How to Become a Software Quality Assurance Tester

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Whether or not you're well versed in computers and consider yourself an expert, you may have a future as a software quality assurance tester. Unlike most positions, software quality assurance testing doesn't require any special background or education, necessarily, and you can get this type of work even if still in high school or college.

For example, you may be a software quality assurance tester on a freelance basis while in school. That said, you can also become a full-time software quality assurance tester, in some cases, in which case it's helpful to have a background in software programming, network administration, or computer technology. You may or may not need a four-year degree, depending on the company.

It's also true that in fact, a lot of companies prefer to hire someone who has only a little bit of computer experience as opposed to someone more experienced, because someone who's very well-versed in computers may not think to make the same "mistakes" someone who's not well-versed in computers might when he or she is doing the testing. However, companies want to know exactly what will happen if a computer newbie performs a certain type of keystroke that someone who's "expert" may not. Because of this, computer newbies are also often in high demand as software quality assurance testers because they'll make these keystrokes as a matter of course.

What does software quality assurance testing entail?

A software quality assurance tester deliberately tries to "crash" new computer programs with various keystrokes; he or she does this to determine weaknesses in new computer programs so that bugs can be worked out. Software quality assurance testers keep detailed notes about the keystrokes they've done to try to crash programs and what happened, including error codes, so that developers can fix these problems.

A step above the software quality assurance tester is the software quality assurance analyst. To become a software quality assurance analyst, you will need a four-year degree in computer science or related field like information systems, mathematics, etc. You'll also need to know computer languages in detail, languages like Java, C++, and XML. In some cases, you may need certification. Nonetheless, these things are usually not necessary to be become a software quality assurance tester and may even be a drawback.

What can you do to get a job in software quality assurance testing?

Search job boards and Internet job banks, as well as trade magazines, for positions of this type. If you're involved in the computer industry, you may also hear of referrals from colleagues.

If you decide you want to try your hand is a software quality assurance tester, make sure you can meet the strict deadlines and have the attention to detail necessary. Because you'll need to keep detailed notes about what's happening with the programs you work with as you try to "crash them," and because you're going to need to be willing to sit in front of a computer working with the same programs for hours at a time, you'll also need to be very patient and very willing to experience what may be some tedium at some point. Nonetheless, even so, if you've got this type of attention to detail and you can be extremely focused on one program for hours at a time, you may have the qualifications necessary to become a software quality assurance tester. This is a great job to have on a freelance basis, either part-time or full-time, perhaps while you're in school.

What can you expect to be paid as a software quality assurance tester?

There is no set rate as to salary or hourly fee for a software quality assurance tester, and rates can vary widely. Usually, those who work as software quality assurance testers on a freelance basis are paid hourly, while they may be paid a salary if they work in a company's quality assurance department. Again, check the Internet and various job board postings to determine what the current going rate for software quality assurance testing jobs is.

The good news is, these jobs are quite plentiful, because new software is coming out all the time; the software needs to have the "bugs" worked out, and those who work in software quality assurance testing do just that.
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