertise to help with any challenges the new ISO standards might pose for your organization. Messina Group’s BECO Division staffs entry-level engineers to project managers. As a professional and technical staffing firm, we have devised methods for filling open positions quickly with an attention to detail and quality.