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I just talked to a friend. He said that in his company, QA persons get higher salary than developers, that on average it is 2 times higher.

I'm quite surprised because I have thought that QA persons will get lower salary than developers (on average). (true confession: my company does not have QA department)

So, how is your company's QA salary compared to developer's? Is it reasonable for QA department to get higher average salary than that of development department?

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closed as not constructive by ChrisF Feb 26 '12 at 12:30

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At my company QA folks receive very little love monetarily and oherwise. –  Job Mar 28 '11 at 15:26
    
Since questions should be answerable, not just surveys, I think the title of the question should be the second part of your question. –  NickC Mar 28 '11 at 23:01
    
edited, thanks, great suggestion :) –  Vimvq1987 Mar 29 '11 at 0:36
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I have observed the same i.e 2x higher.It depends relative strength of QA vs dev and if the company is product based. –  Aditya P Mar 29 '11 at 2:29
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6 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

In my experience QA receive a smaller salary than Devs as they are undervalued in most companies.

I have seen one instance where QA and Dev received similar compensation and where both roles had equal importance on the team. This company stood out for this fact. QA was taken very seriously and the company had a ratio of 1 QA for 1 Dev. QA and Devs worked in pairs.

So I would say in my current job market, QA receiving higher salaries than Devs is not the norm. In fact it would be the contrary.

EDIT: I currently work as a consultant. My current client have posted permanent job offers for both QA and Devs and if I look at the salary included in both offers. Devs have a higher posted salary in the job offer. Granted this is anectdotal evidence.

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QA has the reputation of being a dred assignment, which nobody wants. To the extent that attitude holds its like complaining that sanitation workers get paid more than other jobs requiring a similar skillset! Of course they should, because the job literally stinks. I went from developer to QA with no change in salary. I think I am working harder now than before. It never lets up, since our code is being continually developed. Even if we are not testing bacuse of an imminet release, I feel like I don't dare let up, or bugs will silently pile up. I work with developers, support types (who are the real experts in code usage), and customers. As a developer, I could pretty much concentrate on a small area I knew well. The responsibility is quite different.

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When I was checking out agency average salary statistics last year - in my market QA salaries were slightly higher than developers. From memory it was only in the junior and intermediate categories, but still.

I think a lot of this comes from many "QA" roles being more than just your basic testing role - eg banging on a GUI randomly and recording the bugs. They are often domain experts who know how the system should work, and every detail about what it actually does. So not only do they test for random software bugs (eg. "The program crashes if I click things in such and such order..."), but also fine grained functionality details (eg. "The results of this calculation are wrong, and it should be rounded off to cents correctly, not just dropping the third decimal place.").

Finding good "domain expert QA" people is hard. And companies that work in certain niches want to hold onto these people like grim death, once they find them. So I think this is where a lot of the QA salary data gets pulled upwards.

I've worked in roles where it would definitely be harder to find a good domain expert QA person than a developer. The developers in those cases didn't really have to be domain experts at all, we were just fed the formulas, screen designs, and told to get crackin'. Much easier to replace, at least on a junior/intermediate level, than a good domain QA person who knows the industry and the business inside out.

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Really depends on their role.

If QA are writing new test cases, writing scripts and actively helping to investigate bugs (IE adding value!) then they should be paid as much as the best developers.

If they are merely clicking buttons, running scripts and logging bugs, then the value and hence payment should be less.

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I wouldn't call them testers if they were doing the latter, I'd call them unskilled, untrained help. –  testerab Apr 22 '11 at 11:06
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I have worked on a team where the average tester salary was much higher than the average developer salary. Most places I've worked though, the salary bandings for programmers and testers have been the same or pretty similar. There is probably an element of selection here. A company that expects testers to be paid less and does not invest in their training is unlikely to attract skilled candidates, and won't recognise them if they do.

I'm not all that surprised to hear of a company where QA receive double the salary of Dev. If you really need people who are both domain experts and also very skilled, experienced testers, then I imagine once you actually found some you'd pay what it took to keep them on board - especially once they've developed a deep understanding of your business. I've seen such people paid extremely handsomely.

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In my company, QA is paid about the same as senior developer.

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