What is QA?

Quality Assurance (QA) is the tasks/behaviors/activities that a Tester/Test Manager performs to bring a program, application, system or site into production to ensure the quality of all the products produced.

We all play games, so let’s imagine a game. Someone had to dream this game – it will be our Client. Someone had to write extensive documentation how this game should look like and what rules it should obey – this is our Analyst/Architect/Product Owner. Someone had to implement this game – this is Developer. Then someone had to play it every day, passing level one a thousand times in search of bugs. The next day only level two, also looking for bugs. And then level one again, because Developer corrected the bugs found by Tester and we have to check if he did it effectively – this is done by Tester (Quality Control).

Finally, we come to QA (Quality Assurance) – this is a person who, apart from performing tests, plans tests, assesses risks and develops processes to achieve the highest possible quality of the whole game, not just one level. This is someone who thinks about the game as a whole with a specific end result. He or she recommends environments in which tests should be performed and determines what types and kinds of tests should be performed.

  • What is his role in the project? 

QA acts as the gatekeeper of quality. It checks if software being tested is ready to be implemented. It optimizes testing processes.

  • Who does QA work closely with in the project?

With Analyst/Product Owner (Scrum) – QA learns from him how the application he is testing should work.

Test Manager/Test Lead – with them QA determines what tests to execute, at what time, where to report.

With Developer – verification of what the developer has implemented is the primary job of QA, therefore close relationship with the developer is very important.

With another QA in the team – QAs exchange knowledge about the subject of testing, testing methods, exchange experiences, verify each other’s work.

  • What subjects should you focus on the most in order to become QA in the future?

On every single one! 😊 Comprehensive knowledge is needed to work in different sectors. Applications are developed for insurance, aviation, automotive, agriculture, military, public sector. Everywhere applications are used and we QA, test them before production launch.

  • From Trainee to Senior – Development Path.

In the QA sector, these paths are many. Some examples below.

Manual tester (Trainee, Junior, Mid, Senior) -> Test Leader (Mid, Senior) -> Test Manager (Senior)

Manual Tester -> Automation Tester -> Test Leader -> Test Manager

Manual Tester -> Automation Tester -> Developer

Automation Tester -> Manual Tester -> Test Leader -> Test Manager

Automation Tester -> Test Leader -> Test Manager

Automation Tester -> Developer

  • My biggest challenges.

Every day is a challenge. Every day means new tasks.

  • Pros and cons of working in this position.

Pros:

– Participating in projects that matter – many applications work to protect people’s lives or make them easier. It matters to me to be involved in such projects.

– Learning about different sectors. The work of, for example, a civil servant is single-sector. We as QA are in a banking project today, and tomorrow in aviation, and after tomorrow in insurance .

– Getting to know people – teamwork is what I am fulfilled in, and this is what being a QA gives me!

Minuses:

– Time pressure – often QA is the last link in software development, and if there are delays somewhere along the way, that leaves the least time for us.

– Pointing out others’ mistakes – this creates conflicts, so we need to have high level communication soft skills not to inflame the situation but to solve it.

  • If I could turn back the time, would I still be QA?

I started with programming in PL/SQL, then I started testing. Somewhere along the way I checked out what it was like to be an Analyst. The truth is that QA is a little bit Developer, a little bit Analyst, and most of all Tester. Working in this industry for over 15 years I had time to change roles and even jobs, but what for? What I do gives me a lot of satisfaction. Starting from the fact that to this day applications from different sectors, which I tested and implemented many years ago, are still in production.

Today I am a Test Manager. I teach others how to test, I create test processes, I audit test processes in projects I am not involved in on a daily basis and I still sometimes test – because I love it.

To sum up: turning back the time is pointless, because I would be doing exactly the same 😊.

Zuzanna Ślusarska