Quality Engineer How to become, career path, income potential
A quality engineer is an excellent position for those with strong attention to detail. Your time will be spent with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures, and implement systems to meet all of your clients’ expectations. As a quality engineer, you will need to be familiar with TDD, BDD, and ATDD approaches. Your main duties in this role would be to ensure that the manufacturing processes are efficient and accurate. You will also be responsible for documenting findings that would raise concerns, conducting quality tests while observing parameters, and implementing changes as necessary to meet the highest quality standards. Because quality engineers are true engineers, you will need to have a background in engineering, with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering or a related field.
Sample job description
A quality engineer has the responsibility of ensuring the overall quality of a manufactured product. They create supporting documentation, inspect and test products, components, and processes, and produce quality control systems. Quality engineers must be critical thinkers, have excellent attention to detail, and possess solid analytical and communication skills. [Your Company Name] is looking for a quality engineer to take our company to new heights. You should have excellent troubleshooting skills and a proven ability to ensure processes and products consistently meet established quality standards.
Typical duties and responsibilities
Develop methods to inspect and measure product quality
Recommend changes to improve product quality
Work with team members and stakeholders to enhance products
Ensure products meet company and industry quality standards
Identify problems and brainstorm solutions
Create strategies to increase productivity
Document results and findings from inspections
Implement production systems to ensure consistency and accuracy
Education and experience
Bachelor’s degree in quality, industrial, or mechanical engineering
Extensive experience in a quality assurance environment
Master’s degree or PhD preferred for specific positions or career advancement
Required skills and qualifications
Analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills
Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
Strong technical writing ability
Experience working with engineering and computer-assisted design software
Demonstrated skill in solving highly technical problems
Expertise in computer technology and systems operations
In-depth understanding of industry market trends and conditions
Competent in TDD, BDD, ATDD approaches
Experienced in defining and executing manual test strategies, test plans, and effective regression testing
Practical usage and a good understanding of both top-down and bottom-up approaches
Bachelor’s degree in a related field of study
Typical work environment
Quality engineers work in a variety of industries, and the work environment can vary as a result. Typically, they work in manufacturing environments or laboratories where they monitor and analyze the efficiency of processes and product quality standards. Some quality engineers may work in environments that contain safety hazards and require protective gear to be worn, such as hard hats or steel-toed boots. Quality engineers will either work full-time or in shifts, including nights and weekends in plants that stay open seven days a week.
The typical work hours for a quality engineer are from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, some quality engineers may work non-traditional hours, depending on the needs of their company.
Quality engineers work in a wide range of industries, and many institutions offer certifications to help them advance within their careers. Here are some of the top certifications for quality engineers:
Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) – This certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and proves your understanding of the principles of product and service quality evaluation and control. Candidates are tested on their knowledge of the development and operation of quality control systems, application and analysis of testing and inspection procedures, their ability to use metrology and statistical methods to diagnose and correct improper quality control practices, and much more. To be eligible for this certification, you need 8 years of related on-the-job experience, with 3 of those years in a decision-making position.
Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) – The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers the CQA certification for professionals who prove their knowledge in the standards and principles of auditing and the auditing techniques of examining, questioning, evaluating, and reporting to determine a quality system’s adequacy and deficiencies. The exam includes multiple-choice questions and case studies covering audit fundamentals, audit processes, audit competencies, quality tools and techniques, and more. Eligibility requirements include 8 years of related experience, 3 of which are in a decision-making role.
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in quality, industrial, or mechanical engineering. Some employers may prefer a master’s degree or PhD. Certification from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) can also be attractive to potential employers or those interested in career advancement. Successful quality engineers can advance to management roles and receive greater independence to design and evaluate projects and processes. From there, they can progress into executive roles.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 17-2112.02
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
According to the professional services firm, Accenture, several current trends will bring change to the field of quality engineering. One of these trends being the use of big data and applied analytics. With more companies finding ways to obtain data about their processes, quality engineers have more tools at their disposal to maintain efficiency and productivity. Also, it will be incumbent upon quality engineers to look at data collection systems and ensure the quality of the data collected versus the quantity.
Another trend in quality engineering is the use of machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI). These new programs will help optimize the tests quality engineers design. They’ll provide extra speed and accuracy, leading to even more sophisticated quality monitoring systems.
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