20+ Best QA (Quality Assurance) Engineer Interview Questions

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I've compiled the absolute best QA (Quality Assurance) Engineer interview questions and answers. If you’re a part of a software enterprise, you’ve probably heard about how effective QA engineers can be during the release of an innovative new product. A lot of the time, the difference between a financially profitable application launch and a failed application launch lies in whether or not a QA engineer is part of the production team.

The following is a list of QA engineer interview questions and answers that hiring managers can use to properly interview potential QA engineers.

First, what exactly is a QA engineer, and why do digital companies need at least one on their payroll? Let’s take a look.

What is a QA Engineer?

A quality assurance engineer, also known as QA engineers, are niche engineers that track the process of a product’s creation from the very beginning to the very end. They typically manage production and test every part of a product to ensure it meets company standards before moving on to the next step in the manufacturing processes.

The Role of a QA Engineer

The ultimate goal of a QA engineer is to protect the product (and ultimately the company) from issues related to government regulations. They make sure the product is market-ready and ready to be released to the public. QA engineers are primarily a part of manufacturing and software teams.

Hiring a QA engineer for any size of a digital software company is a sage idea. They are an additional safeguard against any faults, failures, or malfunctions that could happen when developing a digital product.

25 QA Engineer Interview Questions and QA Engineer Interview Answers

1. Say you have a huge suite to execute in a concise amount of time. How would you handle this situation?

I would have the team prioritize test cases first and foremost. Executing high priority test cases and then lower priority test cases ensure that the product's substantial defects will be detected first. The most important aspects of the product will be tested. I would also determine customer preference to find the most desired and important functions of the product and then test those areas before moving on to less important functions.

2. Do you believe quality assurance engineers should participate in resolving production problems?

Absolutely. Involvement in production provides an opportunity for quality assurance engineers to learn more about the product. Still, many of the time, many production issues can be easily solved with a quality assurance engineer and a quality assurance team. With this valuable insight, quality assurance engineers can implement product defects to write their test cases to improve product quality.

3. You find a bug during production. What would you do to make sure that bug would not be found in the product again?

I would write a test case. Test cases are the best way to protect against production defects in the regression suite. Finding a bug during production can also provide an opportunity to think of alternative test cases to include in execution.

4. Tell me the differences between testing, quality assurance, and quality control.

Testing is where the development team finds and detects bugs, as well as security vulnerabilities in the product. The process determines whether or not the software meets the requirements and standards of the company producing it. Quality assurance is the process of figuring out how the development team will monitor and implement the testing process. Essentially, quality assurance is a method used to define and set quality standards for a particular project. Quality control is where the team will find substantial defects in the product, and the quality assurance engineer will provide suggestions to improve or eliminate those defects.

5. Describe the difference between nonfunction and functional testing.

Nonfunctional testing tests the nonfunction part of the application. Functional testing tests the functional part of the application. Nonfunction testing takes in environmental facts like stress, load, performance, etc., and evaluates them. Functional testing tests requirements and specifications within the system. Function testing is based almost entirely on customer or user requirements. Nonfunctional testing is not typically deemed as important as functional testing, but a quality assurance engineer should include that form of testing in products no matter what.

6. Describe how to test strategies, and test plans differ from one another.

Test strategy is typically developed at a higher level by a project manager to demonstrate the team's approach in testing for the entire project. The test plan is essentially implemented to demonstrate how the testing should be performed for an application or aspect of the product during the project timeline.

7. Describe the differences between negative and positive testing.

Negative testing is a testing technique that makes sure that the system works optimally in the case of any invalid inputs. For example, a user may enter invalid data into a text section. The application should return with a correct message, rather than a technical message the user will not comprehend. Positive testing determines that the system is working correctly and compare expected results with the actual testing results. Too often are negative testing scenarios not included in the determined product plan, so it is the duty of the quality assurance engineer to identify those negative scenarios and test for them.

8. Describe how you would make sure that your particular testing strategy is complete and has adequate coverage.

I would utilize requirement traceability matrices and test coverage matrices to determine that the test cases have excellent coverage. Test coverage matrices help the team figure out that the test cases properly satisfy all the test conditions within the requirement traceability matrices. Requirement traceability matrices will help the team determined that the conditions are optimal and that all requirements are sufficiently covered.

9. Describe the software testing life cycle.

The software testing life cycle is the testing process with particular steps that need to be executed in a carefully planned sequence to ensure that the product has optimum quality. The software testing life cycle phases include the requirements phase, the planning phase, the analysis phase, the design phase, the implementation phase, the execution phase, the conclusion phase, and the closure phase.

10. Describe the main artifacts a quality assurance engineer would refer to when writing different test cases.

The major artifacts used by quality assurance engineers include functional requirement specification, requirement understanding document, use cases, wireframes, user stories, acceptance criteria, and user acceptance test (UAT) cases.

11. Describe a time when you had to write a test case without the necessary documents.

This situation is extremely common. The best method for dealing with this issue is collaborating with the business analyst (BA) and the development team. Then I would investigate emails that have some information and investigate into older test cases and regression suites. If a product feature is particularly new, I will try to read technical pages online to get an idea of what I’m working with. Then, I would connect with the head developer and try to understand the changes that are being made. After coming to a more substantial understanding, I would then identify the test condition and send it to the business analyst for review.

12. At what point in the project do you believe quality assurance activities should start?

Quality assurance intervention should begin at the very start of the project. The earlier a quality assurance engineer involves producing a product, the more benefits the product will receive in setting standards and achieving optimum results. Not involving quality assurance engineers at the start of a project could lead to time, effort, and cost issues later on down the road in the software’s production and development.

13. What is verification and validation?

Validation is where the process of evaluating the end product takes place. This is done to determine whether the software meets the company’s needs. Quality assurance teams typically perform validation activity by testing the execution of a product daily. This includes systems testing, smoke testing, regression testing, and functional testing. Verification is essentially the process of working through the development lifecycle's intermediary work products to see if everything is going according to plan on time for the product’s release.

14. What is the proper format for writing a good test case? What are the steps involved?

Test case identification, test case description, severity, priority, environment, build version, steps to execute, expected results, and actual results.

15. Describe what a satisfactory test case looks like.

A good test case is one that finds any defect within the product. If there are no defects in the product, a successful test case has all the necessary details and coverage listed in the proper format for writing a good test case.

16. Describe the verification techniques that are typically used by quality assurance engineers during a project.

The three major verification techniques and review, inspection, and walkthrough. A review is a method we use to examine code and test cases outside of the author’s influence. This is usually one of the best and easiest ways to determine coverage and quality in the product’s features. A walkthrough is when the author of the code reads out their content and receives feedback, reviews, and corrections. Walkthroughs are usually less-official than typical reviews or inspections and are primarily used to benefit the author. Inspection is a much more technical and refined way of establishing and correcting defects in the test code. There are multiple roles in inspection: Moderator, who conducts the whole inspecting meeting. Recorder, who documents the time and duration of the meeting, what defects popped up, and other information discussed during testing. Reader, who will read out the code and essentially “leads” the inspection meeting. The producer is the original author of the code and must update their code accordingly after defects are found. And Reviewer, which essentially describes all of the expert engineers and developers in the inspection meeting.

17. Have you used automation tools in past products?

You’ll definitely receive a variety of answers from various interviewees on this subject. What you should look for is a definite “yes,” and a list of several different tools used that they could implement into your company’s current and future software projects.

18. Describe the difference between stress testing and load testing.

Stress testing involves validating a system's behavior when it has to execute commands under stress. A system under stress is a system dealing with a lack of resources or functional impairments and failures. This helps us understand the system's total limit by reducing resources and evaluating the system’s behavior. Load testing involves simply testing the system under a normal amount of stress with the expected load. The expected load typically involves users or resources accessing the system at the same time. Both types of testing are used to determine how the system will react in high user or resource volume and what it takes to make the system malfunction on the user’s end.

19. When you have doubts about a particular project, what is your approach to taking it on?

First and foremost, a decent quality assurance engineer with doubts about a project should clear the air by reading through the available application “help” files and artifacts. If there are still doubts after this step, I would ask a supervisor or senior member of the development team for assistance. Engineering and development is very much a team effort, and all members involved need to communicate with each other and provide their skills to each other for optimum product results. I would also ask the appropriate business analyst about whatever doubts I may have, as well as the senior project manager and stakeholders.

20. Describe how you determine what software elements or pieces require a specific amount of testing.

This can be determined by figuring out the cyclomatic complexity. This technique is used to identify the three major questions we should be asking about the program’s features: Is it testable? Is it understood by everyone? Is it reliable enough? Quality assurance engineers use this technique to determine what level of testing a particular feature requires and whether it is considered a high priority. If the cyclomatic complexity is a high number, the team would consider that particular functionality or part of functionality to be complex and difficult, so it should be figured out and assessed before anything else with in-depth testing. If the result of the cyclomatic complexity is low, I would conclude that functionality or functionality isn’t as complex and doesn’t require as much testing.

21. Why did you decide to become a quality assurance engineer?

You will receive many varying answers to this question from interviewees but look for particular statements in their answer. If the interviewee focuses on their passion for engineering and desire to be involved in all aspects of the product’s completion, that says a lot about the kind of engineer they are. They aren’t interested in manufacturing code or components of a product behind the scenes-- they are invested in being hands-on during the project and are willing to lead a team.

22. What is the difference between software testing and quality assurance?

They are not mutually exclusive. Quality assurance engineers perform software testing regularly as part of their job. In a sense, the quality assurance team monitors the quality of the process used to create the software. Software testing is the process itself.

23. Describe testware.

Testware is a word for all test artifacts in a project, including test data, test plans, and test cases used to design and perform a particular test.

24. What are some automation challenges that a quality assurance engineer and their team may experience during testing processes?

The major challenges include mastering the automation tool, reusability of automation script, adaptability of test case for automation, and automating complex test cases.

25. Explain the basic steps for the bug cycle.

The bug cycle occurs after a bug or multiple bugs are discovered in the product system. Once the bug is identified by the person testing it, it is then assigned to a development manager. If the bug is a valid and substantial defect, the development team will assess and correct it. If the bug is not a valid defect, it will be marked as rejected and then ignored. After that, the developers and quality assurance team will check whether the bug is in scope. If the bug isn’t part of the product’s current release, then the defect correction will be postponed. If the bug is identified earlier, then the tester will mark it as “duplicated.” If the bug is taken to a developer to correct, it will be marked as “in-progress.” Once the bug is eliminated, and the defect is repaired, it will be marked as “fixed,” The tester will assign a “closed” status once further testing proves the defect is completely taken care of.

For more information please visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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