Software Quality Assurance (SQA) has become an integral part of the software development cycle where software applications are tested against industry standards. While the traditional process was limited to software debugging and configuration, software development has evolved significantly, leading to an increased demand for SQA services. As a result, software quality checks are now considered a critical component in addressing complex development issues. This article explores software quality assurance, its significance, various SQA models and more, aimed at providing introductory computer science students with a better understanding of these concepts.
What are some definitions and examples of SQA-related activities?
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is a process that guarantees adherence to industry standards during software development and related product delivery. This process can be likened to that of a food inspector, whose duty is to ensure the safety and hygiene of food production.
Defining the software development processes, identifying appropriate techniques to use, implementing security protocols, and detailing other relevant information are crucial steps in the software development cycle.
SQA encompasses various activities, including SQA management planning, establishing checkpoints, employing multiple testing methodologies, evaluating the impact of changes, and maintaining positive relationships. These activities aim to foster a strong development cycle that makes software solution creation more efficient.
Case Studies on Software Quality Control
Planning for Software Quality Assurance Management
- Before making any decisions, an SQA team should plan and execute tasks based on the project’s scope.
- The subsequent phase involves identifying the right tasks that align with the project’s necessities and how they can best detect and address issues.
- The team should ideally comprise both seasoned and junior engineers to offer diversified viewpoints and valuable insights on all aspects of the project.
Establishing Success Criteria Sequence
- The SQA team needs to set up quality checkpoints at different stages to ensure that testing is done before proceeding to the next stage, hence preventing an overwhelming final quality assurance evaluation.
- This approach gives them room to detect any issues that crop up at different stages, enabling the team to collaborate with the development team to address and solve the problem. Additionally, the SQA team can use this to assess the efficiency of the software solution and determine how to proceed with the development process.
Applying Multiple Tests
- As no single testing technique is entirely infallible, it is vital for SQA teams to use a mix of methods to ensure that all possible issues are detected and corrected.
- For SQA teams committed to delivering efficient software solutions, it is recommended to use different testing strategies. This is because one of these tests could expose a significant defect that may cause significant repercussions for both the back-end and front-end of the system.
Examining the Impact of the Change
- When a modification is made, it could potentially disrupt the normal operation of the program and create new issues that might not emerge until the effects of the alteration have been assessed.
- When the Software Quality Assurance (SQA) team discovers an issue, they collaborate with the development team to fix it. Nevertheless, after receiving a patch update, they may approve it without scrutinizing its possible impacts on other codebases.
- These issues are unlikely to be revealed until the final quality checks are completed, raising uncertainty since there may not be sufficient time to resolve them.
Building Strong Connections
- The team’s key objective is to foster favourable relationships with the development team, particularly taking into account that disagreements concerning software bugs and other development problems are inevitable.
- When one team is under pressure to complete tasks within a timeframe, as is often the case when the Development Team is working hard to finish the development cycle and the Software Quality Assurance Team is testing and debugging, it is crucial for the team leaders from both sides to collaborate and reach a resolution. This will promote favourable relationships and uphold professional standards.
The Responsibilities of a Software Quality Assurance Engineer
As a Software Quality Assurance Engineer, I am tasked with ensuring that quality standards are upheld during the software development lifecycle. My role involves evaluating all facets of the software development process and the environment in which the program is utilized to create a high-quality product for customers.
Career and Responsibilities of a Software Quality Assurance Engineer
- Supervise SQA in line with your plans and carry out numerous quality tests.
- You can use tools such as Testim and Kobiton among others to identify software bugs.
- Set milestones during the development process and conduct quality checks at specific points.
- Review the resolved issues to determine if any new problems have emerged.
- Supervise your team and assess their performance.
- Collaborate with the development team to identify any issues in the software development process.
- Undertaking research on various elements of projects to develop and implement innovative quality assurance methodologies.
Essential Skills and Requirements for SQA Engineers
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a similar field.
- Mastery of SQA methodologies and techniques.
- Demonstrate a basic comprehension of multiple QA frameworks.
- Acquaintance with fundamental test automation and test management tools such as Testim and Kobiton.
- Considerable experience in programming, scripting languages, and SQL databases.
- Ability to analyze situations and identify solutions.
- Excellent verbal and listening skills.
- Time Management Skills
Why Software Quality Assurance is Vital and Indispensable
After extensively covering the basics and essentials of SQA, it’s time to delve into its significance and understand why it’s crucial in today’s software engineering process.
A Disturbing Trend May be Evident
It’s natural to question the significance of Software Quality Assurance (SQA) since developers can identify and fix flaws themselves for seamless progress in the development cycle. Although Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) can spot errors, QA scrutinizes other components of the product. SQA involves more than just coding and encompasses analyzing other aspects such as the software’s network performance to address communication issues with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), ensuring implementation of security features, and enabling collaboration with network engineers.
Enables Quick and Sustainable Expansion
Developers strive to meet deadlines, but often fall short on fulfilling SQA responsibilities while neglecting industry norms that are critical to their role. SQA engineers can identify potential misconfigurations and other defects to monitor system performance, thereby accelerating the production process. By communicating efficiently with the development team and promptly finding solutions to problems, they can contribute significantly to the project’s smooth operation. This enables them to deliver a more dependable software solution to their customers within a shorter timeframe.
Raises the Company’s Status
The Assurance Team ensures the seamless functioning of the end-product, without any glitches, in order to offer customers an unparalleled experience and maintain cordial relationships since no customer desires a faulty product that crashes and encounters errors. Taking the time to find optimal solutions for customers can boost the company’s reputation, resulting in greater recognition of the product’s exceptional features and attracting customers worldwide.
Software Quality Assurance Model
SQA models have been devised to introduce standards for quality production in a structured and purposeful manner during product development. The SQA models that can be used to standardize projects include:
- Capability Maturity Modeling (CMM).
- Evaluating Software Project Performance and Improving Current Processes (SPICE).
- Complies with ISO 9000 Standards.
Software Quality Control Training
If you have aspirations of becoming a Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Engineer, it is advisable to start with courses of varying levels of difficulty, spanning from basic to advanced courses in the field. This will provide you with a firm foundation to build your career and ensure that you become one of the best in your field. The following are some of the most reputed SQA courses and tutorials that can assist you in gaining a grasp of the basics of SQA and help you advance along your chosen career path.
Udemy offers Quality Assurance in Software Development by Michael Cesino.
Coursera offers Auditing, Control, and Assurance in Information Systems by Garvin Percy.
Software Quality Control Analyst Roles
Because of the large number of software companies, there is a high demand for SQA Engineers to fulfill their quality assurance responsibilities, which includes ensuring the quality control and assessments of the product. Consequently, SQAs will always be essential to ensure smooth operations and make necessary modifications to ensure the highest quality checks are achieved.
Studies have shown that SQA employment is projected to increase by 22% by 2030, underscoring the urgent need for certified professionals in the IT industry. The quality assurance sector is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries globally, with over 185,000 job openings advertised annually as businesses aim to hire proficient SQA professionals and improve their product quality.
Compensation for Software Quality Control
According to Glassdoor, the median yearly salary for a Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Engineer in the United States falls between $53,000 and $110,000. As the demand for software developers rises, salaries are expected to increase proportionally. If monetary compensation is a significant factor for you, this could be a promising career direction. SQA Engineers are a vital part of a professional team responsible for ensuring products meet the needs of large businesses.
Software and mobile applications are increasingly essential to daily life, making it crucial to ensure their quality and dependability. This article offers an introduction to Software Quality Assurance (SQA) and its fundamental principles for aspiring software developers and SQA engineers who want to enter the industry. SQA has been around for over 30 to 40 years, and as technology progresses, new models are expected to have a greater impact on the software development process in the future.