There are a lot of career options available under the umbrella of the software industry. Generally candidates who are out of college are aware of the career path for software programmers, but equally challenging opportunities are available in the area of software quality assurance (SQA).
Suppose you are studying for the examinations using the notes provided by your college professor. Now two days before your exam you suddenly get an update that a relevant topic for the exams was missed, you now need to collect information on this and fit it in at the last minute. This obviously causes a lot of stress and you will be cursing your luck for not checking this before.
This scenario is very similar to what happens in a lot of software projects. Many times as the project progresses, new changes are requested by the client and the scope of work becomes dynamic. This increases the probability of missing out on certain requirements or features in the final product. This is where the software quality assurance group plays an important role.
Quality is defined as the degree to which the project fulfills requirements. Software quality assurance is included under the tasks performed as part of software quality management. Software quality management is a set of processes that are performed right from project inception to closure. This group works closely with the project team to ensure that the end product which is delivered meets the client’s expectations.
The software quality assurance group will essentially validate all items to be delivered to the client, any item which does not pass the checks of this group goes back to the project team for correction. Often we may feel that this task could very well be handled by the project team itself, but that is an ideal scenario. As the project progresses, a lot of tasks need attention and often quality takes a backseat. This led to the evolution of the software quality assurance group, which focuses on verifying that the project was following the prescribed standards and practices to deliver a product or service of acceptable quality.
The SQA team needs to understand the project’s functionality, in the requirements gathering phase the representatives from SQA group will be involved for getting a better idea of the client’s quality benchmarks. As the project progresses, they will have to review documents at various checkpoints. Once the initial version of the product is ready, the SQA team will test it for correctness and completeness.
The project team does testing on its part, but getting testing done by a group external to the project uncovers a lot of defects. One of the important responsibilities of the SQA team is to analyze the defects which are being reported by the project team. This helps to identify areas which need attention and also serves as an indicator for future projects. The SQA group is a very important link in the delivery chain.
The candidates who want to get into SQA should have an eye for details, opportunities exist both for fresher and experienced professionals. There are many instances of people with programming backgrounds moving to SQA. As companies look for providing better products at lower costs, software quality assurance group is going to become more important.