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Software Testing Career Salary Potential

Salaries in this field can vary by role, industry, employer and geographic region. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for computer systems analysts - a category that includes software testers - was $80,430 as of May 2009. However, specialized training and certification can lead to substantially higher salaries.

BLS findings showed that professionals in the top earning bracket of this field made upwards of $119,170 per year. Bonuses and profit-sharing can drive earnings even higher. Salary data compiled by GlassDoor.com indicated that software development test engineers earned as much as $169,000 in total compensation as of November 2010.

When professionals obtain the training and certification required for a senior-level role, they generally enjoy a corresponding bump in pay. National salary data from Indeed.com revealed that the average salaries of senior software test engineers were at least 10% higher than those of lower-level test engineers in November 2010.

Most often, the best and highest-paying software testing jobs go to professionals with a combination of experience, industry certification and specialized training.

Education and Training

While software testing jobs have different education requirements, employers often expect candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering or related field. Senior-level positions usually require advanced training in programming, developing, and executing automated testing tools and processes.

In addition, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have attained certification, such as the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) credential. Industry-specific experience or knowledge in fields such as finance, investing, accounting, video gaming or manufacturing can also enhance marketability.

While the path to a software testing career often begins with a bachelor's degree, professionals who seek advancement frequently pursue specialized software testing training through continuing education programs, such as the 100% online master certificate program offered by Villanova University.

Villanova's Master Certificate in Software Testing helps students develop the critical skills required for such positions as test analysts, test engineers, test consultants, test managers, user acceptance testers and software developers. Those who complete the three-course program have the advanced knowledge and abilities needed to:

  • Develop and execute manual and automated test suites.
  • Exhibit fluency with bug tracking systems and quality assurance tools and techniques.
  • Demonstrate mastery of regression testing and impact analysis in testing.
  • Apply different phases of testing to real-world business software problems.
  • Sit for the ISTQB® CTFL exam, with the benefit of practice tests covering each module's important terms and standards.
  • Successfully compete for the most sought-after software testing jobs.

Students receive a handsomely framed certificate of achievement from Villanova University upon completion of each course and the entire master certificate program. They also have the opportunity to earn valuable professional development units (PDUs) and continuing education units (CEUs).

Are You Ready to Advance Your Software Testing Career?

Whether you're looking to land a job as a software tester or get promoted to a senior-level role, continuing professional education can take your software testing career to the next level. With advanced training and industry certification, you can move up the ranks: from an entry-level role, to senior software testing engineer, to a managerial position - or even director of software quality assurance. Villanova's 100% online Master Certificate in Software Testing program will prepare you for ISTQB® CTFL certification and distinguish you as an expert software tester who is capable of reducing software defects, improving product quality and enhancing business success.

Part 1 - Software Testing Careers