Quality engineering is the discipline of engineering concerned with the principles and practice of product and service quality assurance and control
For software development companies, a quality engineer ensures the management, development, operation, and maintenance of IT systems and enterprise systems maintain a high-quality standard.
The role is also essential for optimizing product quality, as defined by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
The field of quality assurance in the United States was in direct response to a quality revolution in Japan following World War II. Japanese manufacturers converted from producing military goods for internal use to producing civilian goods for trade.
At first, the reputation of exported Japanese products was not good, and their goods were shunned by international markets. This led Japanese organizations to explore new ways of thinking about quality, implementing a “total quality” approach by changing the focus from improving products to improving organizational processes.
Now, quality assurance is part of most companies that are building products, including digital products and services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected employment and the job market. While it has radically upended life as was previously known in almost every way, there are renewed efforts at work that are frantically working to return businesses and institutions to what was once considered to be normal as quickly as possible – or at least to what will become the ‘new normal’.
2021 has seen a mix of responses as economies start to open up once again now that the distribution of the vaccine has increased. There is much to be hopeful about. The role of the quality engineer will continue to be important in helping companies—big and small—to prepare for the future as they learn new technologies and utilize them to stay afloat and even get ahead.
Early on in the pandemic, the field of engineering was impacted fairly significantly. However, experts projected that the fall out would be relatively short-lived
One prediction is that while quality engineers were already embracing the use of technology in their field and work, the global pandemic—like many impacted industries —will rapidly adopt the use of artificial intelligence (AI) as a response to the pandemic.
The hiring of a quality engineer can affect both your existing team and your bottom line. A great one will be drawn to details, help with delegation, and help with communication internally and externally. In essence, an expert in this role can help your company by simply living up to their title by ensuring that completed work meets set standards for quality from end-to-end.
Quality engineers often evaluate products and services through testing and statistical analysis. Companies try to create new and improved products and services; quality engineers help in this process by checking for efficiency and quality while still helping companies maintain competitive prices.
Quality engineers problem-solve and communicate possible solutions to improve the quality of a range of products. They also must work with a wide range of staff members, including design, development, and/or manufacturing process of products, in order to discuss improvements and ways to implement changes.
Organizations that are committed to producing high-quality products employ quality engineers to manage the production process. Ultimately, they ensure a company’s production lines work efficiently and effectively to satisfy their customers.
Specific quality engineer responsibilities may include tasks like:
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Quality engineers must have a background in engineering. To get started, associate’s degree programs in engineering are available, but most engineers, including industrial and quality engineers, need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Aspiring quality engineers can pursue a degree in industrial engineering. Some industrial engineering programs may offer a minor in quality engineering.
Although it may not be required, master’s degree programs in quality engineering are more common. These programs are usually offered as Master of Science (MS) degrees and may be available in online formats
The American Society for Quality (ASQ) also provides Quality Engineer Certification (CQE). To qualify, students need to have at least 8 years of work experience. Some work experience may be replaced with education. For example, those with a bachelor’s degree can waive 4 years of work experience, while those with a master’s degree can waive 5 years of experience. This professional certification may allow quality engineers to advance their careers and/or demonstrate competency in decision-making and quality evaluation and control.
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There was already a shortage of skilled engineering professionals before the global pandemic and recession of 2020. As things open up, there will be all the more need for skilled quality engineers, thus the economic principle of supply and demand will likely lead to salaries continuing to increase.
Nationally, annual compensation ranges between $61,000 for entry-level and $154,000 for seasoned quality engineers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,067,000 quality engineers (also classified as industrial engineers) employed in 2019, with just 11.4% of those employed being women. It is estimated the 15.6% are Asian, 5.6% Black or African American, 8.5% Hispanic or Latino, and 76.7% are white.
The median annual wage for quality engineers was $106,000 compared with $94,500, the median annual wage for all engineers.
For more detailed compensation information for quality engineers in [city_name], download our free compensation/salary report below.
The average annual salary for quality engineers in Washington was 104k in 2019. The hourly wage averaged $50.05.
For more detailed compensation information for quality engineers in Tacoma, download our free compensation/salary report below.
Tacoma is a picturesque city in Washington on the banks of Puget Sound, located just north of its neighbor and “big sister” Seattle. But Tacoma is definitely a city with its own identity. Due to its thriving job market and progressive culture, Tacoma is also known as the City of Destiny.
Its natural beauty, ocean-front location, focus on arts and culture, and its proximity to the impressive Mount Ranier give Tacoma a ton of character.
Here are a few additional “pros” for living and working in Tacoma.
While there are many good things people report about living and working in Tacoma, there are a few complaints.
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In quality engineering, objectives are implemented in a collaborative process. This process requires the interaction of largely independent actors whose knowledge is based on different sources of information. Making a quality hire for your quality engineering openings should be front and center for your company as you think about moving forward.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not report the specific job outlook for quality engineers but did report a job outlook for the broader category of industrial engineers. These engineers had a job outlook of 8% from 2018 to 2028, almost double the outlook for all jobs overall (4%).
The supply of candidates and demand for open positions have a direct correlation to a company's ability to hire. Download a free Supply and Demand report for quality engineers in Tacoma, Washington below.
Finding and hiring the best quality engineer candidates can save you money right away and well into the future.
The costs of making a bad hire are well documented. The cost can run as much as 30% of the employee's first-year earnings according to the US Department of Labor. Bad hires can cost a whopping $240,000 in expenses related to hiring, compensation, and retention per The Undercover Recruiter. 74% of companies who admit they've hired the wrong person for a position lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire according to CareerBuilder. These statistics support our long-held position that behavioral questions are the best way to get to know your candidates and past behavior is the best indicator of future performance.
The information below comes from the best practices Amtec uses for finding the highest quality candidates.
When defining the role you are creating, we recommend a position profile to fully evaluate the position you are hiring for. You must decide if the engineer can work remotely or must work in Washington. If working in Tacoma is essential, make sure you include that in your job posting so candidates can decide how many miles they can commute.
When you are looking to source the best quality candidates for your open positions, make sure you have done the legwork to hire an "A Player". You can do this by making sure your company's perspective is aligned with the current market, you have taken into account the job responsibilities, as well as what type of characteristics you are looking for to fit your company culture. Then proceed to write a job posting to attract high-quality candidates.
Quality engineering is a field that is evolving as products and manufacturing become more complex. And in the field, there are specializations and nuances. The lack of understanding of the subtle differences in skillsets and the latest technology can cause recruiters to misidentify candidates and as a result, create a backlog in hiring.
You wrote a job posting, posted the position online, and received a lot more resumes than you’d bargained for! Next comes the enormous task of sorting through those resumes to eliminate the ones that are clearly not a good fit. Now, you have a stack of resumes for candidates who have potential. So how do you go about screening the remaining candidates?
It starts on the phone! As a recruiter, the goal of your telephone screening is to learn more about your candidates. You can confirm that they have the educational qualifications and relevant experience, but you also need to determine if they would fit into your company's culture. To make this job easier, use a system to consistently evaluate results. This way you can equally and objectively compare candidates and evaluate their "soft skills", like communication and thinking process. Download Amtec's Professional Assessment Questionnaire below to help with screening candidates.
An individually customized questionnaire that helps assess a candidate's competence with written communication skills, thinking processes, and other relevant skills.
At Amtec, we believe in the power of behavoral interview questions to go beyond the experience and skills listed on the candidate's resume. Although you will want to confirm in the interview that the candidate does indeed have the experience listed on their resume, your assessment needs to go much deeper than that. An interview using behavioral questions can help you determine how well the candidate will fit with your company culture.
Download Amtec's best practices on conducting super effective interviews to find the best candidates and fill your open jobs.
Get the info you need to hire the best quality engineersFree Interview Guide