QA Engineer Job: 4 Possible Career Paths

When a person starts a career in the IT sphere as a software tester, they hardly ever look into their future and understand what opportunities for career growth this profession provides. Let’s consider the most popular options for professional development and career prospects for QA engineers.

Let’s say you have successfully completed the courses on software testing and are employed as a QA engineer. You think that it’s a wrap and the most important events have passed. Career advancement is expected only in the distant future. However, the IT sphere is so dynamic that in a year or two you are likely to ask yourself: what’s next? Everyone chooses a career option, taking into account their own interests, skills and habits. How can professional skills influence your choice?

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Career Prospects for Testers

There is one tip that can help you follow the right path. You need to understand what skills you have developed better: hard skills or soft skills.

Hard skills are specific and teachable abilities. They are closely connected to your professional activities. If we take QA as an example, we can enumerate the following hard skills: submitting and validating defects, creating test documentation, reporting, etc.

Soft skills are based on personal qualities that allow you to communicate and interact with colleagues effectively. Soft skills are crucial if you want to be a successful team-player.

Suppose you have determined that your strengths are hard skills. Here’s where it gets immensely interesting.

Hard Skills. Path 1: Highly specialized position

QA engineer career path

Every tester undergoes a similar process of promotion: from a junior tester to a lead software testing specialist. The step-by-step career path of a QA engineer is as follows:

  1. Junior QA Engineer/Tester
  2. QA Engineer/Tester
  3. Senior QA Engineer/Tester
  4. Lead Software Testing Specialist

Even without changing the profile of your activities, you can choose a specialized position. For example, you can devote yourself to performance, security or usability testing. Alternatively, you can choose a sphere that is connected with both testing and programming – test automation.

Your personal development can allow you to occupy your niche and become an in-demand specialist.

Become an in-demand QA engineer

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    Hard Skills. Path 2: Developer

    A large amount of testers become developers in the course of time. Even if you don’t have relevant education and qualification, you can learn the basics of programming on the fly. The reason is your daily practice and immersion in the IT sphere. The main thing here is your desire and perseverance.

    And what should you do if you consider soft skills to be your strengths?

    Soft Skills. Path 1: Manager

    If you prefer to develop soft skills or understand that your heart is in communicating with the team and customers, you can choose management activities and try yourself as a manager. You need to understand that you will have to take responsibility for the decisions made and solve a variety of managerial tasks. Depending on the processes used in the company, the QA sphere can offer different options for development: project manager, resource manager, test lead, etc.

    Soft Skills. Path 2: Business Analyst

    Business analysts are considered to be intermediaries between the customer and the IT team. There are cases when experienced testers shift to business analysis and become successful in this area. Generally, testers have their own vision of an application. A specialist with good analytical skills can understand operating principle and move to the position of an analyst.

    As you can see, becoming a QA engineer can be an excellent start for your further development. And the QA Academy courses are the first step towards a new and exciting path.

    Learn more about our best QA course for beginners.

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