What does a Systems Test Engineer do?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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Computer software manufacturing is a business is based on developing software applications for consumers. A systems test engineer is an individual who is responsible for checking software applications for defects. He typically tests an application to ensure the system functions as it was intended before it is released to consumers in the marketplace.

Historically, system testing was completed by the software engineers who originally created the application. This practice was proven to be inefficient because the developers were too intimately familiar with the software and typically missed system defects. Over the last few decades system testing has become a discipline within computer science.

Quality software products require hours of rigorous testing. The systems test engineer is the quality control specialist for a software development organization. He generally has the authority to reject defective software. He typically works in the testing department of a company and is considered the last quality check point before production.

To become a systems test engineer an individual should understand basic computer programming principles. He should have some college education with an emphasis in computer science. Most large companies have a specific testing team that specializes in quality assurance processes. This team typically includes testing managers, engineers, technical writers, and automation testers.


Today there are many automated software applications that manage defects found by the systems test engineer. This software is a basic scorecard of the issues documented by the testing team. The testing engineer is responsible for the tracking, managing, and reporting all defects found in software application. This documentation process is typically done with each software build-and-test cycle.

Computer software testing is typically done in a self-contained testing environment. This environment is managed and configured by the systems test engineer. He is responsible for creating an environment that resembles the system configuration that will be used by consumers. The testing engineer creates special test scripts that are designed to test all the facets of the application.

A good testing cycle is one that is based on positive and negative test samples. Positive testing is a process in which a system is tested with good data that follows a defined business process. Negative testing is a form of testing that ensures error handling functions correctly with invalid data. This is considered a more detailed testing process because the tester is trying to break the system.

Most systems test engineers use automation software to test applications. This software is based on testing scripts, which perform the actual test. Automation software is a more accurate method of testing that can be used for regression testing of an application in the future.


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