Software Test Engineers in Silicon Valley (San francisco Bay Area) mostly test software products, hardware, websites and mobile apps since it is the hub for the most tech companies. These positions range from Manual or Blackbox Test Engineers, Android, iOS or Mobile Test Engineers and increase in complexity or work into grey box testing, whitebox testing (going into code) and also Test Automation Engineers who build test automation frameworks to increase automation in testing.
Many companies in Silicon Valley hire a minimum number of test engineers as full-time employees and for the rest they hire temps or contractors as they don't consider these positions as permanent or strategic. They hire them through IT staffing companies instead so they get lower rates and can ramp up and down quickly. On the positive side, there are always companies that need test engineers, so these jobs are easy to find. Pay rates range from $15/hr for entry level test engineers and can go up to $75/hr for expert level test automation engineers with certain domain experience.
So how do you get an entry into the top tech companies as a test engineer? Start by networking with recruiters at the top staffing agencies for Test Engineer Roles in Silicon Valley who can place you as a contractor at the top companies.
TekSystems - Teksystems is a national IT staffing agency and embedded in many of the top companies. They provide test engineers to top companies like Apple, Cisco, Netflix, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Yahoo, etc.
eTouch - Formed in 1998 and focusing only in the bay area, eTouch has become one of the most successful IT staffing companies with marquee clients such as Google for whom they are the largest provider of temp contractors for technical positions. Other clients include NASA, Adobe, eBay, Yahoo, Genentech, Cisco
Insight Global - A national staffing agency focusing on IT, Insight Global has high tech clients like Stanford, UCSF, Cisco, Chevron, Genentech, JP Morgan
Volt - Volt which also goes by the name of Experis for IT positions has clients including Apple, Intel, Siemens, Fitbit
For the even larger list of the best of staffing agencies in Silicon Valley