Careers in Software QA – Observations from Costa Rican University QA workshop

Mauricio Teaching IMG_20150716_100339By: Mauricio Navarro – GlobalNow Senior QA Engineer

I recently had the opportunity to present a QA session to students and faculty at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica.  My primary topic was “practicing software QA in the real world”, with the idea to explain the basic approach of QA, and what it really means to business outcomes.  Many of the students are computer engineering majors, and some now see QA as a possible career path or end game position.  So my intent was to provide some “real world” experiences based on what we do at GlobalNow as part of our DevOps practice.

I covered all of the normal topics, such as Quality Control vs Quality Assurance, Types of QA (regression – stress – load – white box – black box), basic best practices, standard methodologies (Agile), ISO 9126 / ISO/IEC 25010:2011, what we often verify (functionality, reliability, usability, efficiency, maintainability and portability), Manual vs Automation testing.

After describing the above and the basic purpose of QA, I explained how the practice of QA has shifted from being an isolated compliance function to being an integral part of the deployment team.  This was especially interesting to the audience, as they see that QA has an integral role to play as part of the delivery mechanism for new products and services.   Traditionally, QA has been organized in its own silo with the primary purpose of identifying problems after code delivery and halting delivery to control risk.

Although it is still important that testing efforts ensure overall quality and reduce risk, today’s DevOps oriented QA engineers are truly a part of the delivery team.  Their role is critical in delivering quality products in a rapid and reliable fashion.  This refined mission seemed to be much more compelling to my engineering audience. Maybe they saw it as a more noble mission.  Maybe they understand their technical skill set is absolutely critical to being a successful QA engineer in today’s world of automation.  Either way, their interest seems to stem from the fact that everyday, QA engineers apply their advanced skills while helping companies innovate and deliver high quality systems and products.

GlobalNow will be providing a series of workshops at the local Costa Rican universities beginning in October and we’ll provide more observations from these sessions as time goes on.