Quality control inspector
David Taylor is a product evaluation specialist at a highsteet store. His job is to assess the merits of the latest computers before they go on sale – sometimes before they are even made.
Can you give a brief description of your work?
I evaluate computer products before they go on sale. This is to spot potential problems that can cause customers to request support, and to ensure the products work as specified. Once the product is on sale I provide support to our technical call centre.
What does your job involve?
I liaise directly with manufacturers to provide solutions to problems. I travel to manufacturers to inspect the factories used to build the PCs and then I evaluate them before they go on sale.
Do you have a typical day?
Once a PC is planned by our buying department, it is built by one of our manufacturers. I either have the system sent to my office in Nottingham or, if there is limited time, travel to where the unit is being built so I can evaluate it. I recommend a list of changes, these are put in place and I recheck the PC.
What equipment do you use if any?
I use the PC I'm testing and the peripherals I have to plug into it, such as web cams, speakers and portable hard drives. I also use Microsoft Outlook to manage my calendar, tasks and email, and I use Microsoft Access to log all evaluations and keep track of their status.
What was your route into your quality control inspector job?
I started working here in the technical call centre, supporting customers who had purchased computers and accessories. Then I was offered work with the training department. This gave me a broader view of the company and helped me to gain my current position.
Why did you choose this type of work?
I have always been interested in computers and technology. Once I was involved with support work, I took an interest in how the PCs were made and what goes on behind the scenes before the units go on sale.
What training have you received?
When I joined the company I was given a two week induction. In my current role, my training is basically keeping up with current products and technology. What hours do you work?
My hours are officially 9.00am till 5.30pm Monday to Friday, although this is quite often extended!
What do you like best about your job?
The job is never dull and I get to see the latest technology before it's available in the shops. I also like the opportunity I have to develop future products.
Are they any disadvantages to your job?
The position can be very stressful and there is a lot of pressure. The hours can often be long during busy periods.
What are the skills and qualities needed?
An interest in technology and the ability to pay attention to detail is very important. Also, managing your workload and following projects through to completion.
What are your long-term career goals?
I want to continue learning and stay within the computer industry. My goal is to make the PCs I evaluate the best they can possibly be.
Mark's route to his career as a quality control inspector
- A levels.
Mark's quality control tips
- Read as many computer magazines as you can and/or technology sites on the internet.
- With all the products you see and buy – pay attention to the box, the labels and contents.
- You can bring this knowledge to PC building and developing.
- A career in computing is demanding and hard work, but worth it in the end.
Quality control inspector jobs
Salary of a quality control inspector
- Starting salaries are likely to be between £18,000 and £25,000 and can rise to £30,000 with experience.
- Senior product specialists can earn around £40,000.
HOw to become a quality control inspector
- IT specialists have a wide range of career opportunities in different areas of the industry. They could work for computer manufacturers and retailers, software houses (including multinational companies), IT and management consultancies.
- Most products specialists have a degree, HND or HNC in an IT-related subject such as computer science, software developing, electronics, maths or engineering. However, employers do take on and train graduates with degrees in non-related subjects as long as they have knowledge of, and interests in, IT.
- It is possible to go into an IT career – although not product development – straight from school with good GCSEs/S grades in English, maths, IT or science and Apprenticeships may be available.
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