Just What Is A Quality Engineer?
A great plurality of companies today, who deal with the delivery of software or providing software services should have a team responsible for checking the quality of their products before they get into their customers’ hands. This team, far too often, is comprised of a single person, usually labeled with the term “QA”, and is responsible for making sure that all known issues with the product are verified and that some level of testing is performed before it can be ‘shipped’ to customers. Not everyone really knows what happens during this phase, but it is well-known that someone, somehow, installs, configures and ‘tests’ all the facets and features of a product before it ‘goes out the door’.
The stereotype is that somewhere in the building where you work, there is at least one person, “not suitable” to be a developer, who is relegated to pushing buttons and clicking elements on web ui elements to make sure that things work as advertised. These are the ‘button pushers’. If you have some of this species inhabiting your work environment, good for you. But if you really want to deliver quality with your products, then what you need is a Quality Engineer, a rare hybrid species that merges software development, forensics, DEVOPS and creativity skills into a super being.
When the words “quality assurance” or “quality engineering” are mentioned in regards to a career, a lot of people immediately envision people pushing buttons and doing manual testing. Furthermore, it is a general stereotype that quality for a product or project is only initiated at the very end of the release cycle. However, there is much more to doing quality engineering than immediately meets the eyes!
It is my objective to demystify the purpose of Quality Engineering, and debunk the stereotype that everyone who works in ‘testing’ is just a button pusher. Instead, you should be hiring Quality Engineers to improve your chances of delivering quality to your customers.
Og Maciel is a Manager of Quality Engineering for the Red Hat Satellite team. He has spent the last 5 years building a team of Black Belt Quality Engineers responsible for the automation of complex systems and delivering quality products through the use of continuous delivery of processes. He is also a Podcaster, a Dad, and an Avid Reader.