The adoption of quality engineering continues to grow as organizations seek ways to align their software testing efforts to DevOps practices. In fact, the role of quality engineering has evolved from traditional quality assurance to meet the quality testing requirements of today’s fast-paced development teams. Quality engineering has also led to a shift from manual testing to automated solutions that offer low-code interfaces to streamline quality assurance.

In this post, we’ll dive into the role of quality engineers in the software industry. We’ll discuss the difference between quality engineering and quality assurance as well as the importance of low-code software test automation.

What is a Quality Engineer?

A quality engineer works to improve software quality by implementing manual and automated testing processes throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC). This includes embedding automated tests of all types (functional, integration, e2e, performance, load, API, and more) into development pipelines and creating efficient processes for resolving any bugs or defects discovered.

In short, a quality engineer takes a holistic approach to software quality and also can help to shift quality testing. This means testing code changes early and often to improve quality more efficiently and reduce the overall burden on development teams. In order to integrate quality engineering processes into the SDLC, quality engineers need strong technical skills and a variety of soft skills.

Here are some of the hard and soft skills a quality engineer should have:

  • Empathy to ensure the testing strategy evaluates every aspect of the end user journey.
  • Communication skills to collaborate effectively with developers, product owners, and other quality stakeholders.
  • Adaptability to meet changing user expectations, a growing product, and evolving DevOps processes.
  • Critical thinking to ensure they’re leveraging the right data to create effective software testing strategies.
  • Technical skills to implement a high-impact manual and automated testing strategy that improves software quality.

Comparing Quality Engineering and Quality Assurance

While quality engineering and quality assurance may seem like the same thing, they’re actually a bit different. Quality assurance focuses on the end result of measuring and improving software quality, while quality engineering also considers quality throughout the entire SDLC. That means quality engineering takes things a step further by optimizing the process itself, integrating with the software development technology stack, and working more closely with developers.

Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering

Many organizations combine practices from both quality assurance and quality engineering disciplines. In fact, quality assurance is often viewed as a specific process within quality engineering that’s narrowly focused on improving quality through testing. This can be combined with shift-left testing, data-driven testing strategies, and other quality engineering efforts to build quality into the software delivery process itself.

The adoption of quality engineering practices is growing rapidly because quality assurance alone has struggled to keep pace with DevOps and agile methodologies. By only testing at the end of the SDLC, quality assurance teams may be creating bottlenecks that can result in slow development velocity and potentially limiting their test coverage as well as overall software quality. Implementing automated testing throughout the SDLC helps organizations break down the testing silo and more closely aligns quality and development teams.

Quality Engineer vs. Quality Analyst

Another common difference in quality engineering/assurance roles is a quality analyst vs. a quality engineer. A quality analyst is often someone with a non-technical background that helps with software quality, while a quality engineer has a deeper background in engineering and computer science.

Many quality teams include both roles because analysts might have more domain knowledge that’s helpful for understanding user requirements while quality engineers have the technical skills to implement testing tools and processes. Besides these two roles, other members of the organizations — from product owners to customer service representatives — have an impact on software quality and user experiences.

Why Low-Code Matters for Quality Engineers

As software development velocity continues to accelerate, quality engineering teams need to find ways to eliminate testing bottlenecks. This can involve a data-driven testing strategy that leverages AI and machine learning, but low-code automation is another option to improve efficiency.

More specifically, a low code testing automation solution like mabl makes it so easy to write and execute software tests that anyone can do it. That means both technical and non-technical team members can take ownership over software quality to scale quality engineering across the organization. This fosters a culture of quality and a collaborative approach to delivering high-quality software, faster than before.

A low-code testing platform is also a great way for quality analysts to take on more quality testing tasks, giving quality engineers additional bandwidth to work on implementing more advanced quality testing strategies. This can lead to more lasting improvements in software quality over the long term.

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