How To Become a QA Analyst

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 26, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated February 26, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

QA analysts, in a broad sense, test products across industries to ensure a brand's quality standards are met and regulatory compliance standards are upheld. However, in a modern world, QA analysts typically work in a high-demand, technology-driven role testing software that meets individual and enterprise needs for all industries. For people looking to start a job in a growing technical field, becoming a QA analyst may be a good fit. In this article, we discuss what a QA analyst does, their work environment, what salary to expect, skills required and how to become one.

What does a QA analyst do?

The main focus of a QA analyst is testing, troubleshooting and problem-solving. QA analysts are specialized in the software development lifecycle phase of testing. QA analysts perform duties like:

  • Testing applications and software

  • Documenting findings

  • Communicating issues

  • Troubleshooting

  • Correcting software errors

Because QA analysts handle the vital task of testing, they are an invaluable part of any software development team. In a largely digital business climate, QA analysts can work in any industry testing the software that powers production in manufacturing. They may also work on the internal user-portal for a large company, or the mobile banking application of a bank or credit union.

QA analysts are the first line of testing against any software problems that could impact the success of a software launch. They are expected to be knowledgeable in coding of various programming languages. They also must have experience with the various principles of software testing that come along with different approaches like Agile, Lean or DevOps.

Related: Guide To Quality Assurance

Work environment of a QA analyst

Quality assurance analysts are software developers who specialize in testing. For this reason, they often work in a private office or government agency, but can also work in manufacturing facilities or other places where it's important to ensure the quality of a product. Quality assurance analysts use tools and resources to complete the testing phase to ensure the software products are produced without bugs and other detectable software issues.

QA analysts document their findings using tools of the trade, like a computing device or notepad. They ensure software functions to specifications. This is a role that often requires a lot of sitting in one place for long periods of time, and usually takes place during normal business hours. However, a QA analyst could respond to emergency situations, like performing testing after a cyber attack, which would provide more fluidity in their work environment.

Average salary of a QA analyst

The average salary for a QA analyst ranges from $42,266 to $58,573 per year. QA analysts might receive an additional cash bonus of about $2,000 annually.

Skills required for a QA analyst

QA analysts are professionals who use hard skills like algorithms and math, and soft skills like critical thinking and problem-solving every day. The following skills will get you far in the field of quality assurance:

  • Analysis

  • Problem-solving

  • Critical thinking

  • SQL

  • Software development

  • Java

  • Testing

  • Python

  • Project management methods

  • Mathematics

  • Physics

How to become a QA analyst

Follow these steps to become a QA analyst:

  1. Find a computer science program.

  2. Complete your education.

  3. Gain experience.

  4. Look into QA software testing certification.

1. Find a computer science program

Whether you are just getting out of high school or approaching secondary education as an adult making a career change, you need to select the right computer science program to get a job as a QA analyst. In most cases, this means seeking an education that culminates in a bachelor's of science degree in computer science. To select the best program for you, think about where you want to attend school and the existing resources you have, as well as whether or not you qualify for financial aid.

2. Complete your education

To complete your education in computer science, you will need to excel in several courses including:

  • Statistics and math

  • Programming languages

  • Operating system software

  • Fundamentals of network technology

  • Logical design principles

  • Information management

  • Files and databases

  • Physics

  • Data management

  • Computer science theory

  • Architecture

Mathematics courses like statistics, calculus and algorithms might be a part of the core curriculum for a computer science degree, as well as general science and physics requirements. Computer science programs may encourage you or require you to take an internship to learn more about the wide range of jobs you can accomplish with the degree, including QA testing.

3. Gain experience

An internship could be a great way to gain experience before you officially enter the field. To find a QA analyst internship, work with your advisor or your college campus advisory offices to see what businesses the campus might have a partnership with. You can also reach out to professional organizations and see if they know of any opportunities for you to intern in the field of quality assurance.

Once you complete a degree in computer science, you can start gaining experience in the field. Apply for QA jobs using online resources like Indeed, or by looking at job boards for industries and professional organizations that you are interested in. Make sure your resume includes all of your most recent education and experience, and carefully read any application instructions to be a competitive candidate.

Related: Quality Assurance Engineer Resume Samples

4. Look into QA software testing certification

If you decide to specialize in QA testing, you may want to pursue certification as a way to increase your knowledge and likelihood of getting a job. There are several different certifications you can pursue software testing and software design. Use the requirements of the jobs or industries in your area as your guide when deciding which certification to pursue.

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