Testing vs. quality assurance

So what is the difference between these concepts and why are testers often called QA specialists? Quality assurance is broader than testing. QA helps to assess the correctness of technological processes at all stages of software development to ensure its high quality.

In addition to testing, QA also includes quality control, which is responsible for ensuring that system requirements are met. If all three terms are presented in a hierarchy, then testing will be part of QC, and QC will be part of QA.

Difference between quality assurance, testing and quality control

Thus, testing is more about checking the functionality of a software product and finding defects, while it is also important for QA to ensure compliance with standards and prevent errors and bugs in software.

Let’s summarize:

The tester treats the product as a result (i.e., he assumes that this particular version of the software will fall into the hands of the end-user).

A QA engineer is working on a product that is in the process of being created (i.e. the software does not yet have a final version).

Often the professions of a software tester and a QA engineer are perceived identically, but there are a number of differences in the tasks performed by specialists.

Quality assurance features

The QA process includes preparing a test plan, planning and conducting a test, and managing its results. This helps to define the requirements for both software development and quality assurance.

The responsibilities of a QA engineer often include:

  • detailing system requirements;

  • preparation of tests and the testing process itself;

  • search and fixing of defects;

  • bugfix control;

  • documentation of defects.

There is also a lot of communication in the work of a QA engineer, including the customer. But don’t be scared. Depending on the company and the project, a QA engineer may share some of the responsibilities with business analysts, technical writers, or testers, so one of the distinguishing features of the QA process is the involvement of the entire project team.

QA engineer

Based on this, the ratio of planning and testing QA engineer work can be very different.

What do you need to know about quality control?

There is a narrower specialization in QA – quality control. Specialists in this area are engaged in the analysis of test results and the elimination of detected defects. The QC procedure allows you to ensure that the software product meets a certain set of criteria and requirements established at the quality assurance stage.

Compared to QA, quality control is more time consuming and can only be performed after the QA phase.

To make the quality control process as efficient as possible, the project needs:

  • establish requirements and standards;

  • determine a list of quality control measures;

  • collect real data and analyze it.

If a deviation is detected, it is corrected, and the procedure is repeated. QC is needed to make sure that all the changes made give the desired results.

Thus, the main task of quality control is to provide information on the current quality of a software product at all stages of development.

What then does a tester do?

The profession of a tester involves drafting technical documentation, developing autotests and running them, identifying and analyzing errors in the system, developing test scenarios, documenting, and much more.

Software testing

In reality, the positions of the tester and QA engineer have become synonymous. Even in the documentation for the customer, testers are usually written as QA Engineers, although, as we already understood, the functions they perform are different.

Now, in most cases, specialists start their careers in IT precisely from the position of a junior tester. This is one of the easiest and fastest entry points, especially after taking software testing courses. It is junior specialists who test the development according to ready-made scenarios, while their middle and senior colleagues are responsible for developing plans and test cases.

Let’s sum up

Despite all the differences between concepts such as quality assurance, quality control, and testing, they have a common goal, namely, to release high-quality software that can satisfy the needs of a potential user.

So far, they have not invented a way to create perfect software, but they have invented methods that allow you to minimize the probability of errors and prevent them from occurring. These are the methods used for quality assurance, quality control, and testing.

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