Becoming a Software Test Engineer

Software Test Engineer Certifications

One of the methods of becoming a software test engineer, regardless of your prior education, is to become certified as a software test engineer. Software test engineering certification is especially beneficial for those with degrees in other fields of engineer, management of information systems and other technical fields that may not be recognized by employers seeking test engineers.

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board or ISTQB is one of the major software testing professional certification groups. The International Software Testing Qualifications Board has certifications for test analysts and test managers. The ISTQB has expert level tests in test management, test automation and security testing. A competing certification is the Certified Software Test Engineer certificate offered by the Quality Assurance Institute.

Software test engineers with a background in software quality assurance can earn the Certified Software Engineer or CSQE certification. The CSQE certification is offered by the American Society for Quality.

Software test engineers who want to become test managers may choose to earn the Certified Software Project Management or CSPM certification offered by the Quality Assurance Institute.

In the UK, students can choose to earn the ISEB Foundation Certificate in Software Testing. The UK ISEB is supported by the ISTQB.

Potential Career Paths for Software Test Engineers

According to Career Opportunities in the Internet, Video Games, and Multimedia by T. Allan Taylor and James Parish, software test engineers start at around $55,000. Experienced software engineers performing software testing earn anywhere from $73,000 to $110,000 a year. Salaries rise with experience, areas of expertise and professional certification.

Software test engineers may become software test analysts or technical test analysts. They could write software test procedures, test cases and system documentation. They can become software test managers coordinating software testing performed by other software test engineers.

Integration, validation and verification is the process of testing a fully assembled item like a weather radar array or helicopter to ensure that all components work correctly, software installed on each unit correctly sends and receives command and that data received by sensors is properly received and processed by command and control systems and user interfaces. Software test engineers occasionally come from a software quality assurance background.

Software test engineers should use a standard set of test documents that are under configuration control. Software test engineers often have to link test documentation and test reports to requirements documentation and related documents. Test engineers can become software configuration managers and software change review board members.


1. The Software Test Engineer's Handbook by Graham Bath and Judy McKay

2. Essentials of Software Engineering by Frank Tsui and Orlando Karam

3. Career Opportunities in the Internet, Video Games, and Multimedia by T. Allan Taylor and James Robert Parish

4. Istqb Certification Study Guide, 2008 Ed by K.V.K.K. Prasad

5. Introduction to Software Testing by Paul Ammann and Jeff Offutt

6. Code Complete by Steve McConnell