What Does a Test Engineer Do? Duties and Responsibilities

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The success of a product-based business often depends on the quality of its products. That is why these companies often employ test engineers to thoroughly test a product before its release. Learning more about this profession can help you determine if it is the right career path for you. In this article, we discuss what a test engineer does, what skills and tools they use to perform their duties well and share a step-by-step guide for how to enter this profession.

What does a test engineer do?

A test engineer is involved in every step of the production process to create and implement tests that help build a high-quality product. They design tests, keeping in mind the needs of a customer. They build robust systems that scrutinise a product to ensure that its quality, reliability, speed, functionality and design exceeds expectations. Additionally, test engineers inspect multiple components of a product, create a report of their findings and offer suggestions for improvement. Their testing procedure may vary depending on the requirement of the industry and project. A test engineer constantly learns on the job and has a detail-oriented approach to work.

Related: Which Is the Best Branch in Engineering?

Day-to-day duties of a test engineer

The position of a test engineer is very crucial to any production process. They thoroughly test a product before bringing it to the market. Their daily duties may depend on the industry and project but include one or more of the following:

  • Monitor safety measures and standards through the production or development stages.

  • Work closely with all departments to understand the product goal and build a high-quality product.

  • Build a testing framework and define testing parameters based on inputs from the product design team.

  • Use the testing framework to monitor the process, document the results and take steps to troubleshoot.

  • Develop multiple test cases and create appropriate testing environments for checking a product.

  • Provide suggestions to improve the tested product.

  • Ensure that the product meets all quality standards set by the team and client.

  • Document all testing procedures, results and suggestions.

  • Conduct data analysis using the test results.

The work environment of a test engineer

The work environment of a test engineer may vary depending on the industry. Their job role is not restricted to a corporate office. They may even work in a laboratory or factory. Additionally, test engineers predominantly work in the manufacturing and IT sectors. They often work fixed hours or in shifts. If required, they may work additional hours to meet deadlines. Typically, these engineers spend their day working in front of a computer screen, using various tools to test different aspects of production. They may also need to travel to inspect materials and components.

The job role of a test engineer is demanding and fast-paced. Their primary role is to ensure product quality. They often collaborate with design, development and quality assurance teams. A test engineer typically reports to a team lead or a quality assurance manager.

Skills for a test engineer

Test engineers work in demanding work environments. Successful engineers constantly learn and improve their skills. Each industry may require some specific skills in a test engineer. Given below are some of the common skills of a test engineer:

Technical skills

A test engineer understands software development, testing methodologies and strategies. It helps them build testing frameworks, conduct tests and analyse reports. It eventually contributes to creating an efficient system to develop high-quality products. Successful engineers also have expertise in different operating systems, backend programming, and knowledge of quality management systems (QMS) and product development life cycle. A test engineer in the manufacturing sector may require a deep understanding of materials, circuits and equipment function.

Project management

The testing phase is critical and is interdependent on other teams, like design, production and quality assurance. A test engineer conducts tests, creates reports and rectifies errors. Since they work within time constraints, strong project management skills help them deliver products on time, without compromising on the quality of the work. Developing this skill can also help test engineers delegate work and lead teams.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

Analytical and logical reasoning

Test engineers define a product's quality requirements, build relevant test cases, conduct tests and analyse the test results to identify areas of improvement. Each step requires them to use their analytical and logical thinking skills. It is important for them to scrutinise the product while keeping in mind the end-user. A test engineer considers scenarios that can break the product. It helps in thorough testing and preparing a product of quality that is suitable for the end-user.

Being proactive

A test engineer stays up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. It helps them in understanding the market, scalability of the product and challenges that may arise. It enables them to incorporate new methodologies and tools that can improve the process and make it efficient. Being proactive about gaining knowledge and staying updated help them stay relevant in the industry and advance their career.

Teamwork

Depending on the project, a test engineer may need to work with different people. Collaborating with other people helps bring more perspectives to the problem, resulting in a holistic approach to testing. A test engineer may change teams with every project. Therefore, being adaptable to change and being comfortable working with different people is essential.

Interpersonal skills

A test engineer works with multiple teams and people. They document test results and provide suggestions for people from technical and non-technical backgrounds. They write in a language that is simple to understand and communicates their perspective. Collaborating with different team members requires a test engineer to develop good listening skills and be open to different perspectives.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication?

Important tools for a test engineer

A test engineer uses various tools to test different aspects of the product. It includes tools for bug tracking, automation, graphical user interface (GUI), application programming interface (API), security and data entry. While these tools may vary depending on the industry or project, here are a few that a test engineer is most likely to use:

  • Jira

  • Stryka

  • SQL

  • Selenium

  • Apache JMeter

  • LabVIEW

  • AutoCAD

  • Mantis

  • Postman

How to become a test engineer

The job of test engineer requires technical skills, analytical thinking and keen observational abilities. The following steps illustrate how you can become a test engineer:

1. Complete your education

To become a test engineer, you must have an undergraduate degree in computer science engineering, mechanical engineering or other related fields. The engineering specialisation may depend on the industry of your choice. It helps lay the foundation for understanding testing methodologies, frameworks, scenarios, and tools. The bachelor's degree may also provide exposure to industry projects, trends and practices.

2. Get certified

Gaining a certificate relevant to product testing can help add credibility to your resume. A certification earned at the start of your career can improve your job prospects. Additionally, some certifications require a few years of experience and can help boost your career. Some of the popular certifications in the testing industry include Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST) and International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) certificate.

3. Gain experience

Gain practical industry experience through internships while you are studying. It helps provide exposure to industry practices, trends and industry requirements. Additionally, you can also gain proficiency by taking up industry projects. It helps in building a credible portfolio. Such practical exposure helps connect with industry experts and grow your network.

4. Build a portfolio and a resume

Your resume is your first impression to a potential employer. You can showcase your technical portfolio with past projects. Illustrate the role you played and how your work impacted the overall result. Additionally, highlight your hard skills and soft skills to create a strong resume. A comprehensive resume can help improve your chances of advancing to the next steps of hiring.

Related: How To Make a Portfolio: A Step-by-Step Guide

5. Apply for jobs

You can use online channels to apply for jobs in the industry and company of your preference. These online channels provide you with a global directory of companies and help widen your reach. Another way is to leverage your network. Inform your peers that you are looking for a job as a test engineer. They may provide leads to potential employers and may even recommend you for a particular role.

Average salary

The average base salary of a test engineer is ₹3,79,933 per year. The pay varies depending on the industry and the position you hold. For example, the average base salary of a senior test engineer is ₹5,65,646 per year, while the average base salary of a test manager is ₹10,94,359 per year. Additionally, the remuneration also varies depending on your skills, geographical location and the company.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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