They are in charge of constantly negotiating with and making their peers and seniors understand how important it is to meet customer satisfaction and deliver quality products. So managerial skills are as important as technical qualifications.

“A candidate fit for this field would be someone who is not only able to apply knowledge and technical skills appropriately but also has the personal attributes of a good auditor,” adds Malik.

Remuneration

Based on their products and processes, companies have specific requirements for quality testing professionals and hire accordingly. If there are 25-30 people working on a particular product line, there has to be one quality inspector for the in-process, says Manjunath. For instance, Noida-based Deki Electronics, which offers film capacitor solutions, has a team of three final inspectors to monitor quality—one executive, one senior manager and one person at the post of a general manager.

“The average salary of a fresh recruit is between Rs 120,000 per annum and Rs 200,000 per annum,” informs Bali.

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“A candidate fit for this field would be someone who is not only able to apply knowledge and technical skills appropriately but also has the personal attributes of a good auditor.”

— A.K. Malik, director, Indian Institute of Quality Management (IIQM)

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Quality management is very similar to any other management course, says Malik. “And students generally get placed in the quality department of any manufacturing/service industry. Salary package in this field is almost the same as applicable to other fields of management,” he adds.

On-the-job training

Like most careers, training is important for career advancement in the field of quality testing too. In fact, successful quality management and testing professionals are known to have under-gone on-the-job trainings consistently in their careers. They need to equip themselves with the latest happenings in certifications and accreditations schemes and also keep abreast of the latest quality management standards and requirements.

Most companies prefer to train their employees while they work on a particular product line. “We provide training on processes, products, measurement systems, quality tools, documentation, etc. The main advantage of having employees trained in-house is that we can transfer our own expertise and knowledge of customer-specific requirements directly to the employees,” says Bali.

Standardised, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate, under government of India’s Department of Information Technology, conducts a number of training programmes for quality testing professionals in the country.

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“Training programmes are much sought after by the industry, and having them on their CVs gives candidates an added advantage.”

— G.C. Saxena, director, STQC Directorate

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“Training programmes are much sought after by the industry, and having them on their CVs gives candidates an added advantage,” says G.C. Saxena, director, STQC Directorate.

What the future beholds

There is little doubt that the field of quality management and testing will continue to grow and become popular in the industry. Concepts such as Six Sigma (reduction in defects), JIT (just in time) and lean manufacturing have further cemented the role of a quality tester in a company. Product quality is the main focus now. Many customers have learnt and started demanding from their suppliers improved product quality so that they can reduce the cost of ensuring quality in their own operations as well as ensure good productivity, says Bali.

“Candidates must look at those areas of the organisations which have scope for improvement and take up quality improvement projects for improving the quality of product or service, reducing the defects or wastage and minimising the cost of quality, leading to more productivity/profitability and satisfaction of all the stakeholders of the organisation,” advises Malik.

A few experts believe that aerospace and medical sectors are going to be hot grounds for quality testing professionals in the near future. And as said earlier, it is no longer sufficient to be well versed with technical information alone; a successful quality and testing professional must have a formal technical education, should be willing to undergo training sessions at regular intervals and must constantly brush-up his soft skill sets.

As the Indian electronics manufacturing industry is becoming obsessed with quality products that could compete globally, proficient quality testing professionals have much to look forward to in the years to come.


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