Test engineer careers can vary widely, but usually fall under either the computer engineering or electrical engineering categories. Computer test engineers spend time working with hardware and software, while electrical engineers are most concerned with how a product is wired. Other test engineers may work on an item that utilizes electronics and computer-ware or may focus on the operation of a manual product such as a toy or other device.
The quality assurance of computer systems is an important category in any discussion of test engineer careers. A quality assurance engineer who works with a focus in software or hardware will spend most parts of the day developing, assessing, and repairing computer appliances and applications. This may include servers, databases, and network equipment. A test engineer of this type might be referred to as a software engineer, hardware engineer, quality assurance lead, or test technician.
Another position in the world of test engineer careers is that of the electrical test engineer. This type of engineer will focus mainly on the ways in which wiring components are arranged and function together. He will usually have a lot of the same qualifications as the computer test engineer in addition to industry-specific knowledge in certain types of electronic products that need to be assessed.
In both computer and electronic test engineer careers, an engineer might start out in an entry-level position and, depending upon education and degrees, can achieve company advancement. Those with advanced degrees may be required to test equipment or manage others who do the actual assessment. A test engineer might turn his career toward management and supervise a team of test engineers or an engineering department.
While computer-related test engineering careers are the most common, there are a variety of engineering jobs that are required for very different applications. Another type of engineer might need to test buildings and models after construction. Additionally, products that are not electronic and do not utilize computer components may still need quality assurance evaluations. Anything that can be built usually needs a evaluation by some sort of expert, and those in test engineer careers can provide the necessary troubleshooting and guidance. The test engineer is typically considered vital to the success of any production department, as he provides the knowledge and experience necessary to identify potential problems, develop a plan of action, and initiate attempts at applying a solution.