When it comes to designing a project, there are a few people you think of immediately as invaluable assets: the developer, the engineer, and the designer.
Another name to add to that list? The QA engineer.
Without a thorough quality assurance (QA) process, your final product may look sleek, but it could be riddled with bugs that render it virtually worthless to the end user.
If your development team is lacking a QA engineer, the other roles are weakened, as is the team as a whole. No one can perform his or her duties to the fullest extent if there’s not someone checking performance at every touchpoint to ensure everything (and everyone) is up to par.
Today, we’re taking a look at a few reasons why this role is so valuable. Ready to learn more? Let’s go!
A QA Engineer Is More Than a Tester
Often, people interchange the terms “quality assurance” and “testing.” While it’s true that QA does involve product testing, it’s far more than that.
A QA engineer won’t just make sure your systems work correctly; he or she will also help guide your development team toward creating products that are compliant, user-friendly, and follow an intuitive workflow.
Say, for instance, your business requirements mandated you must install a CAPTCHA box as a part of your website’s e-newsletter signup form. You could create an electronic form that functions correctly with no errors (testing approved), but if you don’t include that box, you’ve neglected to follow instructions and could wind up with a bunch of bots on your email list.
A QA engineer will catch this oversight and send the product back for a re-do. It’s that extra set of eyes that can make all the difference, especially in the software development world.
You’ll Catch What the Human Eye Misses
Usually, a QA engineer will perform two types of product testing. These are manual testing and automated testing.
The first is precisely as it sounds. The engineer will go through your product with a fine-toothed comb and manually check every component for errors and omissions.
In addition, he or she will also run a series of automated tests. Also called scripted tests, these will put your product through every type of usage scenario possible to ensure total accuracy.
For instance, if you have five subpages off your main website and each has five tabs, there’s no way for one person (or a team) to manually try out all the combinations of ways that someone could bounce around your page. Instead, an automated test can run through those use cases for you, and instantly alert you to any roadblocks.
These engineers also have access to a slew of smart tools, such as those offered by Global App Testing Products, that can help them pinpoint issues even further.
The result? A seamless user experience that works every time, helping you build your brand and improve your client feedback score.
The Role Encourages Team Collaboration
Ultimately, your development team functions at its strongest when everyone is working together toward a solid end product. While it may be tempting to throw everything over to the QA folks to fix and debug, it’s best if everyone can communicate on the issues and proactively work to solve them.
To this end, a QA engineer can help bring all subgroups together. Whether you’re brainstorming a workaround to address a specific pain point or are redesigning a component to be industry compliant, communication and collaboration are key.
This person is often the unbiased voice of reason who can help bring everyone to a common talking point. Developers and engineers can spend so much time working on a project that it’s easy to overlook issues or become too attached. Bringing in an outside QA professional often adds the fresh perspective that the team needs to press the “reset” button.
It Allows You to Test the Human Experience
While other people on your team might be most interested in the technical side of development, the QA engineer will help ensure that everything functions smoothly in the real world.
For instance, as they click through your website, they’ll look first to make sure everything’s working without error. Then, they’ll notice if anything simply looks off and let you know.
For instance, is the font on your blog titles too small? Does it take a while for the pages to load? Are the graphics a little discolored?
The QA engineer has an eye for these types of intricate details and can catch even the slightest inconsistency. This review is invaluable and can make or break the actual user experience once your product goes live.
The Value and Benefits of Quality Assurance
Your time and effort are valuable, and you want to make sure you’re not spinning your wheels. While you might think your team can fly through a project and still create something that works well, is user-friendly, and looks great, the reality is you need a QA professional to tie everything together.
Investing in this role is an investment in the future of your company. Fill it correctly and the ROI could be through the roof. A well-designed product may be the tool you need to build your brand community and pad your bottom line — and a QA engineer is the way to get there.
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