How to Become a Software Testing Engineer

How to Become a Software Testing Engineer: Career Path Guide

Here is an outline of the common steps for becoming a software testing engineer (other paths are possible):


1. Excel at calculus, algebra, physics, computer science and programming in high school

2. Determine if this field is suited to your interests, qualities and traits

3. Pursue a bachelor’s degree related to software engineering

4. Get relevant work experience, or a school-facilitated internship while you're a student 

5. Get an entry-level role after graduation

6. Advance your career as you gain experience and expand your skill set


Continue reading below to get a good idea of what you'll need to begin your career as a software testing engineer. We've also included helpful information for this profession, such as an overview of salary level expectations, a list of possible employers, actual job postings, and much more!



What Education Will I Need?

Most employers will prefer that you have a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, or a closely related field such as computer science/engineering. This will help prove to them that you’ve learnt many of the necessary foundational skills to work in this field. As a bonus, your school may help introduce you to employers via internship opportunities they facilitate. 


High School: To prepare for this career while you’re a high school student, be sure to excel at calculus, algebra, physics, computer science and programming. This will serve as excellent preparation for work in this field, and help you qualify for university programs in computer science/software engineering. 




What Experience Will I Need?

Many employers will accept relevant work experience in place of formal education, although ideally you will have both experience and education. 


If you have a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or a related field, you likely won’t require any work experience to land an entry-level role. Moving up to senior-level roles may require experience in junior-level positions, or a graduate degree, and in some cases both.


Success Tip: Great ways to gain experience while you’re a student, are by getting a job in your college or university’s computer science department/engineering department, or by getting an internship that’s facilitated by the software or computer engineering department at your school.



What Is a Software Testing Engineer?

A software testing engineer is a quality assurance professional that uses software engineering principles to identify and locate bugs and defects in software programs and systems. They must perform specific tests, and examine all aspects of a software product or system from an end-user’s perspective in order to ensure its quality and efficiency.



What Does a Software Testing Engineer Do?

Although the specific duties of a software testing engineer can vary from one job to the next, they are generally responsible for the following:


• Consulting with an internal or external client to gain a comprehensive understanding of the project’s scope

• Creating a testing plan based on the project parameters

• Supervising the work of technicians and other staff

• Using every function and tool of software to ensure extensive testing is conducted

• Searching for results regarding performance, reliability, bugs and any other failures

• Recording and monitoring detailed metrics in order to track the progress and outcomes of testing

• Communicating results of testing to client

• Making recommendations to client regarding bugs and failures 



What Traits Do I Need? 

If you have the following personal traits you'll not only be well suited for work as a software testing engineer, you’ll be a standout:


• You enjoy being involved in the entire lifecycle of a project, from inception to completion

• You’re passionate about computing and programming 

• You really enjoy isolating problem areas to solve problems

• You enjoy performing tasks that require precision and attention to detail

• You have a customer service-oriented approach to projects

• You’re interested in a well-paying career that involves working indoors 

• You’re willing to work on complex problems everyday 

• You’re keen on advancing your knowledge of databases and client-side frameworks



What is the Salary of a Software Testing Engineer?

The median annual wage of software engineers (which includes testing engineers) is $100,690 per year in the United States. Their salary can vary based on factors such as their level of experience, the amount of responsibility inherent in their job, the size and type of their employer, the region in which they work, and other factors. 



More About Salary Levels

As mentioned above, the salary level you could earn as a software testing engineer can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your level of education and certification

• Your level of experience

• The level of responsibility involved in your job

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The industry in which you work

• Many other factors


Software Testing Engineer Salary - Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the overall average salary of Albertans working in the “Software Engineers & Designers” occupational group is $104,555 per year.


Software Testing Engineer Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall median salary level of Americans working in the “Software Developers” occupational group (which includes software testing engineers) is $100,690 per year. The lowest 10% of salaries are below $57,340, and the highest 10% of salaries are above $153,710. 



Who Creates Jobs for Software Testing Engineers?

Software testing engineers are hired on a part-time, full-time, permanent and contract basis by a variety of small, medium and large employers. Common types of employers include:


• Companies that devise embedded software for inclusion in other products

• Companies that develop industrial instrumentation and process control products

• Consulting companies that provide software related services

• Manufacturing companies

• Oil, gas and other energy companies

• Colleges and universities

• Government agencies

• Public and private research institutions

• Software development and testing companies

• Software marketing and distribution companies

• Internet-based businesses



Software Testing Engineer Jobs

Our job board below has "Software Testing Engineer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. 

What Careers Are Similar to “Software Testing Engineer”?

Listed below are careers in our database that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “Software Testing Engineer”:


• Game Tester

• Quantitative Analyst

• Software Designer

• Software Engineer

• Software Sales Representative 

• Test Engineer



What Are Scholarships for Getting Into This Field? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant to becoming a Software Testing Engineer. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our “Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a software testing engineer:


• Occupational Profile: “Software Engineer.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved February 10, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Software Developers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 10, 2017.

• Careers: “Software Test Engineer.” (n.d.). CompuCert. Retrieved February 10, 2017.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a software testing engineer. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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