Job Search

QA Engineer vs. Software Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in software engineering can be very rewarding. If you’re interested in this field, you may be wondering what the difference is between a QA engineer and a software engineer. Both positions require a high level of technical skills and knowledge, but there are some key differences between the two. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between QA engineers and software engineers, and we provide some tips for pursuing a career in software engineering.

What is a QA Engineer?

QA Engineers are responsible for ensuring the quality of software products before they are released to customers. They create and execute test plans to find software defects and bugs. QA Engineers work with software developers to identify and track software issues. They also create detailed reports of their findings and work with developers to resolve defects. QA Engineers may also be responsible for testing software products on different platforms to ensure compatibility.

What is a Software Engineer?

Software Engineers design, develop and test software programs. They work in various industries, including computer systems design, scientific research and information technology. They may specialize in developing specific applications or in designing custom software. Software Engineers typically create software using high-level programming languages. They also use software development tools to automate tasks, such as code testing and debugging. They often work in teams with other Software Engineers and may be responsible for supervising junior staff.

QA Engineer vs. Software Engineer

Here are the main differences between a QA engineer and a software engineer.

Job Duties

Both QA and software engineers work on the development of software programs, but their job duties differ. A QA engineer conducts tests to ensure a product functions properly before releasing it for public use. They may design test scenarios, execute them and analyze the results to identify any issues. Software engineers develop the actual programming code that forms the basis of an application or program. Their job duties include researching new coding languages, designing new systems or revising existing ones and testing completed products to ensure they works properly.

Job Requirements

QA engineers and software engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many QA engineers and software engineers pursue certifications through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society or the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use software development tools and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

QA engineers and software engineers typically work in different environments. QA engineers usually work for companies that manufacture products, such as pharmaceuticals or electronics. They may travel to the company’s manufacturing facilities to test their products. Software engineers often work in an office environment where they can collaborate with other developers on projects. Some software engineers also work remotely from home offices.


Both software engineers and QA engineers use analytical and problem-solving skills in their jobs. They also both need to have a strong understanding of computer science concepts, like algorithms, data structures and programming languages. However, there are several key differences in the skills each position requires.

Software engineers typically use their technical skills to design, develop and test new software programs. They also use communication skills when they collaborate with other engineers on projects or explain their code to non-technical staff members. Because they are responsible for creating new software, they also need to be creative in their approach to problem-solving.

QA engineers use their technical skills to test software programs to ensure they are functioning properly. They also use communication skills when they work with software developers to discuss issues they find in the code. In addition, QA engineers need to have attention to detail to catch all the errors in the software. They also need to be patient as they often have to repeat the same tests multiple times.


The average salary for a QA engineer is $82,083 per year, while the average salary for a software engineer is $106,619 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of company you work for, your level of experience and your location.


Deputy Director vs. Senior Director: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Account Manager vs. Account Supervisor: What Are the Differences?