What does a Quality Assurance Engineer do?

Steps for ensuring that products and services meet the needs and terms of the customer are included in many manufacturing, engineering, software, and other development processes. A quality assurance engineer checks a project at various stages of development to ensure that it is of high quality. A quality assurance engineer may be tasked with testing and debugging software code in software engineering, while a quality assurance (QA) representative in hardware development may be tasked with inspecting parts and assembly to ensure they meet government and client specifications. Most quality assurance engineers also go over the project or program’s documentation and checklists.

While quality controls are in place at most stages of product development and are the responsibility of all project team members, a quality assurance engineer typically performs steps at the end of a program’s benchmark or milestone. A QA engineer will likely review and sign off as a final step in each phase if a client requests a design development process with reviews at the preliminary stage and at each progressive phase. A product may be demoted for improvements and moved through the cycle as many times as necessary to meet expectations and requirements if an engineer discovers a quality problem at any of these stages.

Some businesses employ full-time quality assurance personnel to oversee a wide range of programs. Other businesses may hire employees on a contract basis to complete a large-scale program or a component of one. Temporary on-site representatives who review and provide a QA stamp of approval based on federal guidelines as needed throughout the project term may be used for projects requiring official government oversight, such as an aerospace upgrade of a military plane. Because a product’s technical development and components must often be recorded as outlined in a contract, documentation is often a part of QA review and approval.

In general, a quality assurance engineer has extensive experience in a discipline that allows them to comprehend a program’s development at multiple levels. However, a QA expert can sometimes transfer quality techniques from one discipline to another. A QA engineer in any specialty typically possesses an understanding of the smallest components of a program as well as the ability to identify problems with the completed project as a whole.

Many QA professionals have the unique ability to test and even break a program or process in order to troubleshoot any potential issues before they become actual issues for end users. Depending on the field, this could entail hours of software bugging and debugging, automotive and aeronautical road or flight testing, or hardware dynamics and temperature testing. A large part of what a quality assurance engineer does is to be able to identify issues before they become issues for a customer.