What is a Test Analyst?
A Test Analyst is the person responsible for testing computer hardware or software before it is packaged and sold on the open market. It is a position that requires a keen attention to detail, as Test Analysts are the last line of quality control. If a mistake gets through the Test Analyst and makes its way into the final product, an entire product launch can turn into a disaster.
The role of Test Analyst is an entry-level position in the IT industry. Candidates typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Information Technology as a whole is a rapidly growing industry, so it is safe to say that demand for Test Analysts will rise in the coming years.
Test Analyst Duties and Responsibilities
Participate in the Development Process
Analyze Application Requirements and Design Documents
Develop Comprehensive Testing Structures
Develop Test Plans
Execute Tests and Analyze / Document Results
Test Analyst Skills
Test Analysts are not as one-dimensional as one would think. It is a profession that requires much more than computer skills. Test Analysts have to be big-picture thinkers, yet they also must have an above average attention to detail. Identifying the source of a bug can be as small as a single error in one line of code. They have to have to be able to see the big picture of a project in order to develop tests that can find these small errors. In addition to their technical skills, Test Analysts must have certain soft skills to excel at their job. The following sections are a collection of skills we found to be most prominent in our analysis of Test Analyst job descriptions.
Core skills The following skills are the ones listed as required by most employers.
- Attention to detail
- Ability to see the big picture
- Planning and organizational skills
- Proficiency in document and report writing
- Ability to work in a team
- Awareness of Software Development Life Cycle
- Logical and critical thinking skills
- Proficiency with Agile Development software
Advanced Skills Once you have the core skills down, you can focus on the following advanced skills that were listed as preferred by several employers
- Deep knowledge of software development
- Project management skills
- Coding experience
Tools of the Trade Test Analysts may spend most of their time at a computer, but they still have tools required to do their job. These tools are
- Program testing software, such as Hewlett Packard LoadRunner
- Web application development software, such as Apache Struts or Apache Tomcat
- Development environment software, such as Adobe ActionScript
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Test Analyst Salary
Test Analyst Resources
Do you want to continue exploring the career path of Test Analyst? If so, use our resource list below to get started.
On the WebSoftwareQATest.com
This site was founded in 1996 by Rick Hower. While the site still looks like it is stuck in the 90’s, the information is current. It is a great general resource for aspiring Test Analysts.ThoughtWorks.com
ThoughtWorks is a general tech publication that covers macro and micro trends in the tech industry. Part of this work includes covering the latest testing trends, which is relevant to Test Analysts.
Industry GroupsAssociation for Software Testing
This is a global organization of Test Analysts with monthly newsletters, classes and seminars for members.American Society for Quality
Formerly the American Society for Quality Control, this is a general organization for the entire spectrum of Quality Assurance professionals. There are tens of thousands of Test Analysts among their 100,000 person membership.
BooksPerfect Software and Other Illusions About Testing
Written by Gerald M. Weinberg, this book examines critical conundrums regarding software testing. It is an excellent read for those looking to explore the big challenges that Test Analysts face daily.Critical Testing Processes
Written by Rex Black, this book covers 12 testing processes that every Test Analyst should master.