Learning Software QA Engineering and Testing in 2024

Entering the field of Software Quality Assurance can feel like stepping into an endless pool of tools, techniques, approaches, methodologies, procedures, and technologies. However, it might be not that scary but it’s not an easy task! This article aims to guide you through this maze, offering insights, practical advice, and examples of resources to set you on the path to success in Software QA and Testing.

The Essentials

A strong foundation in QA fundamentals is crucial for any QA engineer or tester. Understanding the SDLC, testing methodologies, and different types of testing (e.g., functional, regression, performance, security, etc) is vital. Familiarize yourself with various testing environments, including web (frontend, backend), mobile, and desktop apps.

Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, etc offer comprehensive courses covering QA basics, You also can follow QA professionals on LI (and other resources such as HackerNoon) who share tech/useful insights. While websites like the Ministry of Testing, Software Testing Help, Guru99, EuroStar Huddle, the best tribe, QA Lead, Testing Tech News (TTN), etc provide in-depth articles and tutorials on testing methodologies and best practices.


Your Technical Skills

Skills in programming languages, version control systems, and databases will elevate your QA career. Experience in any languages like Python, JavaScript, C#, and Go enables you to write useful scripts (for testing, performance tests, test data generation and migration) and autotests. At the same time, familiarity with version control tools like Git and/or SVN facilitates collaboration within dev teams.

Platforms like Codecademy, LeetCode, and HackerRank offer interactive coding challenges and tutorials, making learning programming and other technical skills easy. There are countless video tutorials online and for free.

Read Books

When it comes to books about QA and programming, there are lots of them available to suit various learning styles and levels of expertise. Books cover topics ranging from QA methodologies and best practices to programming languages and software development principles. Whether you’re a beginner looking to build foundational knowledge or an experienced professional seeking to deepen your understanding, there are books tailored to meet your needs. Additionally, many books offer practical insights, case studies, and real-world examples to help readers apply concepts in their professional endeavors. By exploring a diverse selection of books on QA and programming, you can improve your skills, expand your knowledge, and stay updated with industry trends and best practices.

  • “The Art of Software Testing” by Glenford J. Myers, Corey Sandler, and Tom Badgett.
  • “Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams” by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory.
  • “Python Crash Course” by Eric Matthes.
  • “Fluent Python: Clear, Concise, and Effective Programming” by Luciano Ramalho.
  • “Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming” by Marijn Haverbeke.
  • “You Don’t Know JS” series by Kyle Simpson.
  • Avoid Information Overload

Much like the field of AppSec, QA engineering boasts a wealth of resources and experts, each offering their unique perspectives and insights. While it’s tempting to absorb every piece of information available, it’s important to avoid overwhelming yourself and have enough rest, spend quality time with family and friends, do sports and hobbies, and have time for leisuring. Focus on your personalized repository of knowledge using tools like Evernote, OneNote, Notion, Trello, Google Keep, Obsidian, and Roam Research where you can organize useful content, learning tasks and practical tasks, tutorials, and QA methodologies.


Learn Automation (but not overemphasizing)

While automation plays a significant role in modern QA practices, it’s important not to overlook other testing skills and approaches. Understanding when to automate tests versus when to perform manual testing is key. Automation tools can streamline repetitive tasks, but manual testing remains invaluable for exploratory testing and uncovering edge cases. Many aforementioned platforms and resources offer courses on test automation, covering popular tools like Selenium, Appium, PalyWright, Puppeteer, and Cypress. Such resources provide insights into automation frameworks and best practices.

Exploring Tools and Technologies

Being an effective QA Engineer requires the right set of tools and strategies. By leveraging the following tools and approaches, you can streamline your workflow and add value to your role within the product team:

  • Use programming to solve different tasks such as test data generation, scripting for manual tests, fuzzing, load testing, data analysis, and report creation.
  • Experiment with performance testing tools like JMeter or LoadRunner, which can also be used for functional API testing, improving your testing skills across different domains.
  • Utilize Postman for API testing automation. It’s simplicity and useful features make it a valuable tool for API testing workflows.
  • Familiarize yourself with platforms like GitLab and GitHub. Setting up your development environment and running applications locally will provide you with a deeper context.
  • Explore Docker for containerization. Start with simple setups and gradually go into more advanced configurations to improve your understanding of containerization.
  • Experiment with virtualization software such as VirtualBox to gain insights into different operating systems (Windows (including Windows servers), Linux, Ubuntu, MacOS, CentOS, Fedora, etc and their configurations, enriching your testing environment setup.
  • In agile environments, try collaborative tools like Google Sheets, Docs, and Trello as alternatives to Atlassian tools and TestRail, fostering efficient communication and task management.
  • Explore security testing tools like Nmap, Nessus, OWASP ZAP, BeEF, SQLmap, Sn1per, Nikto, Metasploit, BurpSuite, etc to get an understanding of security/penetration testing methodologies and techniques.
  • Use tools like Fiddler, Charles (or even Wireshark) for efficient traffic analysis, enabling you to diagnose and troubleshoot API- and network-related issues effectively.
  • Experiment with automation frameworks such as Playwright, Puppeteer, pytest, Katalon, Cypress, and Flutter to automate something.
  • Gain familiarity with HTTP(s) methods and different protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, and WebSockets to understand the nuances of web communication and ensure thorough testing coverage.
  • Learn about browser dev tools and how they can be useful for QA/Testers/Devs.
  • Leverage AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot for assistance with programming tasks, enhancing your productivity and efficiency.
  • Familiarize yourself with frontend tech stack like HTML, and CSS to understand how web apps work and ensure comprehensive testing of UI.
  • Learn basic debugging techniques for mobile and desktop applications to effectively identify and resolve issues across different platforms.
  • Explore tools for monitoring resources, detecting memory leaks, and optimizing resource usage to ensure the stability and performance of apps under test.
  • Understand the differences in behavior and rendering across various browsers and OSs to ensure consistent user experience across different envs.

Remember, proficiency in every tool is not necessary and you don’t even need to try every tool, just one from a group of similar ones for the same tasks is enough. Focus on gaining basic knowledge and periodically utilizing these tools to enhance your efficiency, making your work faster and more enjoyable.

Real-World Experience

One of the most effective ways to develop your QA skills is by gaining real-world experience. Consider participating in open-source projects, contributing to testing efforts within any IT projects, exploring freelance QA opportunities, or seeking trainee programs in companies. Additionally, platforms like Test Automation University, Udacity, Coursera, Pluralsight, edX, etc offer virtual labs and real-world projects where you can apply your skills in a simulated environment.

Mindset and attitude

In addition to technical expertise, having a diverse set of soft skills, the right attitude and mindset are crucial for success as a QA Engineer. A foundation in technical matters lays the groundwork for understanding the complex architectures of different systems and services. However, demonstrating leadership by efficiently managing and closing tickets showcases initiative and accountability. An invaluable quality is a selfless attitude, and willingness to tackle problems of any complexity without hesitation. Persistence is an important quality when faced with challenging tasks, while a sense of independence, together with a willingness to act and collaborate, lead to productive teamwork. Effective communication with cross-functional teams, understanding business requirements, and aligning tech solutions with business goals show the importance of being result-focused and business-oriented. 

As a QA/Tester, prioritize these qualities, develop and embrace them; they serve as a guiding principle in many companies.

Continuous Learning and Certification

The field of QA engineering is evolving maybe not fundamentally but new technologies and tools emerging regularly. Stay updated with the latest trends, tools, and working approaches by attending conferences, webinars, and workshops. Also, consider pursuing relevant certifications like ISTQB, CAT, CSTE, CEH, CompTIA Security+, OSCP, Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals, or AWS Certified Developer (not all certifications listed are specific to the QA field, and having them may not be necessary. But having certifications like those mentioned can be advantageous, offering additional depth of knowledge. Certifications specifically tailored to QA/Testing provide valuable insights into the field but may not always translate directly into market benefits), which validate your expertise and enhance your credibility as a QA professional.


Embarking on a career in Software Quality Assurance Engineering/Testing in 2024 may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and resources, you can navigate this dynamic field with confidence. Remember to prioritize mastering the fundamentals and continuously expanding your technical skills. Leverage a variety of resources, from online courses to real-world projects, to gain practical experience and stay ahead of the curve. By remaining adaptable, curious, and committed to learning, you’ll be well-equipped to thrive as a QA professional.

EuroSTAR Huddle shares articles from our community. Check out our library of online talks from test experts and come together with the community in-person at the annual EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference. The EuroSTAR Conference has been running since 1993 and is the largest testing event in Europe, welcoming 1000+ software testers and QA professionals every year. 

About the Author


I'm a product-minded software QA Team Lead and Engineer/Analyst with 10 years under my belt. I've been diving deep into all sorts of web apps - backend, frontend, cloud-based, desktop, micro-services, APIs, CRMs, CMSs. I've tackled tools like web scrapers and fingerprint spoofers. I’m efficiently ensuring quality products for exceptional User experiences. I've also spent a year in security/penetration testing (entry-level). Plus, I've led and coordinated QA teams for over 3 years. My brain's wired for products since I've hung out in product-focused software companies. So, I'm all about making tech top-notch apps for the users.
Find out more about @shad0wpuppet

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