Where to look for professional resources in quality assurance and control?
March 4, 2009 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Looking for professional resources in quality assurance and control.

I've gotten into a career in quality assurance and control pretty much by chance. I'm thinking about the intentional pursuit of professional development in this field. The contributions of anyone who has education and/or work experience in the field (or works closely with QA/QC professionals) would be appreciated.

1. How portable is QA/QC experience? My thinking about this was encouraged by a conversation with someone in a very different industry than mine (he is in project management for engineers, I'm in calibration and testing for scientific instrumentation) and I was surprised by his opinion that I could have reasonable access to jobs in his industry. Is this opinion valid? Is there a lot of crossover of QA/QC professionals between quite disparate industries?

2. One of the reasons I'm wondering about portability is that I'm pondering the value of pursuing education with a more generalist perspective. Any thoughts about the value and validity of education - degrees certainly, but anything accelerated and self-study and test-based would be particularly suited to my situation. I'm wondering though whether the sorts of professional certificates I'm seeing based on passing tests that cost a few hundred dollars are really worth much in the real world. Any thoughts about selecting particular programs, certificates, providers would be great. Also, under the aim high category, any recognized institutions/programs that are sort of "gold standards" for the field? Finally, any input on the relative value of specific quality management systems, e.g. Six Sigma.

3. Professional societies or similar resources. My education is in chemistry and as far as professional societies went, basically the American Chemical Society was THE generalist professional society in the field. Is there a similar society in QA/QC? I found the American Society for Quality, are there others I should be looking at? Other resources (periodicals, secret handshakes) that enjoy a sterling reputation?

4. Finally, any good books in the field, particularly that treat the kind of general philosophy of quality management or that address general technical subjects with broad applicability (e.g. statistical tools). Big bonus points if they contain a certain amount of humor and/or style. I find the topics are pretty interesting when you dig into them but my God, the literature of the field is dry.
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