How to Hire a Software QA Professional

How to Hire a Software QA Professional

So you’ve finally reached a place in your software development cycle where you can bring in professional QA. Good for you! That is a huge milestone and should be celebrated accordingly. However, it can be daunting once you start searching for the right software tester. There are so many types and specialties. How do you know exactly what your project needs and how do you make sure you hire someone qualified for the position?

Below are the most common types of Software QA Professionals hired for mobile app and website development projects.

Software QA Engineer (Junior/Senior)

Most likely, you will be looking to hire a Software QA Engineer.

  • Wide range of knowledge and expertise
  • Can handle your day to day testing needs
  • Some even have basic coding skills
  • May be able to perform test automation
  • Responsible for reviewing quality specs and tech design documents
  • Will provide timely and meaningful feedback about your project
  • Creates detailed, comprehensive and well-structured test plans and test cases
  • Performs estimating, prioritizing, planning and coordinates quality testing activities

You can expect their hourly rate to range from $20 – $50/hr.

Software QA Consultant/Expert

If you are only looking for someone to help you get processes in place, then you most likely just need a consultant.

A QA Consultant/Expert will help you:

  • Get QA processes in place
  • Develop quality assurance, compliance, and implementation plans
  • Advise function leaders on best practices for the deployment of QA methodologies and processes
  • Design and incorporate plans for each function that drive quality service and product deliverables
  • Responsible for establishing a performance monitoring program and designs metrics that can be used to identify quality issues, analyze problems, and develop quality improvement initiatives
  • Frequently train staff on quality concepts, objectives, tools, and processes
  • This position generally reports to the head of the work group.

You can expect their hourly rate to range from $40 – $90/hr.

Software Automation Engineer (Junior/Senior)

There are two types of Automation Engineers: Build and Maintenance. Builders code the scripts that run the test automation whereas the Maintenance Engineers simply maintain an existing system and occasionally write a new script for a new test case.

Automation Engineers must be:

  • Familiar with and able to execute full lifecycle software development
  • Able to program well-designed, testable, efficient code
  • Able to produce specifications and determine operational feasibility
  • Generally, have manual testing skills and can write test plans and test cases, as needed
  • Able to troubleshoot issues as they arise and document any bugs or defects that need to be reported
  • Familiar with common coding languages and can develop new coding frameworks

You can expect their hourly rate to range from $25 – $60/hr.

What type of testing do you need?

Laptop computer

Manual vs Automated

The buzzword around the water cooler these days is “test automation”. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to automate, automate, automate. In theory, it sounds pretty great to automate all of your testing, but in order to do that, you need a stable product and test cases, which you probably don’t have right now. If this is your first go-round with QA, automation probably isn’t the best option for you to start with, but don’t worry, we’ll get you to a place where you can automate to your heart’s content soon.

When you have a brand new app or website, or maybe a new major feature added to your product, the best type of testing is almost always ad-hoc (LINK) testing. Ad-hoc testing lets the tester navigate around with no constraints using your app or website as a normal user would. Then they start the process over and just try to break it.

Typically, the first few passes of ad-hoc testing will generate a lot of bugs. This is completely normal and to be expected. You don’t need a Software QA Consultant/Expert to run these types of tests. Someone with a couple years of experience could handle a job like this.

If you are interested in implementing QA standards and protocols into your project or company, you may want to consider hiring a QA Consultant to guide you along the way. They can handle setting up any test management systems such as JIRA or Clubhouse as well as making sure your project deliverables are QA ready. QA Consultants are also great at helping you get organized so if your project is not exactly orderly, they can help you straighten that out.


Having an organized project isn’t only for the QA team. It helps everyone on the project become more efficient in their daily work. It also minimizes stress and anxiety.

Once your team has fixed all the bugs found during the first round of ad-hoc testing, then you need to decide whether you want your QA to write test cases. Writing test cases takes time and resources. If you plan to automate your testing at some point, then you will want to move forward with that. If you have no plans on automating, then you need to weigh the pros and cons.

Thinking businessman with speech bubbles choosing an option between yes and no. Choice problem and decision concept.
Weighing the pros and cons of test cases

Pros and Cons of Test Cases

  • PRO – The functionality of your product will be documented
  • PRO – Anyone can join your QA team and start testing your product via the test cases
  • PRO – In order to automate, you’ll need at least a baseline of test cases
  • PRO – Test cases give you a good idea of what needs to be tested
  • CON – Any updates to functionality requires an update to all affected test cases
  • CON – While QA is writing the test cases, they can’t perform the daily regression testing
  • CON – Test cases are time-consuming
  • CON – Once familiar with the product, test cases are time-consuming for testers to run

How Long Will It Take?

For a new, medium-sized project, you can expect a timeline similar to the following:

  • Ad-hoc Testing – 2 – 4 weeks
  • Test Case Writing – 2 – 6 weeks
  • Test Automation – 3 – 12 months
  • Regression Testing – Daily or As Needed

You might be thinking “WHAT! I don’t have 2 – 4 months for QA!!”. Been there, done that. QA is always the last one invited to the party so we always get our time squeezed from weeks down to days. Any good QA Engineer can test a new project in 24 – 48 hours with the understanding that the project will only be MVP ready. Especially if it is a large project. So how do you give your QA team more time to test? Glad you asked.

Black and white clock
How do you give your QA more time?

Ways to give QA more time

Deploy features as soon as they’re ready

Even if everything else around it is still in development, if a feature is “testable”, let’er rip. Just give your QA the heads up that certain aspects are still under development then let them test what’s finished. Trust me, this helps cut down on the overall test time by a LOT! Testing each feature as it becomes available saves so much time. Then when everything is ready, QA just has to run a quick sniff test to verify that all of the pieces and parts work in conjunction and we’re golden.

Give QA written requirements

I can feel the eye roll I just got from that statement from here. Yes, yes, yes. I know that DEV is allergic to written anything, but dude, having written requirements saves everyone SO much time and frustration. Having documentation allows QA to start writing test cases while DEV is still in development! There may need to be a couple tweaks or so to final screenshots but the overall functionality will be captured, so once the assets start getting released over to QA, the test cases are ready and waiting. Also, DEV really doesn’t have to do much of the documenting if the UI/UX/Design team does their job. They should actually be the ones creating the requirements since they are the ones dreaming up this beautiful new piece of lovejoy. Feel me?

Automate me, baby

Remember that timeline I gave you? Well, you can throw it out the window now that you were good boy’s and girl’s and did your homework. Once you get through the ad-hoc testing phase and the product is stable, you can hand everything over to your automation team and let them start automating everything. For sanity sake, I would have your QA team run through the test cases at least once to make sure they are accurate and valid.

Also, a note about test cases. It is almost impossible to capture every single possible scenario in a test case. You’re always going to be adding to your list. Just remember to notify your automation team when you make edits or additions to the code base and functionality list. One other thing, if the DEV guys go mucking around and change the functionality on a feature, you’re gonna have to update all of your test cases: both manual and automated. Just keep that in mind.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the type of software tester you need to hire. As luck would have it, I happen to have a few that would love to help you out on your project. I’m what you would call a QA Expert and I have a passion for excellence. I am personally invested in the success of every one of my clients. Your success is my success, so I only provide you with the highest quality QA professionals in the industry.

I would love to hear about your unique situation and see if I can lend a hand with one of my uber talented QA freelancers.

Time is money, and I know you’re busy, so let’s schedule a quick 15-minute call to chat more about your situation.

Book your free consultation here: Free 15-minute consultation

About VLG Ventures

VLG Ventures is a full-service Software QA staffing agency specializing in meeting the QA staffing needs of companies in the tech industry. We diligently recruit, screen, and hire top-rated QA freelancers for local and national companies, providing temporary, temp-to-hire, and permanent contracts based on customer needs.

We help our clients focus on their business by providing a turnkey staffing service. We handle all of the work associated with finding and screening candidates for your openings and even handle payroll for temp and temp-to-hire employees. VLG Ventures’s clients know that their positions will be filled with the industries brightest minds and elite professionals giving them peace of mind to focus on operations.

Come join our team! We believe in rewarding loyalty and excellent service! Our freelancers become eligible for performance bonuses after 90 days of continuous service with our clients. Because exemplary service should be recognized and rewarded.

Veronica Glynn

Veronica has spent over 15 years as a Software QA Engineer with over 6 years as an Upwork freelancer. She has both manual and automated testing experience but her true passion lies in helping others. She is passionate about helping start-ups achieve their dreams and goals and believes that their success is her success. Her claim to fame is being able to spot other highly skilled and passionate QA professionals and connecting them with the right client. When she is not working, you may find her in the middle of a home improvement DIY project, a quilting project, woodworking, gardening, interior design project, yoga, working out, yard work, volunteering, or one of her other many projects.

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