what is a test engineer?


Test engineers work creatively to design tests for products, materials, mechanical and electrical systems, procedures and software application. The tests serve as part of a company’s rigorous quality assurance program, and the engineers design tests for all types of products to identify trouble spots and fix them. The job requires new approaches to test product limits and a knowledge base about types of tests for different issues like increasing the speed of a device or software, making the product safer for consumers and cutting costs in the manufacturing process.

For a more detailed breakdown of the Test Engineer job description, click here.

different levels of experience

The qualifications for test engineer jobs vary considerably because test engineers often specialise in different areas. These areas include burn-in tests, tests involving PCB level processes like AXI, JTAG and ICT and system-level board function tests. Other types of testing include:

  • Ongoing reliability tests
  • Automated X-ray inspection tests
  • Tests to find the centre of gravity in a product
  • Optical inspection tests
  • Continuity tests
  • Tests of environmental stress susceptibility
  • Insulation tests
  • Vibration tests
  • Regression tests
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Highly accelerated product life tests


test engineer jobs

average salary of a test engineer

The salary for entry-level test engineers in the UK is around £36,000 and can go up to £57,000 for more experienced Test Engineers, according to Glassdoor. However, your actual salary depends on many factors such as willingness to work overtime, level and quality of your education and your company's location. You can also earn more with industry certifications.

certifications for test engineers

According to softwaretestinghelp.com, getting software testing certifications qualifies you for better paying jobs, makes your employment application more attractive to hiring managers and leads to professional growth. The top certifications for test engineers include:

  • Certified Associate in Software Testing, aka CAST
  • Certified Manager of Software Testing aka CMST
  • Certified Software Tester, aka CSTE
  • ISTQB Foundation Level
  • ISTQB Agile Tester Certification
  • ISTQB Advanced Level Test Analyst
  • Advanced Level Security Tester

types of test engineer

Two major types of testing engineers include quality assurance engineers and test engineers. QA engineers work on the production end by testing the quality of manufactured goods and software products. Test engineers look for ways to improve a product by designing tests of speed, durability, flexibility, ease of use and many other criteria. You can check out Randstad’s listings of test engineer jobs and QA engineer jobs for example of related jobs, specific salaries and other information. Some of the types of test engineers include:

  • Quality Analyst
  • Automation Engineer
  • Testing Analyst
  • Test Automation Developer
  • Test Architect
  • Test Manager
  • Senior Test Engineer
  • Director of Test
  • Quality Assurance Specialist

working as a test engineer

Test engineers design and implement tests that cover product over-the-top situations in an effort to discover a product’s limits. That requires a powerful commitment to use all your skills to test every aspect of mechanical products, electrical devices and software applications. Unlike many professionals, the work environment of test engineers can vary based on testing conditions.

Working with Randstad helps you find your dream career as a test engineer. The advantages of this highly remunerative career include a job satisfaction level that you can find in very few careers. Ideally, test engineers have an extraordinary level of curiosity and enjoy testing limits. Whether working in the IT industry or testing mechanical and electrical systems, you can scale your career with steady professional improvement to become lead tester or other more advanced positions.

test engineer job description

The duties and responsibilities of test engineers involve using creativity to think of unique ways to test products. The job requires a commitment to the testing process to test products across increasingly wide-ranging parameters, troubleshoot solutions for specific issues and write up reports in concisely worded but thorough reports on the final testing procedures. The specific duties and responsibilities of test engineers include the following:

  • Studying available documents and consumer research to understand what needs to be tested in a given product
  • Deciding how products should be tested
  • Performing the tests according to strict criteria and controls and documenting the results
  • Designing scripts, test plans, and scenarios as well as tests for quality control
  • Performing final tests to detect product weaknesses, strengths and opportunities for improvements
  • Troubleshooting any errors and streamlining the testing process
  • Writing up all the details of testing procedures for training quality control technicians to take over routine testing for quality assurance purposes

work environment

The work environment of test engineers usually matches that of other office professionals who work indoors. Offices are typically climate-controlled for comfort, and more and more offices recognise the benefits of supplying workers with ergonomic chairs and desks. Depending on where you test products, you might visit testing sites. These might not even be in the same city, so you can expect work in a different environment that includes company culture influences.

work schedule

In theory, you can work normal business hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, the excitement of creating a test and finding actionable information often inspires overtime work. Your clients often demand progress within limited timeframes, so you often find yourself working overtime. You frequently discover that normal includes 30% of your work as a test engineer. The remaining time demands your attention on urgent matters, meeting seemingly impossible deadlines and socialising with clients for their input.

Smiling male sitting down and looking away.
Smiling male sitting down and looking away.

education & skills

Test engineers work with computer hardware and software on a daily basis, so strong experience in using computers ranks as a major requirement. Testing products might be mechanical, electrical or software-related, so some experience in each area provides a big boost to your ability to get hired. The job usually requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field of computer technology, and more advanced degrees boost your appeal to hiring managers. You should also have curiosity, a strong interest in how things work and the ability to deconstruct products literally and metaphorically.

smiling female working in front of computer
smiling female working in front of computer

skills & competencies

The skills and competencies you need for a successful career as a test engineer include a working knowledge of tools, assembly methods and quality assurance processes. Previous experience working in quality control or quality assurance gives you a big advantage in this career.



Here are the most asked questions about working as a test engineer.


What is the difference between a QA engineer and a test engineer?

Test engineers design and administer software and product tests to find out how well the product performs. QA engineers work on the production of the product and design and perform quality control inspections while monitoring manufacturing processes.


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