I used to be fairly uncomfortable with the term Quality Assurance (QA) being used in a software engineering context. In my view Software Testing is the engineering discipline of detecting and isolating software failures – and that’s what us testers did. To me, the term QA Engineer simply felt like a flamboyant way to avoid the job title of Tester.
After reading the Wikipedia definitions for Quality Assurance and Software Quality Assurance it became clear that I had not really appreciated the difference. QA is an integral part of the entire software delivery project affecting quality at every level, whereas software testing is just one aspect to QA. Software testing remains an important and highly skilled discipline – Finding ‘bugs’ is relatively easy, finding business threatening defects is non-trivial.
So where does that leave me? When I examine my own role I find that I spend more time working out what to test, planning and delivering it, collecting results and working out what it all means to the project, than I do testing. I guess that makes me more QA than tester.