Career Description for Software Quality Assurance Analysts
In the technology industry, it's important to ensure that the software created by programmers and developers functions in the intended manner, and software quality assurance analysts, often shortened to QA analysts, perform this crucial role. They attempt to use the new software in order to identify bugs and errors in functioning as well as evaluate the overall user experience. The information gathered by QA analysts is recorded with explicit instructions on how to recreate these issues, which assists the programmers in locating the problematic code and fixing it. Developers may also review notes on the user experience and develop revisions and improvements that make the software simpler and easier to use. Software may go through many rounds of testing, so there is a constant flow of feedback, revisions, and testing going on.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree, computer science or a related field preferred|
|Training||On-the-job training, specialized software training|
|Certifications||CTFL, CSTE, or CSTP|
|Job Skills||Problem solving abilities, deductive reasoning skills, critical thinking, and communication skills|
|Median Salary (2019)*||$111,620 (software developers and QA testers)|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)*||21% (all software developers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
To begin a career as a software QA analyst, it is typically necessary to hold a bachelor's degree, and employers may have a strong preference for degrees in computer science, information science, or similar fields. In some cases, associate's degrees may be acceptable, but these positions are far less common. A software QA analyst needs a solid understanding of mathematics, programming, and software design. There are often particular programming languages which businesses may request in job listings as well, so knowledge of several common programming languages could be quite beneficial. It's also common to see requirements for at least 2-3 years of experience in the area.
Individual employers may have their own internal training procedures to help acclimate new hires to dealing with the specific software which they utilize. Exactly what kind of training you may need to undergo will be highly personalized. This could be related to your career goals and the needs of your employers.
Certification also plays a role in success within this career field, as it is one of the best ways to prove proficiency with particular skills and languages. Many vendors offer certification with particular pieces of software or programming languages, which are usually taken as brief classes outside the context of a degree program. There are also certifications available to affirm competency within the field of QA in particular. Three of the most valuable certifications at the entry level include:
- Certified Tester, Foundation Level (CTFL), obtained from the American Software Testing Qualifications Board, or ASTQB, a non-profit certifying agency,
- Certified Software Tester (CSTE), obtained from Software Certifications, a for-profit company.
- Certified Software Test Professional (CSTP), obtained from the International Institute for Software Testing, also a for-profit company.
QA analysts need excellent skills in problem solving, reasoning, and critical thinking, as well as good communication skills to relay what they have found. Since their key responsibility is to identify problems in the software, the ability to identify potential problems and track them back to their source is central to the career. QA analysts should also be highly familiar with computers and how to use them, so as to be able to differentiate problems that arise from the software from those that might have other sources.
Career Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for all software developers and quality assurance analysts was $111,620 as of 2019. The growth in employment over the ten year period from 2018 to 2028 for all software developers is predicted to be 21%. This is much faster than the national average.
If software quality assurance analyst sounds like an appealing career, but isn't quite perfect, it may be a good idea to check out some of these related careers, listed below.