Quality control engineers, sometimes also referred to as Quality Assurance engineers, are responsible for testing new products and determining whether those products meet the standards of the business in reliability, durability and functionality.
QA/QC Engineers typically work in factories, plants, or the offices of technology companies, and usually report to a small number of higher-level executives while simultaneously supervising a large number of lower-level workers. QA/QC Engineers are employed in a variety of sectors, including software, aerospace, automotive, architecture, and electronics manufacturing.
Quality control engineers can be divided into two categories – software and non-software. The work is the same, testing the quality of a product; it’s just that QC engineers who work in the software industry are responsible for testing and quality assurance of code, and the QC engineers that work in the non-software industry are responsible for the quality of physical products.
Job Profile (A Day in the life of a Quality Control Engineer)
The main work of a QC engineer would vary from industry to industry, but generally speaking, if you are working in a non-software company, your role would be to do inspection of mechanical construction, as well as product inspection on the basis of some predetermined criteria. It is not a desk job, and you would have to be there at the manufacturing units and factories.
In the software industry, your role would be to ensure the quality of the software being produced. Other responsibilities include testing, writing documentation, and doing general quality control of the codebase. Your work would most probably be done from your desk only.
Once you have some experience behind you, leadership roles are also available in ample quantities in this industry. You would have a team of technicians to oversee, and would have to correspond with the higher levels of management. Quality control engineers are also responsible for determining what might be a common cause for product failure and develop methods of remedying these weaknesses.
Some quality control engineers are responsible for writing procedures and drafting the evaluations for the products they work with. Work-life balance is great after the initial set-up process. Travel and transfers are commonplace on the non-software side of things.
In some firms, the inspection process is completely automated, with advanced vision inspection systems installed at one or several points in the production process. Inspectors in these firms monitor the equipment, review output, and conduct random product checks.
Salary of a Quality Control Engineer
Starting salary is roughly 50,000 rupees per month. Great growth opportunities are available, monetarily speaking, in this industry. Your salary can double after only a few years of experience.
A degree is required for this job. Depending on the path you take (software/non-software), the degrees that you should pursue are B.Tech Computer Science or B.Tech Mechanical Engineering respectively. If you are going the non-software routes, you would also need certifications in inspection related to welding, painting, etc. A master’s degree can be helpful, but it is generally not required.
One thing to love about being a QC Engineer
“Once everything is setup, the work is relaxing. Not very intense.”
One thing to hate about being a QC Engineer
“Not a fixed location job. Physically intensive, if you are going the non-software route. Hectic schedule during initial days of a project.”
Resources and Tips
Go to this great post by JobHero, scroll down to the bottom, and you will find a list of resources (both books and websites) for Quality Control and Quality Assurance engineers. Also, the certification websites mentioned in the step-by-step guide down below are a good starting point; some of them have blogs about quality assurance and will often lead you to other great resources
All the top engineering colleges of the country (the IITs, IIIT, NIT, VIT, DTU, and so on) are recommended. Go for an undergraduate degree in Computer Science/Mechanical Engineering (depending on whether you want to go the software or non-software route) to get into this profession.
Step-by-step guide to becoming a Quality Control Engineer
- Take PCM (science, non-medical) in class 11th.
- Give JEE and other equivalent engineering exams.
- Pursue BTech (Mechanical/Comp. Sci) from a good college. Start building your network. Remember, your network is your net worth.
- Get certification (required if you are going the BTech Mechanical route) from organizations such as CSWIP, ASME, ASQ, BSI, ISO auditing, Six Sigma from Indian Statistical Institute, etc. You can find more information on the websites of these organizations.
- Pursue as many internships as you can. These will add weight to your CV.
- Sit for college placements. If it doesn’t work out, LinkedIn is your best friend. There are a lot of companies on it that hire freshers as Junior/Assistant QC engineers.
Logisticians, Industrial Engineers, Construction Inspectors, Fire Inspectors