Is There a Microsoft Quality Assurance (QA) Certification?

Learn about the quality assurance certifications that are compatible with Microsoft products and technology. Find information on credentialing organizations, as well as the education and experience you'll need to obtain your certification. Get info about recertification, too. Schools offering Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Software Quality Assurance Lead Do?

Software quality assurance (SQA) leads are responsible for making sure that software is ready for publication before it is released. This involves working with teams to come up with various ways they may test the software, then conducting the tests. During the tests, they keep records of how the software performs. They submit this report to developers and managers, along with suggestions regarding how the software may be improved. In some cases, they may even program solutions, such as creating software patches. Below, you can learn some details about this position

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education RequiredComputer science, software engineering
Key ResponsibilitiesDevelop various types of software, write code, ensure that programs function normally
Job Growth (2014-2024)*17% (all software developers)
Median Salary (2015)*$100,690 (all software developers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Microsoft Quality Assurance Certification Options

Being a recognized company in the computer industry and known for granting industry recognized certifications, Microsoft offers several credentials for its technologies. While you can earn certifications for specific software products, Microsoft does not offer a QA certification. There are comparable options available from other credentialing organizations that demonstrate general QA skills and expertise.

What Are Other Options for Certification?

Certifications in the QA field relevant to Microsoft products, software and technologies focus on general software engineering and quality control methods. Credentials for this profession don't focus on any one software vendor or manufacturer. If you choose to emphasize your expertise in Microsoft products, you can opt to pursue a Microsoft credential in conjunction with one of the following certification options.

QAI Global Institute

QAI Global Institute offers the Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA) certification (www.qaiglobalinstitute.com). This credential verifies your abilities in QA, reflecting a high level of competence in the principles and practices of the field. The certification is earned through testing on the Common Body of Knowledge, which includes the principles, concepts and models of QA. You're also tested on your leadership, assessment, planning and security control skills.

American Software Testing Qualifications Board

The American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) provides the Certified Tester certification at basic and the advanced levels (www.astqb.org). The Foundation Level (CTFL) certification tests your knowledge of applications and concepts of software testing. The Advanced Level (CTAL) certification requires at least three years' experience in the QA field and the CTFL certification.

International Institute for Software Testing

You can earn the Certified Test Master (CTM) certification through the International Institute for Software Testing (www.testinginstitute.com). This certification is an option if you are looking to enter a QA management position. The certification exam verifies your knowledge of testing principles, designs, management, troubleshooting methods and different types of testing methods.

American Society for Quality

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers Certified Quality Improvement Associate, Quality Auditor, Quality Engineer, Reliability Engineer and Software Quality Engineer credentials (www.asq.org). You'll need 2-8 years of experience and education related to the certification you choose to pursue. The exams cover QA basics and terminology, QA improvements and advancements, team work in the QA field, software engineering and customer relations.

What Education, Training or Experience Do I Need for Certification?

The requirements for each certification vary, but often include relevant experience and education in the field. Some credentialing organizations award points for education to be applied toward the experience requirements. Others allow you to substitute QA and management experience for required education. Usually, your experience and education must be completed within a specific time period prior to testing for certification. In some cases, you might be recommended or required to participate in proprietary training offered through the certifying organization.

You can choose to earn an associate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in a number of fields to prepare for certification and meet educational requirements. Some relevant programs include computer science, software engineering, quality management or software quality control. You can find schools that offer courses fully and partially online so that you can study around your work schedule.

Do Certifications Expire?

Some certifications expire and some may be granted as life-long certifications. For example, the International Institute for Software Testing's CTM certification is only valid for three years, and you'll need to complete continuing education and proof of experience within your certification period to recertify. The Quality Improvement Associate credential conferred by ASQ does not expire, though you'll need to participate in approved training and activities or retake the certification exam for other ASQ credentials. Recertification generally demonstrates that your QA knowledge and skills are up-to-date and exhibits your commitment to career development.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Software developers create the individual components of software and then assemble them into a cohesive program. They may either create applications software, such as word processors, spreadsheets or video games, or they may create systems software that computer systems and networks depend on to function. Computer programmers create the codes that computers use to run these software programs. In all of these careers, professionals usually test their work before passing it on, much like QA workers do. To get started in these careers, individuals need a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as computer science.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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