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How Much Do Software Bugs Really Cost?

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911 goes offline for six hours in 2017, affecting over 80 call centers around the US. The loss of the $474 million customer investment makes Mt.Gox file for bankruptcy. The list of most prominent software bugs goes updated every year. Gone are the days when the users were a reliable source of feedback about your product performance. The market is just overwhelmed with the innovative app solutions, so the modern user is not that helpful anymore. And because of the choice we have today, the task is to get people interested in the software you launch.

But is this all about neglecting software quality assurance? Sure, a 100% defect-free software is a fiction. Yet there is a strategy to prevent the bugs that might have a disastrous impact on a just-released website/app. All you need is to do quality assurance along with the development.

joke about QA testing

What Are the Effects of the Software Bugs?

Here the issues software defects might cause:

  • Development and support costs increase. Software bugs slow the development process down, while frequent requests to customer support overload the system.
  • Delay in new features development. The errors found before the release take more time to fix, while the new features are put into cold storage.
  • Poor customer experience. Errors in software turn happy users into frustrated users who leave your site, app, or service once they find bugs. As a consequence, product bounce rate runs high.
  • Tarnished reputation. Software bugs decrease the level of customers’ credibility.
  • Revenue drop. The buggy software may lead to mass refunds, unsubscriptions, and hundreds of lost users.
  • Negative feedback. Bad reviews on third-party platforms can frighten new customers.

Best Time to Test

When is the Best Time to Test the Software for Errors?

While there is no fixed price for software failure, there is still a positive correlation between the cost of the failure detected in software and the phase of the development life cycle (SDLC). The public data provided by the IBM estimates the cost of the errors is positively associated to the product development stage. Meaning the closer your software to the release phase, the more you pay for identification and fixing defects.

The glitches found during the requirement and design phases of software development are cost-effective. They require less of human and technical resources than the bugs detected during the deployment and maintenance phases. This is the reason why it is a good idea to start a project together with quality assurance. So far, catching bugs in the earliest development stages is an effective way to speed up the product release.

Quality Expenses

The contemporary IT market follows user demand for convenience. Smooth functioning, slide performance, intuitive interface are aspects demonstrating client-focus. Therefore, we are confident that software quality assurance goes beyond debugging and supports brand reputation. This is the reason why our team has always been an advocate of the effective QA strategy. One of your tasks is to make sure the software quality is supported and goes in line with the budget.

Considering how to align your team workload with the overall product development strategy, you may want to plan the expenses on quality assurance. The more you know about the cost of the company related to software quality, the more chances you have to release successfully. For convenience, we will classify the expenses into four categories:

  • Bug-prevention costs: the charges to find the software defects at the early stages.
  • Software detecting costs: the fees for testing and bug detection.
  • The costs for internal software failure: price for the errors found before time-to-market. External software failure: the cost of errors detected after the release (might be reported by the users).

Software Testing Can Save Your Software Quality and Reduce the Cost

Quality Assurance Price Data*

(*The market research conducted here is based upon leading salary-evaluation resources like Glassdoor and Payscale (2019). The index is an approximate estimation of the salary a QA engineer might expect in different countries. Always take into account their experience, skills, project complexity, and try to monitor the market to have the most relevant data).

Bug prevention is cheaper, yet the cost of software testing services varies by a range of factors. The following charts exemplify the way average salary rates of a QA engineer change as per geographical area, experience, company level. And, what is more important, the data might help you compare the approximate costs on an in-house team and QA outsourcing services.

In-house QA engineer salary in Western Europe
The United Kingdom is one among the leading tech hubs in this area. For sure, the costs vary across the location and the company the UK software tester works for. The national salary rate based on the experience length for a QA specialist in London is presented below.

Data based on Payscale stats, 2019

With the help of updated data in January 2019, Glassdoor counted the median salary of a QA specialist in Amazon, which is $55,059. In general, the sum varies from $44,683 to $62,632 that is quite different from the average national index in the UK. That means a company name, project complexity, and costs might also have a significant impact on the QA engineer career path.

The capital of Germany is a local major tech spot, and the salaries of QA specialists look this way.

Although Berlin is the center of IT power in Germany, the stats demonstrate a bit different salary range on the market. Hamburg offers €37-60,000 for 1-4-years experienced specialist, while QA pros in Frankfurt get €35-58,000.
Data based on Payscale stats, 2019

Since the Netherlands offers a competitive tax climate, tech-savvy and English-speaking workforce, most of the key IT companies have established a robust tech infrastructure. The Global Information Technology Report ranked the Netherlands as the 4th top country for technology readiness. The following data is relevant for a QA engineer offering the services in Rotterdam.


Data based on Payscale stats, 2019

QA engineer salary in the United States
The USA remains a global IT power concentration hub, thus the most expensive and the most uncertain when it comes to job payment in the industry. The situation, in this case, reflects the British market: Apple or Amazon QA engineer would make nearly $100k/year (per Glassdoor data), which is far above the national rates. But the average index looks a bit different. That is why we compare different data from the tech hot-spots New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to give you an idea of the ways payment index changes with the location.


Data based on Payscale stats, 2019

Tester Salaries in Israel
At only 20,770 square kilometers, Israel is an embodiment of its high technology industry. It is the third high-tech hub worldwide, while the report of Expert Market ranks Tel Aviv fifth among 10 global tech hubs. Below is the average payment rate for a QA expert in Tel Aviv.


Data based on Payscale stats, 2019

Costs for Testing Outsource

QA outsourcing might be an alternative for the sprint-based or Waterfall projects (long & short-term), where quality assurance is a part of development. Unlike the in-house QA team, the costs for remote QA experts are rated per hours spent for testing. The price merely depends on the cooperation model you choose: either time & material or full-time. You`ll find the difference, and some other useful insights in our ultimate guide to software testing outsource.

QA Madness team conducted the approximate price* analysis on the software QA outsourcing market based on the data QA vendors provided at Clutch.co.

The first part of the graph below demonstrates the correlation between the average fee/hour and the geographical area QA vendors represent. As the data demonstrates, Eastern Europe is the location bay for the majority of middle-price QA service providers. The highest rates naturally belong to the U.S. and British companies. Quite significant presence of the American vendors charging the lowest price ($25/h) might be explained by the presence of companies with the official seat in the United States. The team of QA engineers might be located in a different geographical area though.

The second chart just exemplifies the expenses for the testing services among the QA providers. Although the data covers both annual and hourly price, it is better to monitor the market. The numbers will be changing along with tech industrial growth. You may compare the numbers provided with the round salaries of in-house QA engineers and calculate the approximate difference.

The third graph demonstrates the number of rated (those without rating were not included in the data) QA providers registered on Clutch. The companies are classified by the price range they request for QA services.

(*Note that the price depends on the cooperation model, proficiency level of a QA specialist, project length and complexity. Always clarify the costs with the QA provider you prefer).

Final Word

Hot tech market and the demand for convenience leave no choice but to deliver high-standard software. To abandon a low-performing, glitchy product is not a privilege anymore, the choice remains wide. This is the reason why we are sure the software quality back-up is integral to stay competitive. We hope the information given guides you to the right decision 🙂

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