How do I Begin a Career in Quality Assurance?

Starting a career in quality assurance (QA) is often a unique experience, but there are a few things you can do to make the process go more smoothly. The first step is usually job research; quality assurance is a broad field that covers a wide range of industries. It’s often very helpful to have some idea of what you want to do beyond the initial job title. Following that, it’s critical to obtain as much education as possible. Although most jobs require a high school diploma, any additional training you can obtain, whether at a technical or vocational school or at a university, will aid your job search. Networking with local professionals to get a sense of the available jobs in your area is also a good idea. These people can not only make the job more personal, but they can also serve as references when it comes time to apply for jobs. In almost all cases, starting a career necessitates a measure of humility and a willingness to work your way up from the bottom of a company or organization.

Recognize the Job in General

There are various types of quality assurance jobs, but almost all of them entail testing products or services to ensure that they meet or exceed industry standards. Inspectors, weighers, testers, samplers, and sorters are examples of specific job titles in the field, and each position has slightly different expectations. The majority of people who work in quality assurance work for manufacturing companies, and their responsibilities include ensuring that products are safe and undamaged. Clothing, toys, and kitchen appliances, as well as complex circuit boards, computer components, and medicines, are examples of these products. Workers may be tasked with testing products using their five senses: sight, touch, smell, hearing, and, in some cases, taste.

The ideal candidate for this job will usually have a strong aptitude for math and mechanics. Communication, visual, analytical, and motor abilities are also advantageous. Inspectors of complex or dangerous machinery, for example, may need to be trained in automation and statistical process control. Individuals with previous experience assembling, operating, and repairing the same or similar types of complex machinery are frequently hired for these jobs. If this is the type of job you want, you should start preparing as soon as possible.

Customize Your Education

For jobs in quality assurance, a high school diploma is frequently the only educational requirement; however, as technology advances, additional education will likely become more important. Some colleges and universities already provide post-secondary education in the field. In the United States, for example, technical and vocational colleges commonly offer associate degrees in quality control management, and similar programs are growing in other countries as well.

Extend Your Knowledge

Getting some field experience while still in school is often one of the most effective ways to get a head start on your career. Internships and apprenticeships in this field are uncommon, but many businesses are willing to hire students for very basic jobs, often on a part-time basis. Even if the work you’re doing isn’t directly related to quality assurance, it can often provide you with insight into the world you’re hoping to enter — and can also help you prove your worth when those bigger jobs become available. As the field becomes more competitive, demonstrating a genuine interest in the job and the company can help you stand out.

Meeting with professionals in your area can help you achieve this goal. Set up informational interviews with people who have the type of job you want if at all possible. Inquire about their job and how they like it; if possible, request to shadow them on the job for a day or two. Maintaining contacts with people who are actively working in the field can help you improve your own skills, and these people may also know about new job opportunities as they arise.

Look for positions that are open.

Positions are advertised in a variety of places. They may be found in local newspapers and job boards, and online job banks are also a good bet. Knowing the right people and using social media to network can also help you find a job. Consider which companies in your area might have the type of job you’re looking for, then contact them to see if they have any openings and what qualifications they require in new hires.

Employers, on the whole, prefer to train their quality assurance workers on the job. This could include learning how to read and operate gauges, meters, computers, and other instruments. Workers will almost certainly be taught proper quality control, safety, and blueprint reading techniques. Training is usually reimbursed, but this is not always the case.

Flexibility is crucial.

Another thing to keep in mind when starting your career is that you may not always be able to get hired into the best or most lucrative positions right away. Starting a career in any field of work often necessitates starting at the bottom, and quality assurance is no exception. Many people begin their careers as simple “work or not work” assembly line testers. However, there is the possibility of advancement, and many workers progress to inspectors, managers, and equipment or material purchasers.