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In our country we don't have a designation as software tester. But everything is done by software quality assurance engineers (designation). I'm trying to apply for foreign jobs and when I go through advertisements, I saw there are two different designations as software tester and software quality assurance engineer. So my questions are .....

1) What are the specific tasks software quality assurance engineer and software tester does?

2) Can a software tester become a software quality assurance engineer? If yes how?

3) Does companies hire non resident employees even though they have not mentioned it in the advertisement?

4) Which is better?

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In general, IMHO QA supposed to be more focused on preventing defects in the first place by fixing the process itself whereas Tester is more concerned about finding defects as an after event.

A tester will take an requirement and validates the application by simply following it whereas a QA will question the requirement itself and will challenge the underlying assumptions of the stakeholders.

Although practically this distinction in rarely done in companies while hiring and most of the staff involved in the hiring does not care about this difference.

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Quality Assurance Engineer

Writes automation code, frequently for UI automation

Tester

Performs manual or automated testing. Can include free-style exploratory testing


Also, 'tester' often leads to second class citizen situations including significant pay differences.
To try and help level the playing field a little bit I use

Application Engineer

and

Automation Engineer

Also both have the same initials - AE

I also tend to use Quality Engineering for automation efforts over Quality Assurance which has come to often represent manual testing.

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    In my shop they are both called testers ;-) Although we prefer not to use the QA word. So it has evolved to 'test engineer'. – Ray Oei Feb 15 at 15:57
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A lot of companies don't even do the difference between the two roles.

First difference, a QA has more responsabilities then a test analyst (I prefer this term than tester who is more seen as an executer of app ;) )

As a QA, you work to improve the process in general, it can be for software or for other process. You have the reponsability to measure the quality of work.

As a tester, you are more in the software, make sure that the software match with the requirments and reduce the risk of bugs.

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From my experience 1) What are the specific tasks software quality assurance engineer and software tester does?

Assurance engineer has more wider responsibilities compared to software tester, like to ensure the recommended code coverage statistics, Release notes and other documents validations, Testing etc.

3) Does companies hire non resident employees even though they have not mentioned it in the advertisement? Yes and No.

Yes - when you already have a work permit/privilege to work in that country. Companies will even pay the relocation expenses unless it is stated.

No - if you don't have a permit to work in that country or the employer is not willing to go down that road. You will have to double check that while applying

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There aren't necessarily any hard differences between a Software QA Engineer and a Tester, but frequently the former title will tend to be a role with professional testing experience.

The most important thing is to check what's on the job spec, and see what is expected of the given role. Many roles advertised as a Tester role will be a fairly standard software testing role without requiring any specific skills in test management or test automation, whereas with SQA Engineer roles there may be some expectation of those skills.

If you're working as a tester and you have a few years experience and have test management or test automation knowledge, there shouldn't be a problem changing your role to something like SQA Engineer. You can always ask the company to change the role for you as well, but I'd simply put the role title that feels most correct when applying for new jobs.

As for non-resident employees, this will vary between target country and company. Many companies will explicitly state if they do not sponsor non-resident employees, but you may have to ask when applying.

As an aside, there are also different roles for QA roles focused more on test automation, and these tend to be called something like Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) and tend to have a much higher focus on programming and test automation than traditional manual testing skills.

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In the automotive industry, we know a framework (ASPICE) with a quality assurance process.

The purpose of the Quality Assurance Process is to provide independent and objective assurance that work products and processes comply with predefined provisions and plans and that any non-conformance are resolved and further prevented.

As a result of successful implementation of this process:

  1. a strategy for performing quality assurance is developed, implemented, and maintained;

  2. quality assurance is performed independently and objectively without conflicts of interest;

  3. non-conformance of work products, processes, and process activities with relevant requirements are identified, recorded, communicated to the relevant parties, tracked, resolved, and further prevented;

  4. conformance of work products, processes, and activities with relevant requirements is verified, documented, and communicated to the relevant parties;

  5. authority to escalate non-conformance to appropriate levels of management is established; and

  6. management ensures that escalated non-conformance are resolved.

These are the responsibilities of an SW quality assurance engineer.

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