Strategies to Deal A Software QA Engineer's Salary

Information technology and software development has become a rapidly evolving field with various specialized careers. Software and applications are used in almost every industry, and fixing a problem late in the game can cost way more than resolving a problem in the early stages of a project. Therefore, professional software QA engineers with lucrative testing skills are in high demand. 

Tips to increase the salary of software QA engineers

The software testing services market tends to have an estimated CAGR growth of 7%  during the years 2021 and 2027 due to the higher integration of advanced technologies. This rise in the software testing industry increased the demand for software testers, resulting in higher salaries. The evolution of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, and DevOps has pushed manual testing to the side and moved to automation testing, which is already revolutionizing the industry.

QA Engineer Market and Salary

All the fastest-growing companies in the world are now software-based. Therefore, software testing has become an essential thing to optimize business performance. The estimated salary for a software quality assurance engineer is $101,143/year in the US, with an average of $80,373/year. 

These numbers represent the median, the midpoint of the ranges from the proprietary Total Pay Estimate model, depending on the salaries collected from different users. However, the estimated additional amount is $20,770/year. This extra amount might include commission, tips, bonuses, and profit-sharing.

Here is an estimate for a Software QA Engineer's salary at different companies.

CompaniesAverage Base Salary in USD
Cisco Systems$141,983/year
Keysight Technologies$111,242/year

Factors Affecting QA Engineers’ Salary

Software tester skills and factors affecting QA engineers’ salary

A software tester's pay is not the same for everyone. It can vary based on various factors. These include software tester skills and certifications, location, organization, and technical knowledge. There are several other factors but the mentioned ones make it easier for a candidate to understand high-income opportunities.


Location is one of the most crucial factors affecting the salary of a software test engineer. The highest paying location for a tester is Hawai, with a $50.62 hourly rate and an average yearly salary of $105,294.

In New York, the annual average salary is $76,673, with an hourly rate of $36.86. However, if we talk about Indiana and South Carolina, the average yearly salary is $60,249 and $59,823, with an hourly rate of $28.97 and $28.76. 


Usually, product companies pay more salary than service-based companies. Even within service-based organizations, a well-established organization with more industry experience will pay you more than a startup. Tech giants across the globe offer good salary packages to software QA testers. If you want to get into a similar career, it's important to look at the top firms and their average salaries to get a sense of market value. 

The table below shows some software companies with handsome salary packages.

HCL Technologies$154,803/year
Akamai Technologies$126,951/year
JPMorgan Chase$117,454 per year

Skills and Certifications

Events like the introduction of decentralized Web3 Internet demand higher technical skills required for software testers. The reason is that Web3 applications need end-to-end testing. Therefore, it's essential to understand which are the skills of software testers dealing with web3 applications. If a candidate is well-versed with advanced technologies and skills required for testers, they can demand a higher salary than others.

  • Manual and automation testing: Proficiency in manual testing is the first step to pick up automation. Part of a QA tester’s skills is being able to choose the right tests to manually perform or automate. Recognize scenarios with steps that don’t change constantly and write automated test scripts for faster feedback and reduced time-to-market.
  • Programming languages: Testing and programming skills are not on the same side of the spectrum. Coding knowledge is a critical software tester technical skill to help make code testable. Tests and test code are written with the purpose to validate that the functionalities and application code underneath are working. Without a deep understand the initiatives and design rationale from developers, testing activities will spiral down the path filled with guesswork.
  • Defect tracking & test case management tools: If test data continues to be managed through spreadsheets and Word docs, test cases, results, requirements and defects will be too hard to trace back. Solutions like Jira, TestRail or qMetry do wonders in integrating with testing platforms like Katalon. From organizing manual and automated tests, mapping tests to requirements to logging bugs, knowing how to incorporate defect tracking & test case management software can make testing much more manageable. 
  • Defect reports: Reporting on found defects with specific details like the taken test steps, paths, conditions and environment will enable developers to replicate and fix them quicker.
  • DevOps and Agile: Following the paradigm of quality being a shared responsibility, learn how shifting left, end-to-end automated testing or daily stand-ups allows cross-team transparency on QA and development activities.

Besides these software quality tester skills, certifications and training provide you with more advanced skills—your chances of getting a higher salary increase if you have more recognizable certifications.

Here are some of the best software testing certifications. 

  • Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST)
  • Certified Software Tester (CSTE)
  • Certified Manager of Software Testing (CMST)
  • ISTQB Agile Tester Certification
  • ISTQB Advanced Level Test Analyst
  • Advanced Level Security Tester
  • Certified Software Test Professional Associate Level (CSTP-A)

5 Tips to Increase QA Engineer Salary

Testing skill sets to build and earn more as a software tester

While years of experience and educational background are always essential factors in determining QA Engineer salary, there are several other steps you can take to increase your earnings potential.

Here are some tips to help you earn a higher QA engineer salary.

Be Strategic When Working

Instead of just going with the flow, question client requirements, specifications and define a strategy for everything. 

The baseline of any QA strategy needs to be addressing the original deliverables from stakeholders. They will have an impact on selecting the right tools, arrange priorities and even forecast potential pitfalls in the future. Allowing room for adjustments along the way is also a factor to consider.

Without a proper plan, metrics and set of logical goals from the start, issues like investing in automated testing and CI/CD when the nature of a project is constantly changing are prone to happen.

Sharpen Your Testing Skills

As a QA engineer, one of the best ways to increase your salary is to sharpen your testing skills. By becoming an expert in your field, you can command a higher salary and have more career options. Here are some ways to enhance your testing skillset.

  • Stay up to date on the latest trends. Keep up with the latest technological changes so you can apply them to your testing. This will show that you're keeping up with the latest trends and that you can adapt to change.
  • Get certified. There are many different certifications available for QA engineers. By getting certified, you can show that you have the skills and knowledge to do the job. This can help you get a raise or a promotion.
  • Read books and articles about testing. By reading about testing, you can learn new techniques and strategies. You can also keep up with the latest changes in the industry. Reading can also help you prepare for interviews and exams.
  • Attend conferences and seminars. Attending meetings and workshops can help you network with other professionals and learn from experts in the field. This can be a great way to discover new ideas and technologies.

Manual and Automated Testing Go Together: Learn Them Both!

You need a firm foundation in manual testing before adding automated testing to your “to-learn” list.

See automated testing as an advancement from manual, not a replacement. Like DevOps, security practices or microservices, they’re the technical concepts software quality engineers need to know to stay competitive.

It’s safe to say that creativity is much needed when testing. The different scenarios and combinations of instances where a software/application might not function properly are endless. Accuracy is the main offering that automation software brings to the table, making it perfect for repeated jobs and long-term software projects. In contrast, manual testing would make more sense when flexibility is required to mimic real-world interactions from end-users.


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Looking for Trends

Saas Testing

Deploying software onto cloud environment is upon the key drivers of digital transformations.

Without having to put down an up-front investment on building apps, IT infrastructures and hire dedicated in-house technical personnel, SaaS providers have successfully introduced pay-as-you-go and boilerplate solutions. 

The issue with SaaS is that though it puts off some of the heavy maintenance work of self-built applications, the complexity in QA and testing SaaS applications also rises.

Industry verticals say healthcare, have its own regulations on maintaining the secrecy of patient records. Factors such as Service Level Agreements (SLA) or General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance raise the stake for software quality. 

Visual Testing

The UI/UX of an app or software is extremely critical to making or breaking business gains. Visual aspects often get overlooked compared to testing the functionalities. 

There’s a whole hashtag of #GUIGoneWrong dedicated to logging visual errors from popular apps.

Functional testing only verifies if buttons are clickable, destination URLs are accurate or user credentials are properly stored in the database. However, factors like texts lying on top of each other and making users unable to see the content on a particular call-to-action are note covered.

AI-infused solutions for visual testing, in particular, replace the traditional pixel-based comparisons and reduce insignificant mismatches. Not only will this cut down the hours of spotting the difference for QA, but AI visual testing speeds up testing cycles by encountering fewer false positives.


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Build Your Testing Skills and Increase Your Chances to Get A High-Paying Job

Software testers need to know how a system works, its defects, and what adjustment needs to be made. The more experienced, skilled, and certified a software tester is, the more chances they get to demand a higher salary. 

Learn software automation testing from professionals and increase your chances of getting a high-paying job. Katalon Academy lets you master in-demand tools and implement them on real projects. You can pick a course based on the skill you want to learn, profession and interest. Build your testing skills now, and shift from manual to automation testing with Katalon Academy.