20+ Best QA (Quality Assurance) Engineer Interview Questions

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 for 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 make sure 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 really wise 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 particularly large suite to execute in a very short 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 ensures that the substantial defects in the product will be detected first, and 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 first before moving on to less important functions.

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

Absolutely. Not only does involvement in production provide an opportunity to quality assurance engineers to learn more about the product, but a lot of the time, a lot of production issues can be easily solved with the participation of a quality assurance engineer and a quality assurance team. With this valuable insight, quality assurance engineers can implement product defects into writing their test cases to further improve quality in the product.

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 requirement and specification within the system. Function testing is based almost entirely on customer or user requirement. 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 test strategies and test plans differ from one another.

Test strategy is typically developed at a higher level by a project manager in order to demonstrate the approach the team should take 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 and 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 to figure out that the test cases are properly satisfying 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 that has particular steps that need to be executed in a carefully planned sequence to make sure that the product has optimum quality. The phases of the software testing life cycle 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 to start by collaborating with the business analyst (BA) and the development team. Then I would investigate emails which have some information and investigate into older test cases and regression suites. If a product feature is particularly new, I would then 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 themselves in the production of a product, the more benefits the product will receive in the way of setting standards and achieving optimum quality in the end result. 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 on a daily basis. This includes systems testing, smoke testing, regression testing, and functional testing. Verification is essentially the process of working through the intermediary work products of the development lifecycle 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. In the event that there are no defects in the product, a successful test case simply 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. Review is the 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. Walkthrough is the process where the author of the code reads out their content and receives feedback, reviews, and corrections. Walkthroughs are usually less-official that 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. Producer, who 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 the behavior of a system 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 to understand the total limit of the system 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 the event of 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” file 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 or not it is considered 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 a low number, I would then conclude that the functionality or aspect of 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 to see whether or not 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” and the tester will assign a “closed” status once further testing proves the defect is completely taken care of.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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