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I have noticed certain overlap between digital signal processing and quality assurance for jobs that require expertise in evaluating the quality of the transmitted signals on telecommunication systems like VoIP or IPTV. I have two examples:

For me, however, electronics engineer or quality assurance engineer are not terms that describe enough someone who is able to understand ITU-T standards (MOS, PSQM, PEVG, PESQ, POLQA, MUSHRA), quality of experience (QoE), network terminology (packet loss, bit rate, throughput, transmission delay, availability, jitter), DSP techniques (frequency analysis, FIR/IIR, sampling and quantization), and software programming.

Is there another name for this position? Is there a career path defined for someone who aims to work in this industry? Is this job profile something required nowadays by other companies?

PS: I wonder also if an expert like this can also participate in the creation of new algorithms and the evaluation of the quality of the architecture of DSP systems, as described here: https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1275520

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  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure how much would this question be benefited from "objective" answers and if there are any. My opinion is that if the person is to participate in the creation of something "new", then they are joining some form of "R&D" department and that is how it should be advertised. Also, it looks like you are looking for a multidisciplinary person but the position probably has a "primary skill" (something they are likely to be doing 70% of the time) and secondaries which they would have to be the sort of person that picks up on their own. (Also, try to look for a person, not a label). $\endgroup$ – A_A Oct 4 '18 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ You are right, this is an open question, and yes, I see two primary roles here: one about measuring the quality of audio and video, using ITU-T and SSIM algorithms, and the other about improving these indexes using DSP and psychoacoustic knowlegde. While the first could exist in any organization providing multimedia content, the second is reserved to academic groups, such as VQEP, or R&D departments on industry leaders. $\endgroup$ – JFonseca Oct 5 '18 at 13:54
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In my experience in the defense industry, the quality assurance engineers are mostly just “box checkers” that have limited understanding of how all of the individual facets of the algorithms and systems work. We have design engineers, integration engineers, and then the QA engineers. I have never seen an integration engineer or QA engineer get involved in any sort of design; the skill sets for each position are very, very different. It’s one thing to know what something is, but it’s something else entirely to be able to use it in a creative way to solve a problem.

Again, this is just my experience in the defense industry within the US. Other countries and industries may be a bit different though!

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  • $\begingroup$ Design quality engineer sounds like a very exciting position. According to this Wikipedia article, it requires to adapt complex scientific and mathematical techniques and create prototypes. I have seen two positions with this name, one in Roche and the other in Protingent. Though ITU-T is not mentioned and post-doctoral studies are not needed. $\endgroup$ – JFonseca Sep 23 '18 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ I think you may have misunderstood, “design quality engineer” is not a thing in my industry. You are either a design engineer or a quality engineer, not both. Those job postings are interesting; to me it’s just a regular quality engineer position, and they put “design” in front to make it more attractive for people to apply to $\endgroup$ – matthewjpollard Sep 24 '18 at 10:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for sharing insights from your area @matthewjpollard. I will take that in mind the next time I see a mixed role. $\endgroup$ – JFonseca Oct 5 '18 at 15:39
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My office is also struggling with this problem.

We concluded that three skill sets required: signal processing, human centered computing (HCC), and computer science (CS). The algorithm development needs programming skills that are typically beyond the skill set of an electrical engineer who specializes in signal processing, so the job applicant deserves a head's up. Also, HCC is a relatively new field, so each college uses a different name and provides a different mix of classwork. See https://www.pannam.com/blog/top-human-centered-design-and-engineering-degrees/

At best, job applicants are likely to have two of the three skills and will need on-the-job training for the missing skill. Thee compromises are a engineering college CS degree with a minor or emphasis in HCC, an HCC degree that emphasizes computer programming, and an EE signal processing degree with a minor in computer programming.

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By all comments, and personal investigation, my understanding is that there is no such thing as a QoE engineer. From one side we have a quality assurance engineer role with technical expertise in real-time audio/video evaluation and computer networking (black box knowledge); and on the other side, we have the R&D and design engineers, with knowledge in the mentioned topics, and also signal processing, algorithm design, and human auditory-visual perception (including HCC).

If you belong to the second role then you either work for the academy, a standardization group (e.g. ITU-T), the government or an industry leader in multimedia equipment (e.g. Dolby). If you work in the first role then you come from a company that provides custom development services in projects that require a minimum level of certification.

There are some exceptions to the rule, like researchers leaving the academy to become entrepreneurs: https://www.ssimwave.com.

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