How Do I Earn a Certification in Software Quality Assurance?

To earn software quality assurance certification, you need to meet education and experience requirements and pass an exam or series of exams. Read on to find out more about such certifications and the steps to take in order to earn them. Schools offering Software Development & Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Quality Assurance Certification Overview

For those who work in the information technology (IT) field, software quality assurance certification can be a valuable addition to your resume. It provides proof of your level of competence in the standards and practices of the IT quality assurance industry, and it may result in career advancement. Several different types and levels of certification are available through organizations such as the QAI Global Institute and the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

Important Facts About a Career as a Software Quality Engineer

Similar OccupationsProject manager, quality manager, information technology manager, quality assurance manager, quality control manager
Key SkillsCommunication, multi-tasking, analytical, and problem-solving
SpecializationsSoftware Quality Engineers may be asked to specialize in several different operating systems and programming languages
Median Salary (2018) $90,270* (for Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 5-9%* (for Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Associate in Software Quality

The Certified Associate in Software Quality (CASQ) designation is a foundational certification in software quality assurance. A prerequisite for this certification is a minimum of three years job experience in the field of information services or a 3- or 4-year college degree in a related field. Education and experience can also be combined in the form of a 2-year degree and one year of job experience.

After submitting an initial application and paying a fee of $100, you become eligible to sit for the CASQ examination, consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions. The scores for each section are averaged and must come to at least 70% to pass.

Certified Software Quality Analyst

Conceived as the next step after the CASQ (though it isn't required), the Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA) designation tests an individual's understanding of the basic practices and principles in quality assurance. Unlike the CASQ, which can be earned with only education prerequisites, the CSQA requires at least two years of on-the-job experience. If you don't have a college degree, you need to have worked in information services for six years, and you must have worked in software quality assurance within the last 18 months.

The CSQA also requires submission of an initial application, but the fee is between $350-$420. The test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and 12 essay questions. Again, all scores are averaged, and the average must equal at least 70% for you to pass.

Certified Manager of Software Quality

The highest level of certification offered through QAI Global Institute is the Certified Manager of Software Quality (CMSQ) designation, which tests your managerial capabilities and competencies in software quality assurance. Although it is not required, the QAI Global Institute strongly recommends that you have an active CSQA certification before seeking CMSQ certification. You must also have a bachelor's degree and four years of job experience, an associate's degree and six years of job experience or a full eight years of job experience.

The initial application fee is $450, and the exam consists of 12 essay questions that test your practical knowledge on the planning, execution, assurance functions, leadership aspect of quality, and communication and relationships.

Certified Software Quality Engineer

The Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE) certification, offered by the ASQ, is another upper-level designation similar to the CMSQ. It also requires eight years of professional experience. For at least three of the years, the applicant must have held a management or supervisory position where he or she controlled projects and was accountable for the results. This can be reduced by one year with a diploma, two years with an associate's degree, four years with a bachelor's degree and five years with a graduate degree.

The CMSQ exam consists of 160 multiple-choice questions. As with the CMSQ, you must recertify every three years, which involves earning recertification units by participating in various professional activities like taking a course, attending a meeting or teaching.

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