How Much Do QA Engineers Make?
I want to take a moment to let you know how much QA Engineers make. QA Engineering is a very profitable career choice. My goal here is to let you know that by becoming a QA Engineer you can make a comparable salary to any developer out there.
In this post, I list out the different career options for QA Engineers and I display their salary range. The salaries all came from Glassdoor, so you can double check the numbers in the future.
Note this post contains affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use these links, but it helps to support this blog.
Game Tester Salary
$20k – $32k
Did you notice that the job title isn’t QA Engineer?
There are a lot of “testing” jobs out there that offer very low pay and are aimed towards younger employees. The employer just wants someone to come in to manually test the application.
This job is good for college kids trying to get a foot into the door of the software industry. And this is actually a good step towards becoming a QA Engineer. Typically the education and job skills requirements are pretty low.
Although expectations from your employer are low, you can take this opportunity to use good QA engineering practices to stand out from the rest of your peers.
If you want to learn about the basics of being a QA engineer, check out the course QA Guide to Web Application Testing for Beginners.
QA Engineer Salary
$46k – $110k
Now, this looks more promising!
At this point, you have either spent several years as a “tester”, got a degree, or a combination of both. You have some experience or skills to demand a higher pay.
The first thing you will notice is that they pay range is pretty wide. This is because QA Engineer roles are going to be DOE, dependent on experience. Obviously the more you have done or know, the more you will get paid.
Tenure = Higher Pay?
One common misconception is that number of years doing the job automatically gives you that higher pay. This is 100% incorrect. In the software industry, it is all about what you know and how well you can do it.
For example, I know many developers and QA engineers who have been doing the job for 15-20 years. However, I have seen them work with new employees with only 5 years of experience who can either keep up with them or run circles around them.
SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test)
$94k – $125k
This is the big leagues now!
I often refer to QA engineer’s aspiring for a $100k salary. This is the role that will get you there.
An SDET is basically a developer who does testing activities. You will need to know how to code!
Automation! Automation! Automation!
You will be using your development skills to write automated tests. Tests that can be run over and over again by the computer, not a human.
You will write tests for one or many of these:
- Front End
- Unit Tests
Want to learn to write Front End automated tests? Check out Website Automation Testing for Beginners with Protractor.
$73k – $140k
Be the boss!
The last career that I am listing is the manager role. Just like every other department, QA Engineers typically have a dedicated manager.
This is the one case where I believe tenure is going to improve your chances of getting the job.
I lead, so I don’t have to do
If you ever become a manager, please don’t become an “armchair general”. Don’t be that manager that just delegates the work but has no idea how things work or how to do the job.
A good manager is contributing to the team. Managers test stuff too. Managers code too.
The best managers I know are great at doing both the management role and the individual contributor role. Be that person!