Duties and responsibilities
A test engineer is responsible for designing and implementing the tests that ensure the quality and the functionality of a product. They are involve in all phases of the testing program, from designing the test parameters to troubleshooting errors and writing up the final test procedures. As well as this, their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Meeting with the product design team to determine product testing parameters
- Writing test plans and creating test cases for the product
- Conducting quality assurance
- Troubleshooting any errors and streamlining the testing procedures
- Writing up the final QA and test procedures for the quality technicians
- Training the quality assurance staff and providing technical support when needed
- Preparing test reports for management
Like all other engineers, test engineers will need a bachelor’s degree in engineering (preferably mechanical engineering) from an ABET-accredited program. To obtain licensure, test engineers will need to pass several exams, participate in internships and obtain work experience. Many test engineers will go on to achieve a masters degree as this will allow them to enter high paying management positions.
Skills and relevant work experience
Test engineers will learn many skills through their education and on-the-job training. As well as this, they will need skills such as:
- Problem-solving skills, as test engineers will need to troubleshoot and fix a whole range of mechanical problems
- Communication skills, as test engineers must work with, and communicate with, other professionals
- Leadership skills, as test engineers need to oversee operations and must manage costs and time constraints
- Analytical skills, as test engineers must be able to use advanced techniques to research and solve problems with equipment
Test engineers are likely to work full time hours (40 hours per week). However, they may have to work overtime when emergencies occur.
According to salary.com, the median annual salary for a test engineer in the United States is $70,228. At the lower end, test engineers can expect to earn around $57,886 per year. Whereas, at the upper end, test engineers earned over $82,527 per year.
By obtaining a masters degree, test engineers will have lots more opportunities. With more experience, test engineers may develop into management conditions where they will become responsible for supervising a team of other engineers and technicians. They may also progress into project management, consultancy, research and lecturing roles.