Launching software that includes glitches and other performance issues is a preventable problem that hiring QA specialists can solve. Quality assurance specialists are responsible for ensuring that applications are secure, compliant, efficient and reliable during all project phases.
The need for reliable software is expanding as the world continues its march toward digital technologies powering many everyday functions. Rapid technological advances mean that software development and QA teams must keep up with new possibilities and methodologies.
“If we want to be serious about quality, it is time to get tired of finding bugs and start preventing their happening in the first place.” — Alan Page , Unity VP of Engineering Services
QA specialists are a crucial part of project success, but sourcing the right professionals is sometimes challenging. Learn how to hire QA specialists, skill sets, salary information, interview tips and more in this guide.
Whether you’re developing systems for internal use or applications to sell, end users expect quality products out of the box and regular updates, if needed. If you don’t take the necessary steps to ensure quality, you may lose clients and potentially gain a bad reputation.
QA specialists do more than just testing; they may also develop strategies to facilitate testing processes. Not only are they interested in a particular project, but they are also concerned with overall testing processes.
The demand for skilled QA specialists is high, but this guide teaches you how to identify the right personnel and make good hiring decisions.
A Skilled QA Specialist Adds Quantifiable Value to Any Project
|Assessing quality assurance standards and testing:||Identifies strengths and weaknesses, Prompts new procedures, Encourages better practices|
|Implementing and following testing protocols:||Identifies minor issues before they become big problems, Suggests ways to improve the software product, Decreases development time|
|Informing decision-makers of issues and suggestions:||Allows for faster, data-driven decisions, Increases stakeholder involvement|
|Recording testing and auditing procedures and data:||Provides transparency and accountability, Prevents repeated mistakes|
|Delivering quality software:||Provides favorable user experiences, Enhances your brand’s reputation, Increases sales potential|
Hiring a Freelance QA Specialist
Choosing the best hiring structure — freelancers or employees — for your team is crucial. Each method has pros and cons, but when you hire a freelance QA specialist, you receive many benefits:
- Cost savings: No benefits, overhead expenses or payroll taxes, and typically lower wages
- Flexibility: On-demand hiring and scaling; no long-term commitment
- Skill set availability: Local talent often doesn’t have hard-to-find skills
- Time savings: Hiring in days, rather than weeks; faster project completion
Many freelance sourcing sites include risk-free trial periods, allowing you to assess the competence and fit of QA specialists.
What Does a QA Specialist Do?
Quality assurance is an integral element in any software development process, and QA specialists may wear many hats. What does a QA specialist do? Their main goal is to ensure that products are high-quality applications that meet client needs. To this end, they may recommend ways to correct or improve the user experience.
QA specialists are sometimes confused with QA testers. Testers identify and fix bugs, inconsistencies and other critical issues, with their goal being a finished product with minimal bugs. Although a specialist can perform the functions that testers do, they have more responsibilities.
Why hire QA specialists? The tasks routinely assigned to QA specialists include:
- Developing and implementing testing and quality assurance policies
- Creating training programs and manuals
- Constructing different types of testing methods
- Auditing and testing software products during development and prior to release
- Assigning debugging tasks to the appropriate team members
- Ensuring that workflows run smoothly
- Identifying issues and making suggestions for corrections and improvements
- Maintaining thorough documentation
Testers are concerned with specific products, while QA specialists oversee the entire QA process.
“We used to have a running list of great “quotes you never want to hear from your Developer” on one of our whiteboards. One of my favorites was (and I’ve caught QA Automation folks saying this, too) “I don’t know how this code ever worked.””
– Mary DiModica-Kulju , QA Engineer
When developers are deeply focused, they may not notice small errors that could potentially turn into big problems. At other times, unforeseen contingencies adversely affect software performance. While some testing uses automation, testing engineers must also perform manual testing, such as:
- Compatibility testing: Ensuring that the software operates correctly on different operating systems
- Functional testing: Validating whether software functions as intended
- Integration testing: Examining how integrating particular software products affects systems and software suites
- Performance testing: Verifying an application’s operational speed, scalability, resource utilization and stability
- Regression testing: Ensuring that new updates and features don’t introduce problems to the software’s normal functions
- Security testing: Identifying potential vulnerabilities and providing protection against them
- Unit testing: Assuring that each component in an application works well independently and in conjunction with the entire application
When you hire dedicated QA specialists, you are adding a team member who can:
- Reduce costs by identifying and fixing issues quickly
- Improve product quality and quality assurance processes
- Ensure that finished products meet expectations
Continue reading to learn more about QA specialists for hire.
How To Hire QA Specialists
Hiring the right QA specialists begins with establishing your project’s parameters. Clearly define details, such as:
- Goals, nature and scope
- Timelines and duration
- Sourcing and hiring methods
- Required and desirable skill sets
These definitions will help guide your search for suitable candidates, as will your decision to hire freelancers or employees.
Senior specialists may have additional management skills and in-depth expertise in certain areas. They usually have more years of experience than lower-level applicants. Your project’s nature and goals may indicate that one skill level is better than another, but your budget may be the determining factor.
Your budget may not allow you to hire senior-level QA specialists, who typically charge more. However, that does not necessarily mean you are sacrificing quality. Entry-, junior- and mid-level talent can also produce excellent results.
It can be tough to decide which QA specialist to hire. You need someone with the right technical expertise, but you should also look for candidates who:
- Are familiar with your industry and the expectations of your targeted end-users
- Have experience with, and a passion for, all aspects of software quality assurance
- Stay up to date with emerging technologies and trends
- Have personalities that mesh with those of existing team members
Sites that provide talent-matching services can eliminate some stress, because they consider multiple factors, including the ones listed above, when determining which QA specialists will best meet your requirements. Not everyone is comfortable vetting these highly skilled individuals, so look for sourcing options that pre-vet candidates.
Some talent-matching sites, such as Toptal, also offer risk-free trial periods. During the specified time frame, you can evaluate how well each professional works and fits with your project and team. These no-risk assessment periods are invaluable, because you do not make a total commitment until you are assured that you have made the right selection.
What Skills To Look For When Hiring a QA Specialist
Your project may require that QA specialists possess multiple skill sets. Learn more about specific skills in our other hiring guides.
Any QA specialist should have these technical skills:
- Analytical and logic-based testing skills
- Data analysis and database management
- Familiarity with coding concepts and software development life cycle methodologies
- Full understanding of various testing methods, tools and automation
- Operating system and domain knowledge
- Project management skills
Senior-level QA specialists with outstanding technical credentials are not always the best candidates for your project. Hiring a QA specialist possessing the right soft skills is just as crucial to the overall success of your project.
Vital soft skills to look for include:
- The ability to perform under pressure
- Active listening
- Confidence and a positive attitude
- Creative problem-solving and critical thinking
- Cultural fit and a pleasing personality
- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, in your preferred language
- Flexibility and the ability to prioritize ever-changing tasks
- Self-motivation and time management
The soft skill set that each person possesses is unique to them and can dramatically affect how they relate to their job and to others; it also impacts how other people can relate to them. Soft skills are often the determining factor when deciding which candidate to hire.
Diversity and inclusion are essential to fair hiring practices, but you must also consider other elements. When comparing QA specialist skills, consistency is vital. That means you must ask each applicant the same interview questions and use identical scoring models.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire QA Specialists?
In the U.S., the average salary of QA specialists is $69,932 annually, or $31 hourly. Yearly earnings range from $29,000 to $105,000, based on location, skill levels, years of experience and project complexity.
Tips for Writing a QA Specialist Job Description
Job seekers must want to work for you. Job descriptions should include more than role requirements and responsibilities; they also advertise your company’s brand and the benefits of joining your team. Entice top QA specialists and QA Specialist freelancers by highlighting achievements, ongoing and new projects, company culture and how they can add value by joining your team.
Provide relevant project and role information, such as:
- The timeline
- Responsibilities and qualifications
- Project details
- Hiring method (freelancer or employee)
Decide how you will evaluate technical and soft skills when compiling your candidate shortlist and during interviews.
Common Interview Questions To Ask When You Are Looking To Hire a QA Specialist
Interviews provide an opportunity to assess soft skills and to see a freelancer QA Specialist’s thought process in action. A great way to judge soft skills is to ask an open-ended question without providing all the necessary details. This should prompt the candidate to ask for the missing information, giving you insight into vital soft skills such as:
- Listening and communication
- Attention to detail
Your task during an interview is to ascertain how comfortable each applicant is with the open role’s responsibilities, whether they possess the right technical and soft skills and how well they communicate with you.
Common interview questions for this position include:
- How would you handle a situation where your client wants to release a product that doesn’t meet set quality standards? Assess professionalism, priorities, understanding of responsibilities and responding with logic, rather than emotion.
- What procedures do you use to assess and improve quality controls? Determine experience and skill levels, knowledge of applicable regulatory and compliance issues, personal experience references and problem-solving skills.
- What experience do you have working on similar projects? Evaluate transferable skill sets and how the candidate measures success.
Design relevant questions to assess the necessary skills.
How To Find Freelance QA Specialists for Hire
There are many ways to find QA specialists, including professional networking, job boards, recruitment agencies and freelance marketplaces. This guide lists the top 15 sites to hire QA specialists, but which one works best for you? Compare:
- Hiring speeds and methods
- Vetting standards
- Offered services
- Available skill sets
Toptal has multiple advantages: you can hire pre-vetted QA specialists in 48 hours, many diverse skill sets are available and the talent-matching process virtually eliminates work on your end. Add in no-questions-asked scaling, a risk-free trial period and a 98% success rate, and you will see why this site is our top pick.
Using the right hiring strategy and the best sites to source QA specialists is crucial to the overall success of your project. Use the valuable resources in this guide to develop and implement your hiring approach to obtain the best results.
Hiring QA Specialists - FAQs
- How To Hire QA Specialists?
Your QA specialist hiring strategy includes multiple steps:
- Clearly define your project.
- Determine your hiring method (freelance vs. employee).
- Write a compelling job description.
- Choose which site(s) you will use to source skilled candidates.
- Initiate your search for qualified QA specialists, vetting them if necessary.
- Conduct interviews using fair hiring standards and the tips in this guide.
- Select and hire your top candidate(s).
You can save time, money and several steps by using Toptal or other sites that offer similar services.
- Why Should You Hire a QA Specialist?
Although developers work to write error-free code, there are often unpredictable or careless errors. These issues can result in faulty software, customer dissatisfaction and poor user experiences.
A QA specialist:
- Understands your overall goals
- Creates and implements quality standards and testing protocols
- Checks for compliance and regulatory issues
- Ensures that team members adhere to set standards and practices
- Suggests project corrections or improvements and relays them to the appropriate people
- Oversees the entire testing process
Hiring QA specialists improves the quality of your practices and deliverables, saves time and money, ensures compliance and provides necessary oversight.
- How Much Does It Cost To Hire a QA Specialist?
You have multiple pricing options, including setting hourly or project-based pricing, purchasing pre-defined service packages and paying for end-to-end solutions. Costs can vary significantly, based on:
- Skill levels
- Years of experience
- Project complexity and urgency
Hiring a freelance QA specialist often saves money without compromising work quality.
- Where Can I Hire QA Specialists?
- Toptal, Andela, Upwork, QASource and Guru are all excellent sourcing options. Compare the benefits offered by each of the 15 sites on our list before deciding which option to use.
- Are QA Specialists in Demand?
Mobile and web apps, and new technologies, emerge regularly to satisfy the world’s demand for convenience and immediate satisfaction. QA specialists play a vital role in software development projects. The job outlook for these professionals projects a 25% increase by 2032, which is a much faster-than-average growth rate.