How hard is it to go from software engineer to QA engineer?

Hi everyone! :two_hearts::blush:

After working as a software developer for over 2 years I’ve decided that QA Engineering is more what I want to do for my career. I have a goal of getting a new job by the end of the year in QA, but I want to know how realistic this is. :grimacing:

I’ve done some tests before of course since I’ve mainly worked at startups with no QA team. I also have a BS in Computer Science.

Is this a common move? Would QA teams be willing to bring in a software developer with QA experience writing tests? Would it raise or hurt my chances? Thank you all in advance! :two_hearts::sparkling_heart::sparkles:


Welcome to the most awesome software quality community on the entire world wide web Brianna.

As, someone who has played on both sides of this fence for a dozen years each way, I would naturally not remember the pain. But conceptually we are like the football team strikers and the backline, merely team members who can swap hats when the need arises. The most work is probably in the mental model transition and in the responsibility you take moving slightly. It’s also a role that requires even better communication skills, or soft skills, so there is that side to it too, not just in the coding skills shift you will have to make from using statically or strongly typed languages in your day-to-day and moving to a different scale of coding. Bring as much of your skills with you, and good luck.


Yes, moving from software development to QA can be a common move. In fact, development experience can be very valuable in QA because it gives you an understanding of how and why software is created and how it should work. It can help you create better tests and a better understanding of possible problems in the application. Additionally, development experience can give you an advantage when considering jobs in QA, as you may end up being a more qualified candidate, able to work more independently and efficiently than other candidates without that experience.


I believe as a developer, your transition to QA may be easier for roles of Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET), QA automation engineer, or test tools engineer, to work on test frameworks, tools, and/or test automation, since you already have the coding and development skills those roles require or prefer. If you start with those roles, you can then explore other paths within QA as you please over time and build experience in other areas of QA.

The only hesitation the hiring team may have for you would be any potential lack of formal testing experience on the job if that mattered to them, which may be less likely in the roles I suggested to you. And you’d probably have more luck applying to a company that is in need of more developer-centric QA engineers or a startup that is short staffed, to start your QA career.


Welcome to the community!

I think you’re going to have an advantage, as testing becomes more complicated with time and tools become more engineering heavy. That being said you’re going to be fine: there are a lot of other intrapersonal skills in Software engineering and QA that overlap. It’s not all about knowing how to code.
I suggest reading around the forums - there are a lot of guides - and get familiar with the most important tools before you start your interview journey!


Its exactly what I did many years ago. Well to be clear I went from Accounts Clerk - IT Support - Software Developer - QA . I have no doubt my depth of career path (all an accident) was a huge benefit - to businesses, teams and myself.
Specifically, the journey from software dev to QA was all in the same company and happened when there was a restructure and I was asked to manage another team after being a dev manager for 3 years. Didn’t feel comfortable with as it was more about Quality Admin and less to do with the testing. Then as that went well, they asked me to lead the QA team as well. I got my hands dirty with some testing and understanding test processes and I found it made perfect sense and very quickly felt this was where I should be.
So for you, I think QA teams would look at your kind of experience, look at the insight and experience you can add to the team. There is your development skills that could be utilised obviously but also your insight in working day to day with developers which would no enhance thinking around testing and also relaying information between teams. So quite simply, go for it.


I don’t see how a development background could hurt your chances. It’s good to already be familiar with parts of the new role.
I wouldn’t see you as a trained tester though. You could be hired for a junior position and trained on the job. Testing as a developer is something different in my experience, especially because you didn’t work together with any QAs in your previous jobs. Testing is a different mindset. Revealing issues in other peoples’ code can also require certain soft skills. From what I heard your salary might not be as good in QA compared to Dev.
Maybe this would be an interesting thread to read: Perceptions about software testing

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