On May 20th 2015, the Guardian reported the crash of Airbus’ A400M military aircraft earlier in the month due to a software bug that caused the plane to go off shortly after takeoff. This crash claimed the lives of four Spanish crew members onboard and left two other crew members severely injured.
This incident is one of many tragic events that occurred as a result of de-emphasized software quality assurance practices and I stated it, not to scare you, but to show how important software testing is. Software testing is the process of verifying and evaluating that a software product or application does what it is intended to do effectively. Without effective software testing and quality assurance practices, there can be potential monetary loss or even loss of life.
Software quality assurance is a time-consuming activity that involves dedication, discipline, and comprehensive knowledge of the project/product as well as a deep understanding of user experience. Choosing a career in software testing and QA tests your creative and imaginative abilities. As a QA analyst, you are required to thoroughly evaluate the customer experience. This requires seeing yourself as a user, with a proper understanding of the app or software, and creatively ‘breaking’ the object under test to find defects that can mar quality user experience.
For people who exhibit versatility in the workspace, quality assurance can be a great career choice. One major standard in quality assurance that drew my attention is its diversity. As a QA analyst develops, there are a variety of career specializations, including automation testing, manual testing, performance testing, or a combination of all three. Quality assurance does not only guarantee just a single career path to follow but it also creates more opportunities in diverse fields.
Building confidence in a software product should not be taken for granted during development. Oftentimes, software developers tend to miss out on bugs that can cause harm to a product when it is finally deployed. Sometimes these bugs may cause reputational damage or even loss of life. Testers, therefore, have a priority to deliver products that will meet the standard requirements of the organization and enhance user experience. As a tester, you work hand in hand with developers to deliver the best product by analyzing and helping the developer find bugs, document them, and render solutions to improve the quality of the application.
Software quality assurance has been credited for helping big businesses expand, build reputation, and increase revenue. Without strict quality assurance standards, Google would not be as big as it is today. Marko Ivanković, a senior software engineer at Google shared in an article how Google implemented ‘measured code coverage’ (A type of automated software testing metric that determines the number of lines of code that are successfully validated under test) to help engineers fix errors before they get too far in the project. By doing this, they have prevented excess user issues. Facebook, on the other hand, also implemented measured code coverage for their codes and this has helped its engineers deploy new features and make iterations quickly.
Software quality assurance requires a lot of hard work that can occasionally be monotonous. It requires full interest and passion otherwise it can be difficult and tiring if you aren’t passionate about growth in the field. It can also be challenging as the competition in the industry is growing rapidly. Nevertheless, it is highly rewarding as you advance to higher positions, does not require background knowledge of coding at the entry-level, and many IT companies have various vacancies in this field. Speaking about the pay: According to “Glassdoor,” QA analysts in the USA make $90,412 a year with 0-1 year of experience while an experienced tester earns up to $109,600 annually.
It is not surprising that I have chosen this area of technology as a career and advise others to do the same because quality assurance is the practice that will help IT industries deliver quality products and services while avoiding errors and faults that could prove detrimental.
Okoh Anthony Chibueze