If the developer is the fixer, the quality analyst is the finder. The ability to find and communicate errors in an application is a crucial role in software development.
The quality analyst (QA) seeks out not just application problems but also faults with a process that may have led to those problems. The QA also works with a development team to address those issues, ensuring a program is debugged prior to its launch.
Some quality analysts work directly with the software being tested, rooting out bugs and determining why they’re happening and how to fix them. Other quality analysts don’t work on the software itself but rather create programs designed to perform tests on the software. In both scenarios, the quality analyst uses data to compile problem and solution reports that can be communicated to the development team.
As application development hiring grows, so does the need for experienced quality analysts. With software developers in high demand, there's a need for QA resources to ensure the quality of the software that's going into production.
In the United States, the salary midpoint for a starting quality analyst is expected to be $73,000.
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Quality analyst job description
While day-to-day tasks of quality analysts vary based on individual business needs, the essential skills and background include:
- Excellent problem-solving skills and keen attention to detail
- Outstanding written and oral communication abilities
- A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline, teamed with several years of experience in quality-analysis environment
Quality analysts are expected to:
- Develop and execute software test plans
- Identify and facilitate issue resolution with functional and technical groups
- Manage software beta test programs
- Document and communicate test results
More than testing
Software testing is the technical foundation for a QA, but the position goes beyond hard skills. The key non-technical skills for quality analysts that win jobs and demand higher salaries are strong communication skills both inside and outside the organization, collaboration skills to work well in a team environment and strong problem-solving skills.
While the work of a software quality analyst varies from company to company, most work with a development team consisting of one or more software developers, web developers or mobile app developers, and are directed by an IT manager.
This post has been updated to reflect more current information.