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How to Become a Test Engineer

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How to Become a Test Engineer. Test engineers play an integral part in the research and development process of a product. After the designers create a prototype of the product, whether it's a car, computer program or circuit board, the test engineers have to find all the problems and design flaws. If you want to become a test engineer, you'll need some general engineering experience to go with your college degree.

Study for your bachelor's degree in engineering. Test engineers come from a variety of different backgrounds, but certain fields may limit your choices. For example, a degree in chemical engineering could provide you with the chance to test refinery equipment, while an electrical engineering degree could open up the possibility of circuit testing.

Talk to your professors about undergraduate research opportunities. You may be able to find a professor who does contract testing for various companies. These undergraduate positions will probably be unpaid, but you'll gain valuable real-world experience.

Intern with the test engineering department of a company. If you can't get into the testing department, try for a development internship. Working in product design and development will help you learn some of the troubleshooting skills you'll need to become a successful test engineer.

Take classes that develop your writing skills. In order to become a test engineer, you'll need to be able to write detailed technical reports. You'll also need strong verbal communication skills in order to report your test findings with other engineering departments during meetings.

Familiarize yourself with different computer programs and operating systems. Test engineers often use a variety of different automated testing programs to help troubleshoot new designs. Ask potential employers if they provide training or reimbursement for the purchase of new software manuals.

Stay up to date on your company's job postings. If you're already employed as an engineer, you may find it easy to transfer into the testing department. Many companies want test engineers with several years of experience, so you may have to work in another engineering field before you become one.

Tip

You should talk to engineering consulting firms when you're looking for a test engineer job. Some businesses don't have in-house testers and have to contract with an outside group. If you interview with a consulting firm, be sure to find out how it compensates for your on-the-job travel expenses. It may help to have a master's degree in engineering, but many test engineer positions only require a bachelor's degree. If you want to work in a specialized field, like flight test engineering, the demand for candidates with advanced degrees is higher.

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