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Career Path: How to Become a QA Manager

You have chosen your career and are ready to go down the path of becoming a QA Manager. From the food we eat to the car we drive, companies need individuals to make sure their products are safe, meet standards and work the way that they are intended to. You, as a QA manager, will assist in all stages of the process to ensure that quality is met.

Getting Through the Door

While seeking a job as a QA Manager, you have to know some key skills. Experts suggest that it's easier for individuals that were QA inspectors or in a management position to enter this field. Y...more

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Career Path: How to Become a QA Manager

You have chosen your career and are ready to go down the path of becoming a QA Manager. From the food we eat to the car we drive, companies need individuals to make sure their products are safe, meet standards and work the way that they are intended to. You, as a QA manager, will assist in all stages of the process to ensure that quality is met.

Getting Through the Door

While seeking a job as a QA Manager, you have to know some key skills. Experts suggest that it's easier for individuals that were QA inspectors or in a management position to enter this field. You need to be good in organization and planning, as well as statistics. Knowledge of cause-and-effect diagrams (Ishikawa diagrams), histograms, the Pareto chart, scatter diagrams and graphs will definitely help. You will use checklists to collect data, solve problems that arise, and possess good communication and leadership skills. Being familiar with computer applications and business/management software is also important.

Other technical skills that can give you an advantage include knowledge of Microsoft Office Suites like Word and Excel. Some of the other minimum requirements that you will need to qualify as an entry- to junior-level manager include:

  • Leading the QA team to ensure they successfully deliver results
  • Understanding requirements and industry standards
  • Create and execute test cases with minimal supervision
  • Identify areas of process improvement within the team and make changes to increase efficiency and effectiveness
  • Define test plans for projects
  • Troubleshoot test failures to get to the root cause
  • Learn new tools and technology to support test execution

Degrees and Experience

Companies usually look for QA managers to have a degree in quality assurance, IT, business, engineering, statistics or other related fields. Internships can help you to gain hands-on experience in the field. You can learn needed skills through online courses on platforms such as and Employers will also look for you to be knowledgeable of quality inspection methods and statistical analysis.

Working as a Junior-Level Manager

As a junior-level manager, your main responsibilities will be to establish procedures and practices that work towards the improvement of the quality assurance testing process. You will collaborate with business analysts, software engineers, designers and system owners in test planning and execution. A junior-level manager can review requirement documents, execute test cases to validate functionality, track quality assurance metrics and perform thorough regression testing when bugs are resolved.

Moving Up the Ranks

You have acquired more experience as a QA manager and are ready to move up a level in your career. Staying up-to-date on the latest technologies in the field is a great way to acquire the knowledge needed to grow. Expanding your management skills, as well as becoming certified will help you achieve your goal. There are the CMSQ (Certified Management Software Quality), as well as ASQ's CMQ/OE (Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence) and CMBB (Certified Master Black Belt) certifications that will catch the eye of employers.

Advance Your Career: How to become a Senior QA Manager

Senior QA Managers have a leadership role. They will organize, plan, direct and run the activities of the QA department. Managing the development, maintenance and modification of all quality evaluation and control systems is part of the job. You will maintain compliance with government regulations, company policies and the customer's requirements. Managing the QA staff, including recruitment, hiring, training and performance management is also something the senior QA manager is tasked with.

Study the Core Fields

To be an expert QA manager, you have to be skilled in your field. This involves being aware of the Six Sigma business management strategy, the Kaizen continuous improvement process and TQM (Total Quality Management). Ratching up on your analytical and problem-solving skills will help in this field. Senior QA managers are able to multitask and take ownership of the tasks at hand. The ability to write test plans and scripts based on requirements, as well as track defects and fixes in product development, are also required.

Invest in Yourself

You have proven your expertise in the field as a Senior QA Manager. You have solid written, verbal, presentation and interpersonal communication skills. You can conduct internal audits to measure and assure adherence to established QA standards. Managing concurrent projects and driving initiatives in a cross-functional environment is also part of your job. A good understanding of web technologies like HTML, HTTP, CSS JavaScript and CSS, as well as data formats such as JSON and XML will give you an advantage. Employers also like to see experience with agile methodologies.

Don't Stop at Manager

Expand your knowledge by taking advantage of educational opportunities while on the job. There are organizations where you can gain valuable insight like the SQA (Society of Quality Assurance), the AFQAM (Association of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers), the NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) and the ASQ (American Society for Quality). This can further accelerate your goals by keeping you up-to-date with industry trends and help build a strong network of skilled individuals that may offer access to potential employers.

QA Manager Job Description

We’ve done the research for you. After evaluating numerous job descriptions, we’ve written our own representative job description for a mid-level manager with between two and five years of relevant experience.

As a QA manager, you will supervise and coordinate the activities of a service or product and ensure that it meets company and client standards. You can multitask and work efficiently in a team setting on critical projects to get them done. Our QA managers are self-motivated and display leadership qualities. We welcome diversity and encourage healthy debate and discussion.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Leading, developing and managing the QA and compliance teams to successfully meet requirements, goals and results
  • Ensuring that all required QMS (quality management system) documentation is completed and accurate
  • Establishing business plans to meet or exceed KPIs (key performance indicators) for quality that supports compliance, safety, OTD (on-time delivery) and financial objectives
  • Provide coaching and mentoring in performance-based auditing and problem-solving
  • Develop forms, procedures, instructions and implementation standards
  • Ability to do root cause analysis and corrective action response
  • Can interpret technical instructions in a diagram or mathematical form
  • Assist in the development and implementation of QA programs and policies, as well as recommending revisions

What We Look For

  • 4+ years in quality assurance
  • 4+ years in a management position
  • Experience with leading process improvements to drive quality
  • Experience with quality assurance concepts, principles and practices
  • Experience with the software development life cycle and agile methodologies
  • Experience with business software such as and PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Outlook and SAP
  • Strong analytical, management, communication, leadership and organizational skills
  • B.S. degree in quality assurance, engineering or other related field or experience

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Experience with test automation technologies like Selenium/Webdriver, TestNG, JUnit, CI and Ready API
  • Experience with Java, C# or scripting languages such as Javascript and Python
  • Experience with IT industry standard tools for test case management, automation, defect tracking, source code control, as well as website tracking and monitoring tools
  • Excellent knowledge of Kaizen, 5S and Six Sigma
  • Certifications like CMQ/OE, CSQE, CMBB and CSSBB

Senior QA Manager Career Paths: Where To Go From Here

You have acquired 10 years of experience and are ready to embark on a new challenge. With technology advancing at a fast pace, companies are looking for experts to handle all phases of the production process to reduce errors and unwanted mistakes. Being able to lead and have a strong business acumen, as well as make sure standards and requirements are reinforced is what you are able to do.

Senior QA Managers may work as a QA Director with their responsibilities include maintaining and developing quality control processes, as well as implement strategies throughout the QA department that ensure products are properly tested. There's the role of the VP of Operations who will assist the president of the company daily operations, which includes evaluating operational processes and procedures, developing strategies and implementing plans. From here, you can move into the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) who is tasked with setting standards for the company along with working with directors and managers to make certain that training, processes and the quality output of goods or services reflect standards. There's also the leadership role of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is responsible for making all of the business-related executive decisions, as well as driving the strategic planning, the business development and the fiscal operations.

The positions listed generally require a bachelor's degree with a master's being an employer's preferred choice, such as an MBA in some cases. Managerial and industry certifications along with years of expertise in the field are a must-have on this journey. You will also need to possess not only excellent communication skills but be able to work independently, lead effectively and make important decisions for the company as a whole.

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