One of the greatest things about becoming a QA tester is that there are so many roles you can choose from if you wanted to change your job in the future! Depending on your interests and personality, you can focus on improving different skills and getting more in-depth knowledge in a particular area of software development, so that you can get a new role. It’s really that simple.
You could grow within a Manual testing team and make your way up to a QA Manager role, or you could move to Automated testing, or even to the Development field. There are so many different options for you to choose from.
In this article, we will discuss some of the roles that are available in QA today, and we will give you an overview of the average salaries of these different roles in the US.
Let’s take a look…
If you have no or very little experience in testing you will probably start your testing career as a trainee or Junior Tester. This role can sometimes be called Junior QA, so don’t get bogged down with the different names because they’re all the same role.
The primary duties of a Junior Tester include, executing tests, reporting bugs, and designing simple test cases. They usually work as part of a team and they are overseen by a Senior QA, Team Lead or Manager usually.
According to Glassdoor, a Junior Tester's average salary in the US is $48,556/year.
After gaining some experience in QA, and undergoing some more QA training, testers typically move to a mid level testing role.
In this role QA Testers get more complicated tasks assigned to them, and as a result of their new responsibilities their salaries grow.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a QA Tester in the US is $55,030/year.
Testers with about four to five years of experience in QA often become Senior QA Engineers. This role may also be called Senior Tester or Senior QA, if ever you are looking at job adverts.
Besides executing tests and reporting bugs, their day-to-day tasks include, test planning and designing and reviewing the work of junior team members.
At this point some people narrow their specialization to a particular type of application or domain (telecom, manufacturing, healthcare, etc.).
Based on the information obtained from Glassdoor, the average salary of a Senior QA is $68,272/year.
Test Lead/Software Test Manager
If you think you can manage a team, and you have between five to ten years of QA experience under your belt, a Test Lead or Software Test Manager role might be for you.
Depending on the company size and structure, a team can have several Test Leads managing different groups of testers, and there could be a single Test Manager overseeing all of these individuals. Additionally, the role of a Test Lead and a Test Manager can be combined in smaller companies if need be.
These positions involve more coordinating and management tasks than technical work, as traditionally Test Leads and Managers overlook the QA processes in a company. They also manage the testing done on projects, and evaluate the QA team’s performance. As well as, assigning tasks to team members, motivating them, identifying training needs, and communicating with management and other teams.
As per Glassdoor, the average salary of a Test Lead is $79,489/year, and the average salary of a Software Test Manager is $118,313/year.
Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET)
If you are willing to learn programming languages and various automation tools, you could consider moving to Automated testing at some point.
A Software Development Engineer in Test, or QA Automation Engineer, creates automated testing scenarios and codes for automated tests. They then run these tests on software that has been developed to see if the software works as it should. These tests can be done very quickly and repeatedly because the testing process is automated. This then limits the amount of human interaction needed, and they get test results faster, so errors can be fixed sooner.
With the growing popularity of the Automated approach to testing the demand for skilled professionals is continuously increasing in this area.
As noted on Glassdoor, the average salary of Software Development Engineer in Test is $83,070/year.
Starting as a Manual tester, then progressing to an Automated testing role, and finally moving into development is another common career path that individuals take.
This role involves; researching, managing and using software programs, testing, designing, developing, and writing code.
As you can see there are many different responsibilities within this role, but with a solid background in Manual and Automated QA you could easily move into this role by expanding your knowledge in this area.
Based on the information obtained from Glassdoor, a Developer's average salary in the US is $77,702/year.
If you have strong interpersonal skills and can think strategically, then a transition into Product Management might be for you.
Former testers make great Product Managers because they have spent plenty of time analyzing and reviewing different applications, so they have a deep understanding of all software development phases and know what works for the best.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a Product Manager in the US is $108,992/year.
There is no right or wrong career path for a tester to take. But, only you can decide which career path to take!
There are plenty of options out there and it’s important that you pick a role that suits your personality, interests, life, and skills. Of course, you don’t have to decide straight away what you want to do in the future, but having some goal in your head will help you on your journey to success.
Try various jobs to see what excites you most and to see what you are good at. The job you think you’ll love the most may not always be the one for you, so try different roles.
We have plenty of QA courses available, so be sure to check out our website for more details!