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6 Essential Roles Your QA Teams Needs

This is probably going to rough some feathers, but — QA teams are the backbone of the IT industry. Yet, most of their key players are kept in the shadows.Think of them as software ninjas, having their impact echo throughout the industry but often being unrecognized, even when their contribution to software development is crucial.
Daniel Zacharias

Code Power Team

January 22, 2024

The six QA ninjas you need

This is probably going to rough some feathers, but — QA teams are the backbone of the IT industry. Yet, most of their key players are kept in the shadows. Think of them as software ninjas, having their impact echo throughout the industry but often being unrecognized, even when their contribution to software development is crucial. 

That’s why you can’t tackle development projects without a proper QA team. What would that team look like? While there aren’t exact recipes, the following are the six QA ninjas every successful QA team has in their ranks

1. The data wizard: QA data analyst

The role of a QA data analyst isn’t just about making sense of enormous amounts of data. It’s about turning that raw data into strategic gold. 

From my own experience in the trenches of IT projects, I’ve seen these analysts transform nebulous numbers into navigational charts, guiding teams through the murky waters of software testing despite having the numbers against them. One case that stuck with me was when I was involved in a complex software project plagued by elusive bugs. It felt like absolute chaos to hunt all of them out!

But thanks to our QA data analyst, who dissected layers of test results and revealed patterns that were invisible, we got rid of every single bug. They also completely overhauled our testing strategy so the past doesn’t repeat itself. 

That isn’t the only thing that QA data analysts excel at. They also shine at: 

  • Predicting trends. Many QA data analysts have that sixth sense of foreseeing performance bottlenecks long before they became critical. Sometimes I think they have some sort of a crystal ball behind their computer.
  • Great at finding opportunities. By analyzing user interaction data during testing phases, they almost always uncover hidden user needs, paving the way for innovative features in the future.
  • Pros at feedback loops. QA data analysts are the maestros of feedback loops. No one does it better in a whole QA team than they do. The QA data analyst I worked with quickly established a feedback loop using real-time user feedback, quickly identifying and resolving a critical navigation issue, enhancing overall user satisfaction.

2. The main process guy: QA process engineer

QA process engineer isn’t your status-quo, uni-level software engineer. They are something completely else.

I like to call them the process gurus and that’s for a reason. Right from the bat, they easily find what QA process could be done more efficiently and won’t stop until even the tiniest process has been dissected and reassembled to absolute perfection. The end result is a more streamlined process, free of redundancies.

But that’s not their only virtue. QA process engineers are also good at: 

  • Standardizing procedures. Testing protocols are chaotic in nature, and if you’ve been in the industry as long as I have, you have two choices — deal with the chaos or get a QA process engineer who’ll save you by creating a standardized testing protocol, zeroing test result variability, and ensuring consistency.
  • Matching methodologies with existing frameworks. It’s one of their God-given talents, and I love that side of them so much! They are always on the lookout for new trends and tools and always finding ways to incorporate them into their already existing process. It’s like trying to figure out how to put puzzle pieces together in 4D while keeping that continuous integration as their North Star.
  • Efficiency optimization — their second nature. For instance, by automating a repetitive manual testing process, the QA process engineer in our team saved us hundreds of man-hours, redirecting these resources to more critical areas of the project without breaking a sweat! 

3. The compliance watchdog: QA regulatory specialist

There’s a reason why they call them the watchdogs of QA — Their primary role is to ensure that every phase of the software development process adheres to the relevant legal and regulatory requirements. 

Building software in healthcare or fintech industries where non-compliance has significant legal ramifications, your safest bet is getting a QA regulatory specialist on board your ship. For example, a QA regulatory specialist in one of our healthcare projects was the main guy for aligning our software with stringent HIPAA regulations, thereby safeguarding patient data and ensuring market compliance.

Crunching regulatory norms isn’t their main specialty. They also excel at: 

  • Keeping the whole team up to date with changing regulatory landscapes. Imagine finishing a project that aligns with one regulation only to realize it won’t comply, thanks to the new rolling regulations update — a pure QA hell! To avoid that, QA regulatory specialists translate the complex regulations into actionable guidelines and points the development team easily understands and follows. 
  • Professionals at audit preparation and response. They are also famous for taking charge in preparing for external audits and are pivotal in addressing any findings or discrepancies. Their thoroughness and attention to detail in these scenarios are what keeps your project from becoming a new PR fiasco! 

4. The toolsmith: QA software tool developer

Picture this: You’re testing out your project only to realize that your current testing tools only probe and test half of the requirements you need them to achieve. Meanwhile, current testing tools aren’t cutting it and you’re tight on the deadline!

Don’t panic. You need to turn to your QA toolsmith — the QA software tool developer. Their role is creating and maintaining custom-made testing tools addressing unique testing challenges. It’s something I’ve witnessed transform QA processes from routine to remarkable within hours.

Their tool-crafting skills don’t just stop there. They also create: 

  • Improve current testing tools with daily upkeep. This includes updating them to adapt to new testing scenarios or integrating new features to enhance functionality. They have that special ability to iterate and evolve tools in response to feedback, which is how you achieve premium effectiveness in the QA process.
  • Innovation is their BFF. Similar to QA watchdogs, toolsmiths have that special hidden talent of seeing the trends and morphing them into existing tools to create new innovative custom-made testing gear.

5. The environment architect: QA infrastructure engineer

For every well-kept software or hardware environment you can thank one guy — The QA infrastructure engineer a.k.a the environment architect. 

Their expertise in designing and maintaining both hardware and software environments is crucial for the success of any testing process. The efficiency and accuracy of your testing are often directly linked to the quality of the environment set up by these professionals. Without them, the whole system crumbles like a house of cards!

If you have ever watched The Matrix — who didn’t — the QA infrastructure engineer is that gray-bearded guy who created the whole Matrix artificial world, closely mimicking the real world. This involves setting up servers, databases, and network systems that replicate the conditions under which the software will operate post-deployment. 

They are also the ones that stop the post-deployment catastrophes before they even happen. Besides that, they are also masters of:

  • Keeping “The Matrix” updated. They are responsible for maintaining and updating any testing environment that’s related to the project. They ensure that all components are functioning optimally and are up-to-date, which is vital for the reliability of test results.
  • Transforming The Matrix into Fort Knox. Updating a testing environment is one thing, but keeping it secure like Fort Knox and scalable is a completely different beast. They design systems that scale up to meet increasing load demands and incorporate security measures to protect sensitive data during testing.

6. The risk assessor: QA security analyst

A QA security analyst is like your hardcore Fort Knox gatekeeper. No risk or security glitch will go past them. Period!

Their role in identifying and mitigating security risks isn’t just a facet of quality assurance. It’s a cornerstone of modern-day product integrity and user trust. What’s more, the importance of these QA professionals has grown exponentially with the increasing complexity of cyber threats.

They are like the Red team — probing the system, searching for vulnerabilities that could be exploited before they actually do. They’re equipped like Mr. Gadget with numerous tools and techniques, from penetration testing to vulnerability scanning, all for the result of finding a potential security flaw.

Besides their testing skills, they are also masters of devising strategies to mitigate these vulnerabilities. They work closely with developers to patch weaknesses and fortify the software’s defenses. That could mean a complete key feature redesign or integration of a new security protocol.

Conclusion: Building the magnificent QA 6

Here’s the catch — The expertise of these QA team members isn’t just an asset. Quickly, you’ll find out that it’s a necessity in navigating the complexities of today’s tech landscape. 

From the strategic data analysts to the vigilant security analysts — every QA team wouldn’t be complete without them! They bring not just skills, but a vision for excellence, turning challenges into opportunities for innovation and efficiency modern-day software desperately needs. 

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