The Essential Role of QA & Testing In The Modern-Day Tech Ecosystem

QA and testing have been historically considered a secondary function in the software engineering process. In fact, in most cases, they are only performed at the tail-end of the development lifecycle. 

However, as more organizations shift to agile development and the need for more frequent software updates heightens, these practices are now being integrated throughout the development process — from conceptualization to design, production, release, and post-release maintenance. As a result, the demand for QA engineers has been on a steady rise and is expected to remain so for the remaining part of this decade.

In this article, we’ll discuss why QA testing is a crucial process in software development and explore the need to hire competent QA engineers, analysts and testers.

Why Is QA Engineering Essential In Today’s Tech Ecosystem?

Software QA (Quality Assurance) Engineering is a critical part of the software development lifecycle, focused on ensuring that the final products meet stringent quality standards before they reach end users. While basic QA concepts like bug identification and testing are well-known, the nuanced and multifaceted aspects like enhancing cost-efficiency and cyber security postures are often underappreciated.

So, what exactly is QA engineering?

At its core, QA engineering involves creating and implementing processes that ensure that software products function correctly and efficiently, align with requirements, and deliver a satisfactory user experience. 

Note that we deliberately defined it as the practice of “creating and implementing processes.” That’s because QA is not a one-time thing. Rather, it’s a continuous process that goes beyond merely finding bugs; it encompasses the entire spectrum of activities required to prevent defects and ensure quality from the ground up.

Below are some of its key components:

  1. Creating Test Automation Frameworks

One crucial aspect of QA engineering is the establishment and maintenance of a robust test automation framework. Manual testing, while valuable, is limited by scalability and repeatability. QA engineers design and develop automated test suites that can run extensive test cases quickly and consistently, enabling continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. Automation accelerates the feedback loop, allowing developers to detect and address issues earlier in the development process.

  1. Performance Testing

Another crucial element of QA engineering is performance testing, where QA engineers assess how the software behaves under various conditions, such as peak loads and stress scenarios. This type of testing identifies potential bottlenecks and ensures that the system can handle expected user traffic and data volume. Performance testing often involves simulating real-world usage patterns and analyzing metrics such as response time, throughput, and resource utilization.

  1. Security Testing

Unknown to many, QA engineering also encompasses security testing. QA engineers often work closely with security teams to integrate security checks into the development process, ensuring that potential threats are mitigated before software deployment. This typically involves using intrusion detection techniques like penetration testing, static code analysis, and dynamic analysis to

identify and proactively avert vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors. With the average cost of a single data breach pegged at $9.48 million, this can save your business from significant financial setbacks.

  1. Integration Testing

This type of testing is crucial in complex environments where multiple systems interact. QA engineers use it to ensure that data can be correctly exchanged and processed across systems, and that integrations do not introduce new defects.

From a business perspective:

  • Integration testing helps in early detection of defects, reducing the cost and effort of fixing issues later in the development cycle. 
  • It ensures that new updates or features do not break existing functionality, maintaining consistent performance and user satisfaction.
  • It also supports faster time-to-market by streamlining the development process and preventing delays caused by unforeseen integration issues. 
  • It also provides a safety net for scaling the application, as businesses can confidently add new functionalities knowing that the core system remains stable.

QA Engineers & Risk Management

Beyond technical testing, QA engineers play a crucial role in proactively averting and preventing the recurrence of software glitches. In doing so, they reduce the susceptibility of organizations to risks like cyber attacks and system downtimes.

Here’s how:

  • Proactive Risk Identification — Using advanced techniques like fault tree analysis and FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) to systematically identify potential failure points in complex systems, allowing for early mitigation
  • Automation for Continuous Assessment — Integrating automated testing frameworks within CI/CD pipelines to ensure that risk assessments are performed continuously and emerging regressions or threats are identified as promptly as code evolves
  • Security Risk Mitigation — Leveraging techniques such as penetration testing and threat modeling to uncover vulnerabilities that automated tools might miss, particularly in areas like injection attacks, authentication flaws, and data leakage
  • Compliance and Standards Adherence — Developing and executing test cases that ensure compliance with government and industry data privacy and protection regulations and standards, mitigating the risk of legal and financial repercussions.
  • Incident Analysis and Prevention — Applying root cause analysis to understand past system failures and implement preventive measures, reducing the likelihood of recurrence.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Competent QA Engineer?

Currently, a competent QA engineer in the US earns approximately $108,000 per year. In Canada, you’ll need about $84,000 per year to maintain one of these professionals in-house. 

By any standard, this is a huge investment that will significantly dent your budget. It’s understandable why several organizations, especially small and medium-sized businesses, are still reluctant to hire these professionals.

The big question is — Is hiring QA engineers worth the investment?

The blanket answer is Yes, the ROI of hiring QA engineers is pretty high, especially if you’re a digital organization that relies heavily on your website or applications. By enlisting these specialists, you reduce your susceptibility to downtime and data breaches, both of which can cost you more than you’d pay a QA engineer to prevent them.

Augmenting Your Team With External QA Engineers vs. Full-Time Hiring

Does your business need QA engineers but you’re not ready to hire them full-time? Well, there’s an even better alternative — enlisting the services of these professionals to augment your in-house tech team on a need-basis. Doing so helps you avoid unnecessary longtime commitment and allows you to work with the best of these experts from anywhere across the globe. And because you’ll only be paying for their services when you need them, it can result in significant cost savings.

Save More By Hiring High-Quality LatAm QA Engineers

Unlike North America and most parts of Canada, LatAm boasts a large pool of vastly experienced, and ironically under-exploited,  QA engineers. Because of this, you’re more likely to get a competent QA engineer within your budget in this region than you would in your locality. 

For example, in Mexico, these specialists take home an average of $30,000 per year. That’s almost a third of what you’d spend if you were to hire from the US!

Besides the existence of a vast talent pool and price advantage, LatAm’s proximity to Canada and North America comes with several other advantages:

  • Similar time zones for easy real-time collaboration
  • Almost similar cultures and work ethics
  • Ease of staff relocation whenever necessary
  • Rich history of collaboration with neighboring regions

If you think your business needs a QA engineer, it probably does. Let DevEngine help you hire the best of these specialists from LatAm. We’ve been helping businesses like yours leverage Latin America’s rich tech talent basket since 2019!