Let’s try to talk about Quality Assurance!

An invisible inspector detects an actual bug on a monitor with a magnifier

Quality Assurance, Quality Engineering, Quality Control, Test Engineering, Test Analysis, etc. Do you know the difference between them? Are there differences between them? Do the companies position, value, or define them correctly? Are they all engineers?

This is a very controversial topic and there is too much to talk about regarding Quality Assurance because there are too many wrong definitions, positions are in place and people are not valued correctly most of the times. I will try to touch some of them with my limited and humble experience. Let me know if you think I missed a topic or should have involved more on it.

First, we need to talk about the basis. Let’s start with mentioning three aspects needed for software quality:

The IT industry has reached a maturity level where controlling both the quality of a software product and maintaining a certain quality level are taken into serious consideration. We are past the point of solely focusing on the features of a software product. Nowadays, the success of a software is also determined by its scalability, maintainability, efficiency, and performance. We can group these parameters under the “quality” umbrella because they define the quality of a software product.

After building a strong mindset for the quality of your processes, next question is how to apply these. This brings us to the second topic I would like to touch; automated and manual testing. I would like to start with asking an important question. Should we or can we automate everything?


Let’s start with some basics. According to West Virginia University (Example Career: Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers, n.d.), these are some of the things Software Quality Assurance Engineers should be doing:

The list is long but the brief summary is the job consists of 3 main approaches:

  1. Automating Quality Assurance tests where possible
  2. Conducting manual tests to create testing plans and form the happy flow as well as edge case scenarios
  3. Collaborating with developers and field staff on creating and maintaining a quality mindset

When should automated tests be considered?

According to Test Guild by Joe Colantonio (Colantonio, 2022), some of the tests that can/should be tested with automated scripts:

  1. Tests that need to be run against every build/release of the application, such as smoke test, sanity test, and regression test.
  2. Tests that can be used for performance testing, like stress and load tests
  3. Tests that involve inputting large volumes of data.
  4. Tests that need to run against multiple configurations — different OS & Browser combinations, for example.

When should manual testing be considered?

According to an article by the BrowserStack community (Pai, 2021), some of the scenarios where you should stick to manual testing:

Cost of software automation

In order to understand the costs of software automation, we need to focus on the points below.

It’s clear to see that the increasing trend of “let’s automate everything” is a lost cause because Test Automation can’t test the user experience, user behaviour, product usability, product design, etc.

Robotic tests lacks the cognitive abilities of human input and therefore scores lower when conscious decisions have to be made. We need Manual Testing and Quality Assurance Specialists’ eye for detail.

We need the best of each approach and we need to combine their powers.

Should the same person be doing both manual and automation or are they different roles?

We have settled that we need both automated and manual testing but should the same person be doing them both? Naturally, we can consider them as different career paths under the Quality Assurance job family. In an ideal setup, we might want experts on each path so we might keep people limited with one to create more focus and expertise. However, since companies mostly don’t have unlimited budget and/or human-force, they prefer a hybrid approach, which consists below aspects on different weights:

It might seem unfair to expect all aspects of Quality Assurance from a single engineer, but it is a widely accepted approach. Therefore, it might be better for Quality Engineers to know all of them but apply them smartly based on the business case.

Salaries and Job Families

Let’s go back to the point we made at the beginning. Clearly, there is ambiguity and confusion with the definitions under Quality Assurance job family. This profession has so many different names, titles, positions and job definitions that it’s hard to keep track of them all. One thing is common in many companies that people in these role are generally undervalued and sometimes wrongly positioned, due to a lack of understanding regarding what they are actually supposed to accomplish.

Let’s get a different perspective and check some numbers from Glassdoor. I used Amsterdam as the location for the salaries below:

The reason I wanted to mention these numbers is that even though they do similar things, people can be positioned far from each other, based on different titles or definitions within companies.

I have put Software Engineering and Quality Engineering roles together not to compare their worth, but to show that Software Engineering roles are more or less structured similar where Quality Engineering ones are too far away from each other.

A side note, I personally believe Software Engineers and Quality Engineers both share equal parts to the success of a software product; therefore, their valuation should also be as close as possible.


Going back to our main question, can the quality of a software product be assured only with automated tests? The answer is no, because to cover all the aspects, we need also manual testing involved within the process.

A good Quality Assurance Plan and Strategy should have them both. Depending on the circumstances, one can be more useful than the other but we should not restrict ourselves and be open to both. Both are required in the perfect solution.


  1. Example Career: Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers. (n.d.). West Virginia University. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.wvu.edu/academics/careers/software-quality-assurance-engineers-and-testers
  2. Colantonio, J. (2022, August 17). 15 Reasons Why You Should (or shouldn’t) Automate a Test. Automation Testing Made Easy Tools Tips & Training. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://testguild.com/what-to-automate/
  3. Pai, A. (2021, December 31). Manual Testing vs Automation Testing : Differences. BrowserStack. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.browserstack.com/guide/manual-vs-automated-testing-differences



A Software Engineer (MSc) Working at JUST EAT Takeaway.com

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