Sourcing and hiring quality assurance (QA) analysts can be difficult, particularly if you're a new startup with limited funds. This is because salaries for U.S.-based quality assurance can be extremely high. According to Glassdoor, the average quality assurance analyst in New York City earns an annual salary of $60,057 and receives $10,748 in additional cash compensation.
Luckily, there's a way around this. By outsourcing QA talent from other countries, startups can save a staggering amount of money while continuing to produce top-notch services and products.
Most companies choose to outsource to far-away locations such as Romania, Ukraine, India, and the Philippines. However, while these nations provide excellent rates for IT services, outsourcing to these destinations also comes with drawbacks. Specifically, outsourcing companies in these locations is more likely to maximize billable hours, which means you don't actually end up saving that much. They're also more than eight hours ahead of most U.S. time zones, which means you won't able to able to collaborate with your outsourced hires on real-time projects. Communication will be delayed, leading to increased downtimes and lower efficiency rates.
If outsourcing to Eastern European and Asian nations doesn't sound like the best option for you, consider hiring your QA team from Latin America. Like Eastern European and Asian QA devs, Latin American QA devs offer affordable rates. However, since they're located in U.S.-adjacent time zones, your U.S. team will be able to collaborate with them in real-time.
Read on to learn more about when, why, and how companies outsource QA and whether it's a good option for your startup. You'll also learn more about the different QA roles that can be outsourced, QA outsourcing models, and why you should nearsource QA personnel from Latin America.
When To Outsource Quality Assurance
Entrusting QA to an outsourcing or nearsourcing company can greatly improve your products' and services' success and reduce running costs. Granted, there are benefits to tackling QA in-house. But most companies, particularly startups, don't have the resources to train and employ a dedicated team. Outsourced QA experts may also have expertise that in-house QA talent don't have.
Here's when you should outsource or nearsource quality assurance:
Time-Sensitive Project That Requires Additional Resources
When development teams don't have a lot of time to meet client standards, they're more likely to skip fundamental steps and create a lower-quality product.
Nearsourcing or outsourcing quality assurance testing teams will help you avoid this problem. This independent QA testing team will critically test your product and run quality assurance reports to ensure that you meet client requirements before or on the due date.
One-Off Projects That Require Specific QA Expertise
One-off projects may require specific QA expertise (i.e., artificial intelligence) that your dev team doesn't have. Sure, you could train your dev team to close the knowledge gap, but this would take a lot of time and money, especially if you aren't a QA testing service company yourself. As such, you may not have the staff, training, tools, or know-how to meet the specialized testing demands of these projects.
That's why you should outsource qualified third-party QA testing teams to run QA reports on your deliverables. Experienced QA teams have the expertise, experience, tools, and staff to meet and go beyond these testing demands.
Looking To Mitigate Costs on Long-Term Projects
Quality assurance outsourcing and nearshoring can also mitigate costs on long-term projects, especially if you have multiple concurrent projects going on at once.
By hiring budget-friendly developers from nations with lower costs of living, you can save up to a third or more of your costs. The average QA annual salary in Santiago, Chile is only 12 million CLP or 14,940 USD, while the average Boston, MA QA tester earns 64,649 USD per year.
The Different QA Roles That Can Be Outsourced
On the surface, QA roles seem largely interchangeable since they revolve around software testing.
In reality, QA roles are actually incredibly diverse. Depending on the complexity of your project, your QA team may consist of engineers and test engineers, software developers in test (SDET), leads, managers, directors, and automation testers.
QA Engineers and Test Engineers
QA Engineers and test engineers test software for bugs and errors to ensure that your final product meets quality standards. They work closely with software developers to spot and fix all errors. QA engineers and test engineers may not need to know coding since their primary focus is testing and spotting bugs after the development phase.
Software Developers in Test (SDET)
SDETs are developers who work as part of the test team instead of working on the product development team.
Unlike QA Engineers and test engineers, they don't only focus on fixing bugs after the development phase — they're involved in every step of the software development process, including writing, testing, and fixing code. They're also responsible for:
- Participating in test automation tool development
- Knowing and applying project guidelines and requirements
- Building, deploying, managing, and running applications
QA Leads, Managers, Directors
QA leads manage teams conducting QA testing in your company, while QA managers oversee the activity of the QA department. QA managers also develop, implement, and maintain a QA system for the organization.
A QA director ensures that high-quality products and services are delivered within budget and on time. They oversee all of the systems, initiatives, and processes that mitigate quality issues and work with internal partners who focus on production and compliance.
Unlike manual testers, automation testers don't manually test the functionality of a software or app. Instead, they program and use automation tools to automate simple and time-consuming tasks like regression tests. Thanks to automation testers' hard work, the QA team can spend more time on tests that require human ingenuity, such as exploratory tests.
Automation testers are well-versed in:
- Scripting languages (which they use to create and implement automation tools)
- CI system integrations
- Scaling tests for different projects and scenarios
QA Outsourcing Models
There are two main ways to outsource QA talent: Traditional Testing Services (TTS) and Specialist Testing Services (STS).
Traditional Testing Services (TTS)
With the Traditional Testing Services (TTS) model, an in-house QA team works on every product release, spots defects, and tells the development team about them. The development team fixes those issues from there. This cycle repeats itself until all of the defects are fixed.
TTS tends to be slow, inefficient, and difficult to scale, particularly for complex applications. Accordingly, an increasing number of tech companies have opted for other quality assurance offshoring models, such as Specialist Testing Services (STS).
Specialist Testing Services (STS)
Also known as Independent Software Testing Services or Software Outsourcing Testing Services, STS involves offshoring QA testing to third-party specialist testing vendors. These vendors are well-versed in a variety of subject matters that many generalized QA personnel aren't familiar with, such as:
- Enterprise fraud
- Artificial intelligence
- System security
- Data warehousing
- Future operations
There are three main ways to hire STS:
Independent testers, also known as freelance testers, are independent workers who earn wages on a per-task or per-job basis. They are best for short projects and tasks (i.e., those that last less than six months).
Testing organizations are companies that provide testing services. All of the QA personnel at testing organizations have already been pre-vetted for knowledge, experience, and English proficiency. As such, you won't have to deal with the tedious process of looking through potential hires' LinkedIn profiles, resumes, and portfolios to determine whether they're the right fit.
Crowd testing, also known as crowdsourced testing, is a fresh approach to QA that involves a large pool of testers scattered throughout the world, meaning they're available 24/7/365. With so many people testing your products and services in a variety of conditions and markets, this outsourcing model is more likely to help you spot and fix bugs than any other.
Compared to other forms of testing, crowdsourced testing is much more scalable than traditional forms of outsourcing. However, since you're picking your testers by hand, you'll have to handle hiring, management, and other human resources issues yourself.
Benefits of QA Outsourcing
Hiring a neutral, third-party QA team to vet your products and services is one of the most efficient ways to create better products faster. It also gives you a wide range of other benefits, such as access to specialized information, shorter time-to-market, and improved customer experience.
Hire Experts on QA When Internal Resources Are Deficient
Companies that don't have enough resources to hire, train, and deploy QA specialists are sometimes tempted to just rely on their dev team for QA. This can lead to oversight, since your dev team may not have the time, energy, or expertise to develop and deploy QA tests.
By outsourcing QA experts when internal resources are deficient, you can maintain the quality of your products and services.
You can save a lot of money by outsourcing your QA team, since hiring an offshore team of QA personnel is much more cost-effective than hiring from your own country.
For instance, the average base pay of a QA tester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is only 1,188,804 ARS or 10,832 USD per month. In contrast, the average monthly base pay of a QA tester in San Francisco is 67,539 USD.
A cutting-edge QA team will also help you achieve a faster time-to-market (TTM). TTM is the length of time from the conceptualization of a product or service until it is released to end-users. An experienced QA team will help you streamline the QA process and reduce the number of bugs and defects that need to be fixed.
Easier To Augment QA Resources Using Existing Outsourcing Provider
Outsourcing companies already know the ropes of vetting, hiring, and onboarding QA talent from abroad. As such, you won't need to go through piles of resumes and LinkedIn profiles to locate your perfect QA hire.
All you have to do is send your chosen outsourcing company a message detailing what kind of QA team you want and what kind of projects you want them to assess and test. The company will then hand-pick a list of candidates for you to interview within a few days or even hours.
Improve Customer Experience
Outsourcing QA talent will also improve customer experience since QA testers will identify and eliminate all product defects before they go public. This ensures that only high-quality products will be delivered to end-users.
Get an Unbiased Perspective on Quality
Unlike internal team members, outsourced QA teams will evaluate your products and services from a fresh, unbiased point of view. They're also more likely to maintain their neutrality since they are much less likely to get involved in office politics than in-office hires.
Lets Your Developers Focus On Development
By setting up strong QA teams to meet quality parameters and deadlines, your developers can solely focus on development, resulting in higher efficiency, improved quality, and higher ROI.
Disadvantages of QA Outsourcing
Although there are many benefits to outsourcing QA talent, there are also several downsides.
Outsourcing Companies Are Incentivized To Maximize Billable Hours
Even though many outsourcing solutions look budget-friendly, they might actually be budget-heavy once you start building projects. That's because many outsourcing companies try to maximize their billable hours as much as possible. So even if a project only takes an hour, they may claim that it requires six hours.
Many outsourcing companies typically use resources in Asia or Eastern Europe, which are more than eight hours ahead of U.S. time zones.
Accordingly, your team won't be able to collaborate with your outsourced hires in real-time. Communication will also be delayed, since your outsourced QA team may be asleep by the time you send them an email or a message on Slack. This is particularly the case if you're on the West Coast, which is around nine hours behind Eastern Europe and anywhere from 12-15 hours behind various Asian time zones.
Why You Should Consider Dedicated Nearshore QA Talent Instead of Outsourcing
Outsourcing clearly provides many benefits, such as shorter time-to-market, lower costs, and improved customer experience.
However, outsourcing is also not as expensive as it may initially seem, since many outsourcing companies maximize billable hours. You will also find it challenging to integrate your outsourced hires into your team since they're located more than eight hours ahead of U.S. time zones.
That's why you should consider nearshoring. Nearshoring offers all of the benefits of outsourcing without the disadvantages. It also gives you the following advantages:
Large Overlap With U.S. Time Zones if Hiring in Latin America
Latin American countries have a large overlap with U.S. time zones, making it easy to email, call, and Zoom with QA hires in real-time.
This, in turn, results in:
- Shorter delays in messaging and responses: Unlike outsourced talent from the Asia-Pacific region or Eastern Europe, which are anywhere from six to 15 hours ahead of U.S. time zones, Latin American QA talent work in the same or similar time zone as your in-house team. This means they're much more likely to give you same-work-day or real-time responses.
- Higher productivity: Since everyone on your team is in the same or similar time zone, everyone will have a much easier time staying on the same page, leading to higher productivity rates.
Higher Cost-to-Quality Ratio
Many Latin American nations that are new to the nearshoring world have extremely favorable cost-to-quality ratios. In other words, they provide premium QA services for less.
A great example is Venezuela. One of the lesser-known nearshoring destinations in the world, Venezuela has a low cost of living and an untapped talent market. Since very few companies or recruiters are competing for Venezuelan QA testers, you'll have an easy time locating and hiring FAANG-caliber tech talent.
Since Latin American countries are in the same or similar time zones as the US, you can easily collaborate in real-time with your Latin American QA team.
Embedded in Your Team
Because your Latin American hires have the same workday as your in-house staff and are only a few clicks away at all times, they'll function as an extension of your team. This allows for better collaboration, communication, and higher ROI.
Hire Latin American QA Engineers With Revelo
It can be difficult to source and hire Latin American QA engineers, particularly if you've never done it before.
Luckily, there's Revelo. All of our QA engineers have been pre-tested for their experience, English proficiency, and knowledge. We have QA testers specializing in every language and tech stack, including:
- Ruby on Rails
Revelo will match you with the best picks for your team or project so you don't have to reach out to anyone on LinkedIn or job sites. All you have to do is tell us about your startup, and we will send you a list of QA experts within three days. If you don't think they're a good fit for your team within our 14-day free trial, you don't have to pay anything.
Interested in learning more about quality assurance nearshoring? Contact us today.